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Saturday, April 09, 2016

AS RAMANATHAN



After a careful reading of the Judgement of the SC in our pension case, I feel the Hon. Judges have perhaps missed certain important points in the Judgement of the SB and DB of the Jaipur High Court, that persuaded them to the conclusions they have arrived. Our learned counsels also seems to have failed to point out the apparent errors. 

I am referring to the point made out by the Hon.SC Bench that the SB has taken its decision on the basis of the LIC Board Resolution but actually the learned Justice Bhandhari has examined in detail the Nakaras Case and pointed that the grouping of the pensioners is discrimination as per the decision in the Nakaras case. Of course there was reference to Sec.21 of the LIC Act, which in my humble view, was irrelevant to our case. If at all there is any relevance, it was only Sec.48 and Sec.23, nothing more. 

Similarly Appendix IV of the Pension Rules dealing with various rates of DR is not important to consider the crux of the issue, although it may have relevance after deciding the crux of our contention. That crux of the matter is only grouping of the pensioners on the basis of their date of retirement. If that is illegal, being discriminatory and violating Art.14 of the Constitution, as held in Nakaras Case, in our case also the grouping of the pensioners as those retired on or after 1-8-1997 and earlier to that date, is also illegal on the same analogy. 

It is an established legal principle viz. “quando aliquid prohibetur, prohibetur et omne per quod devenitur”, meaning what cannot be done directly, is not permissible to be done obliquely and what is prohibited by law to be done, cannot be legally effected by an indirect and circuitous contrivance. That is to say, that an Authority cannot be permitted to evade a law by shift or contrivance. Of course Sr. Counsel Krishnan Panchu, as briefed by Shri G.N.Sridharan, has briefly referred to the Bench, the constitutional violation which only has prompted the Bench to refer the case to the Delhi HC, giving us the final chance to put forth our case correctly and to get appropriate relief but at the cost of some more time and expenses. I once again reiterate, we have a strong case to argue.

On the relevance of Sec.48, I have been repeatedly writing after a very detailed examination of the points quoting very many decisions, including the points on which the Nakaras case was decided, to show when there is a violation of the Constitution, no law enacted by Parliament will hold water not to speak of a rule made under subordinate Legislation like under Sec.48. This point, I have been speaking in Retired LIC Class I Officers meetings since 2010 and many write ups to our case Managers. Of course I could not make my arguments public and expected they will be used to brief our counsels. To our luck, we are getting another chance to put forth the arguments, which only is going to give us victory. I could not understand how Rule 55 of the Pension Rules can be pulled out in isolation to support our contention that Chairman can act for implementation of the rules. Under the doctrine of ‘Election’, you cannot own in isolation that rule alone that favours you and discard that is against you. Suffice to say, that we have a temporary setback but we have every chance to succeed ultimately.

LET ME CONCLUDE BY APPEALING TO ALL THE CASE MANAGERS TO PUT THEIR SHOULDERS AND FIGHT UNITEDLY FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE RETIRED IN THE LIC. PLEASE JOIN TOGETHER IMMEDIATELY AND HAVE A COMMON APPROACH. MY SUGGESTION IS THAT SEC.48 NEEDS TO BE REMOVED FROM THE LIC ACT FOR THE BENEFIT OF NOT ONLY THE RETIRED BUT ALSO THE SERVING EMPLOYEES BECAUSE IT IS OBNOXIOUS AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND WE HAVE NO CHOICE THAN TO HOLD THE BULL BY ITS HORNS.

A.S.RAMANATHAN