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Saturday, May 28, 2016

MV VENUGOPALAN


Dear Editor,

Mr.G.N.sridharan’s circular under the caption “Matters of Urgency” needs thorough analysis and a fitting reply. Let us first take up his assertion “... the Hyderabad Leaders were totally against any benefit accruing to the old generation of pensioners...” He makes it amply clear that not only he wants to divide the pensioners on the lines of DR and upgradation of pension, but on the lines of older and younger generation of pensioners. Are those who have crossed age 80 his target group?. Being the General Secretary of Class I Officers’ retiree Association, he had a duty to take up both the issues ,as then only he would have covered the interest of all the pensioners. Instead, he chose to take up only the DR issue which benefits the pre-1997 pensioners. And, amongst the beneficiaries, his chief concern was for the ‘older generation’ of pensioners. We too have ample concern for the relatively older pensioners.But as a General Secretary he had a duty to protect the interests of all the members of the Association. He stuck to his stand like a leech and till today has only espoused the cause of the pre-1997 pensioners. That the Hyderabad leaders didn't care for the older pensioners is a totally unfounded and baseless accusation. Not only they fought for pensioners of all ages but also they took up both the issues with equal vehemence. While considering acceptance of 20% of IR they didn’t subscribe to questionable methods of approaches by LIC like Mr.GNS did, but stuck to the principle that the settlement of 20% DR should be as per the right and acceptable method of calculation and not as preferred by LIC. In addition to the older generation of pensioners, they have been well entrenched in the unique problems faced by the family pensioners.


Coming to the other assertion “ that the contribution of 5% out of 40% IR shall legitimately be due only to our organisation....” since the same was granted by Hon’ble Supreme Court based on the specific prayer of ours...” This, by any stretch of imagination, is not only unacceptable, but even inconceivable. In the first place , the Order of 31st March 2016 was not a final one. The judgments of all the three H.Cs having been set aside, God knows on what basis Mr.GNS is laying claim to the IR of 40% arrears as his achievement. Right from inception, we knew that DR was a non-issue. It became an issue only after we filed a writ petition. It assumed the present complexity once it was inter-linked with up-gradation. The Ministry showed inclination to agree to the proposal and we had 100%, unequivocal support of the Board resolution to boot it. How then can anyone take credit for wresting an Interim Relief on an issue, which is a non-issue. No doubt, all the three of them have filed writs and fought the issue in different High Courts. Some of them can be credited with part-victory. Therefore, should the 40% IR be projected as an achievement, the credit belongs to all of them. The very fact that an Order purporting
Interim Relief has to be construed, in a larger sense as a precursor to a decision in the offing. Otherwise, can we imagine a decision in the future, let it be any court, nullifying it exposing the beneficiaries to the prospect of refunding the amount received as arrears. I am trying to say that there is no way that Mr. GNS to claim the 5% is “legiti-mately due to them”. By the way who fixed this 5% and what is its basis? The credit for 40% belongs to the judiciary as corroborated in the Order of 31st March which sums up the reason as “keeping in view the totality of facts and circumstances of the case, it is hereby directed that the corporation shall pay 40%.....”It is not because Mr.Panchu argued against para 3A of Appendix IV of the Pension Rules. In fact, Hon’ble Deepak Misra has dwelt at length on what Mr.Nidesh Gupta pleaded on behalf of the hapless pensioners. By the way, the prayer was not for granting 40% arrears of DR as IR and the same was granted by the Hon’ble judge . The prayer was for parity in DR between pre-1997 and post-1997 pensioners, which was not granted.

It is unfortunate that a person of Sridharans stature, a seasoned trade union leader for decades to have decided to put spokes in Mr.Murty's efforts to get the writ filed before the Delhi.H.C. Before long Mr.Sridharan will come to know that he has grossly underestimated Mr.Murty and his team. When the three of them have decided to part ways, I don’t see any earthly reason for any one of them interfering with the other; trying to erect obstacles on the way. It doesn't befit or match the reputation of a time-tested leader of the LIC Class I Officers retiree Association. From what I have stated above, it is abundantly clear that neither the 20% DR relief nor the 40% relief came as a result of exclusive efforts put in by Mr.GNS. The pensioners have already been taken for a ride by collecting Rs.1000 for membership to claim 20% arrears and now 5% on 40% arrears. The fact that the Hyderabad Association is a breakaway Association doesn't make them fugitives. They are very much here and are doing a splendid job in getting our case going on the right lines. I would appeal to Mr.Sridharan through the PC to allow them to do their job, and by all means, he can go ahead with his plans. 

Let us operate in an atmosphere total freedom and let non-interference in others matters be the new motto. Living in a country, practicing democracy, LIVE AND LET LIVE should be the over-riding consideration of every right-thinking citizen. Let us hope that better sense will prevail and Mr.GNS will wipe off , intentions if any, to create hardship in the court room in Delhi, when the writ petition of the Hyderabad Association comes up for admission on 30th May 2016.
Greetings,
M.V. VENUGOPALAN