Sunday, April 17, 2016
In any battle, there should be a winner. In our battle, which by now is nearing almost two decades, the winner is the Judiciary. The SC having set aside all the decisions from the three H.Cs, none of our three captains can take any credit for what the SC had doled out. In the SC Order, the two judge Bench had included all the points we have been vociferously discussing all these years, but eventually, had their way of finding a solution, totally unpalatable to us. That is why, I adjudge them as the real winners.
How about increasing the percentage of DR arrears from 20 to 40? I remember, Mr. G.N. Sridharan repeatedly mentioning that he pitched for the DR issue as he knew pretty well that LIC had no difficulty conceding this demand and the Finance Dept. also was favourably inclined. Later on, the issue took a different dimension on account of Mr. Asthana filing a writ in the Jaipur H.C. Our members might not have forgotten what the Dy.Secretary told our members when they met him to discuss both the issues. He told them point blank that while DR faces no problem, up–gradation cannot be considered as it will result in extending the same benefit to the Bank employees, primarily, and others, who are similarly placed. Having placed his bet on a horse, fully knowing it is a winning one, Mr. Sridharan also may not be able to take full credit for the part–victory on DR. However, his practical wisdom in stubbornly steering clear off the up-gradation issue, despite pressures from various quarters, has to be lauded.
Mr. Asthana, undoubtedly the hero of three favourable Jaipur H.C decisions, appeared to be a shadow of his past, when he came to the SC. However, in the hearing which took place on 31-03-2016, Mr. Nidhesh Gupta, his counsel did put up an impressive show. He along with Mr. Panchu were responsible for the Judges giving us a fresh lease of life , when the cases got remanded to the Delhi High Court. Craving for recognition or one-upmanship should not go to the extent of spreading misinformation like what their Vice-President did before the SC Order was up-loaded. According to him, all the pensioners will be soon laughing their way to the Bank with 40% arrears of up-gradation, reckoned till 2012 revision.
Mr. Murthy, being only an intervener applicant hasn't got much of a role. Yet, they frittered away a few good opportunities presented before them by getting entangled in the arithmetical accuracy of 20% DR arrears, which ultimately didn't see light of the day. However, his passion and sincerity to do something for the pensioners is unquestionable.
May be the readers are wondering why this post-mortem. In Kerala, there is a saying “why examine the horoscope of a dead child? Very true, but as someone had pointed out, that our writs are still alive and it is the same three sets of people who should be filing the writs afresh in the Delhi H.C, with or without amendments. The Pensioners ought to know at least now, which of them can really deliver the goods for us. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, they say.
I gave a brief description of our three leaders so that the pensioners get a taste of their strengths and weaknesses. The time has come for them to transform themselves completely, by removing the cobwebs in their minds and forge an united front. In the words of Justice Misra, the reason for transferring all the cases to Delhi High Court was “...as it is desirable a singular judgment is passed so that the validity of the same can be adjudged”. If this has to be a reality, can the three of them continue conducting themselves the way they were doing till now, flinging accusations at each other in gay abandon. This time around, no one can say that the disunity amongst the three has been responsible for the way the SC judgment had gone. Certainly not. But, now is going to be a new beginning. I am ignorant about how the cases are going to be viewed by the H.C.; will all the three writs going to be filed separately, the hearing will be one tagging all the three cases together as it has been happening in the SC.? It is for the legal experts to clarify and enlighten the pensioners. What is more important right now is the strength of the Associations/Federations concerned the appeal for donations from AIRIEF and The Hyderabad Association, spearheaded by Mr. Murthy and Mr. Mahadevan.
What we want to know essentially is, are the appeals addressed to the members of their respective organisations only or directed towards all the pensioners, irrespective of their affiliations? In other words, do they expect each pensioner to contribute to all the three entities? I am a member of Mr.Sridharan's Federation and so far, might have contributed not less than Rs.2000 towards the legal fund. This, full well knowing I am not going to be a beneficiary; I mean, being a 2000 retiree, the disparity in DR doesn't mean anything to me. After the 20% DR arrears settlement, the Federation must be flush with funds. Another 20% settlement is going to fill the coffers of the Federation with plenty. Therefore, the needy two are the AIRIEF and the Hyderabad Class I Officers Association. It is an open secret that the fund utilisation history of AIRIEF is under the scanner. Unless they make the statement of accounts as on date public for the benefit of the pensioners, and the pensioners are convinced about their need for more finance, their plea will fall on deaf ears only. I have contributed a sum of Rs.1000 to them too. As for the Hyderabad Association, I doubt very much whether they have an All-India standing. In fact, here in Kerala, pensioners hardly know about the good work being carried out by Mr.Murthy and his friends. In order to economise, can't they think about engaging a common counsel and fight our case in the Delhi H.C.? Would it be a legally feasible idea? How do they propose to cover all the pensioners? The pensioners also would wish to be very clear in their minds as to how the case Managers propose to carry on the exercise in the High Court. For example, Mr.Murthy has already come out with a time table showing the deadlines and the responsibilities that go with it. I am afraid, unless both Mr.Murthy and Mr.Asthana answer all these points and the pensioners are convinced that a beginning has been made for installing a Brave New World, fund mobilisation will be a tough task though the potential for collecting a huge amount needed for the legal expenses very much exists.
Kindly wait for my Next Post “Misplaced and Mixed Priorities”.