Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dear Editor,

After every SC hearing , if there is one person everybody wants 

to congratulate, it is the Editor of PC for his innovative and 

imaginative coverage of the court room happenings. The 

methodology of coverage shows marked improvement from 

time to time, and there is evidence all over to proclaim that he 

has put his heart and soul in the task. May God be with him in 

his future endeavours to make the PC an inseparable part of 

each and every pensioners daily life!

The SC Order, according to me, has not thrown up any big surprises.  It was very much on the expected lines. The judge has ,in his Order , included all those points  we have been discussing threadbare  in the columns of PC. Before touching upon the way the long-winding Order was wrapped up by Honble.Justice Misra, let us have a peep into some of the vital issues brought out in the said Order. The passage leading up to the SC also was not  abnormal. The jurisdiction of the SC,inter- alia includes adjudication on substantial question of  law on appeal. LIC was also within their rights to have taken the case to SC, since they felt strongly that both the Single Bench and the Division  Bench, Jaipur gave the ruling which was totally ineffective in law.

THE BOARD RESOLUTION:    “As the entire case hinges on the resolution, it is extracted below..” says the SC Order. Honble.Justice Bhandari  puts it “ ...if the resolution dt.24-11-2001 is implemented, then, the grievance of petitioners can come to an end....”   Justice Dipak Misra opines  that the Chairman has no powers to implement the Board Resolution and his powers are limited to implementation of the rule framed, after approval of the Board Resolution by the Government.  Right from inception, many of us have been arguing that we are on a sticky wicket by relying too much on the Board Resolution. The SC Order further asserts “On scanning of anatomy of Rule 55 of the 1995 Rules , we are absolutely clear that it does not confer power on the  Chairman of the Corporation to issue instructions which can travel beyond the rules” (page 17)

DEARNESS RELIEF: “Appendix IV of 1995 Rules is the principal plinth of quarrel” (Page 2)  “Due to different rates of DR to different groups of pensions, the real value of  pension which is eroded over a period of time is not being protected , besides causing administrative inconvenience.It has thus become necessary to rationalise the Dearness Relief structure ...” (pages 11 and 12)  Mr.Gupta argues” that there are certain employees who have retired after the cut-off date stipulated in para 3A of the Appendix, but they are not given the requisite Dearness Relief based on subsequent pay revisions...” (page20)  Again  “...employees who have retired after the said ,1-8-1997 but are not extended the benefit of dearness relief despite subsequent pay revisions..  (Page23)” LICs counsel replies, “they have deposited the  amount as per para 3A of the Appendix but not given the  benefit of PAY REVISIONS..” (page24). I devoted three Posts to PC to drive home the point to Mr. Mahadevan, that while in his calculations he has factored in the revisions subsequent to 1997 ,  LIC has not and that LIC is going to stick to this gun any day. I quoted all this from the Order just to draw the attention of our readers to the fact, that  the arguments were all about  the disparity in DR and no signs anywhere to show that the subject of UPGRADATION was ever  brought into focus. One gets the feeling that the arguments were confined to only one of the two writs!!


The Order thunders, “...on a perusal of section 48,  it is clear as crystal that conferment of benefit, either pension or anything ancillary thereto has to be conferred by the rules and the rules as prescribed  under section 48...” (page18) Here, I would like to draw the attention of the readers as to the remarks made by Justice Misra in one of the previous hearings. He said ”...if the Resolution was not statutory and if it required  Govt. approval to become effective, that is how it is...” Justice Misra adds,”...It is well settled in law that he who assails the constitutional validity of a statutory provision or a rule, has to  specially assert the grounds of such challenge. THE PLEADINGS ARE NOT ADEQUATE...” (page 25). This forms the core of the judgment. The single Bench,Jaipur, the Division Bench,Jaipur both didn’t address this substantive point of law (section 21 included) and in as much as all the other HCs relied on the Jaipur HC SB decision, the Judge had set aside their decisions too.


In fact, but for Mr. Sridharan’s counsel  Mr.Panchu  the above provision in the constitution might not have come to light during the discussions. No doubt, Shri.Gupta seems to have joined issue  with him later  on. Points such as blatant discrimination, inequity and pathetic conditions of the pensioners as a result of the injustice perpetrated by LIC, which are  the real issues , have taken a back seat.


The Honble Judge has exonerated himself on the plea “ However,we may clarify that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case, except that the resolution could not become operative unless it was conferred the status of of a RULE as provided under section 48 of the Act..” (page 23) It is but natural for us to think why a Supreme Court  Judge who knew the inside out of our case, winced from taking a final call on the issue.. To my mind, the following might have weighed with the Judge.!) Perhaps he did’nt want to emphasise  the invincibility of Sec 48 and rule that we have no case 2) As a Supreme Court Judge, he was burdened with  huge number of cases,  and, therefore, he thought it fit to transfer the responsibility of having a re-look at both the issues  to Delhi High Court.  It is learnt that constitution of a 5 member judge Bench is a rare happening these days and  two judge benches are examining cases pertaining to constitutional matters. All this due to paucity of sufficient number of judges in the Supreme Court.

In my next Post  “ THE WINNING CAPTAIN AND THE WAY FORWARD’'” I shall be coming out with certain hard facts relating to our case and the role played by our three leaders. In the meantime, let us accept the present and keep alive our hopes of a possible  victory in the end.

With Greetings,