Sunday, June 12, 2016

MV Venugopalan

Dear Editor,

Sridharan bashing...
PC is also a party to it.
It is heartening to hear that writs have been filed by all concerned in the Delhi High Court and things have started moving. Mr.Murty has done full justice to his role by not only doing what is right but also by making each and every step taken, open to the stakeholders. Some of them were aggrieved that “Sridharan Bashing” had crossed all limits and I too was guilty of it,of course, for the right reasons. I have made it amply clear in my post,”Live and Let Live”, the reasons therefor.  A leader of Class I pensioners should have refrained from acting in the manner he did in the recent past,particularly contemplating preventing Mr.Murty from filing an independent writ. May be Mr.Asthana belatedly realised that ‘silence is golden and chose to keep his plans under wraps. AIIPA ,the latest entrant, also is in the fray. This recap is intended to inform and remind the pensioners that of the four parties , who they should throw their lot with, and lend all support, both financially and morally. You be the judge.

The other issue bothering the pensioners is the incorrectness of the 40% arrears of DR paid by LIC. Mr.Mahadevan has strained every nerve to explain where and how LIC had erred (deliberately or otherwise). He points out that if we fail to expose the anomalous implementation of the provisions contained in para 3A of Appendix IV of the Pension Rules, it will affect our fight for up-gradation. Very true. In this context, we have to remember two things; when LIC’s counsel replied to a query by the judge that the discrepancy in the 20% IR arose due to LIC not taking into account the revisions, there was no negative or advisory response from the judge. Again, on another occasion, Justice.Misra observed that the court is not concerned with the computational aspect of the DR. Putting them together , it leads us to conclude that this is not the right time for us to mix up this issue with our main prayer and unnecessarily delay the proceedings. On the other hand, it would be better, if , with their closeness to the authorities that be, find out the intention of LIC stubbornly sticking to their methodology of arriving at the DR arrears. As a sales-person, we used to advocate that one should know more about the competitors product than his own. The same advise holds good here too. The other apprehension unleashed by Mr. A.S. Ramanathan that a situation might arise when the pensioners have to refund the arrears received by them is never going to happen. If one reads the SC Order 7-5-2015 and again 31-3-2016 (between the lines) one cannot miss the fact that the Judges had no difficulty in part- conceding the demand for parity in DR, which incidentally is the stand of the GOI too and the obstructive clause Section 48 has been brought into focus with a view to not making conceding up-gradation that easy. May be that there are not many to buy this assumption, but I presume ,that I am safe in sticking to this theory like ’Fevicol’. Moreover, I do not think that there has been many instances in the past where the pensioners had to refund the money received by them as a consequence of a verdict from a H.C or S.C.

  • It is bewildering to read astounding interpretations of Sec 48 and its baby para3A of Appendix IV to the pension rules.In para 17 of the SC Order, 31st March, the judges have clearly stated the reason for remanding the cases to the Delhi H.C. It is stated that since the constitutional validity of para 3A of Appendix IV of Pension Rules was raised it has to be addressed by the H.C. and have added that a decision could not be taken by the S.C since the pleadings have been found to be inadequate. If, as stated by Mr.Ramanathan , if the same is unchallengeable why would Justice Misra refrain from taking the inevitable decision? Mr.Ramanathan, in one of his earlier write-ups had said categorically that there cant be a law in place which runs counter to constitutional provisions, meaning that articles 14 and 16 are there to safeguard our interests. Another legal expert had vouched that Sec 48 being a draconian provision , either it will be struck down or will be infructuous in our case . I don’t understand why Mr. Ramanathan is reeling out such contradictory interpretations and in the process, wittingly or unwittingly confuse the readers? No special legal knowledge is required for people like us to read the concerned provisions and grasp its meaning. What we expect from our friends having legal expertise is to suggest ways and means to tackle them and not misinterpret and change tracks. The fact of the matter is that, eventually, what stand the special Bench to be constituted to go into these provisions will take can not be predicted at this stage and what all parties concerned can do is to dig deeper into the past decisions taken by LIC/GOI in cases comparable to the ones we are discussing and zero in on faultlines if any and use it to our advantage.

It is time that we buried the past and injected fresh thinking into the possible line of arguments we can advance in the forthcoming hearing, take special care not to be provoked by meaningless provocations and fully concentrate on the possible twists and turns the case is likely take. A closer interaction between the counsels and our leaders is an absolute must. There are signs that the H.C Delhi is sufficiently proactive and are keen to abide by the timeline. Let us hope that the four parties to the case converge in their thinking , though not physically, and put up a concerted fight resulting in what we desire the most. As matters stand today, we have no doubt in our minds that only the Hyderabad Association fulfills all the criteria we have in our minds. It doesn't benefit any pensioner to become a member of a group of ‘captive audience’ and get imprisoned in their machinations for short-term gains. Wishing all pensioners good health.

With Greetings,