While comparing the Pension Rule 56 of the banks and the L.I.C., Sri ASR missed one very important point. As per this rule the benefits available to the Central Govt. employees can be extended to the employees of the banks and the L.I.C. The GOI has to grant prior permission for the banks for the said purpose. But our pension Rule does not provide for such prior permission of the G.O.I to extend the benefits available to the Central Govt. employees to the Retirees of the L.I.C.
He concluded his article stating that the GOI can frame the RULES at its will and pleasure under Section 48 of L.I.C Act. Such Rules can not be challenged before any Court and is not subject to judicial scrutiny. This is really distressing and demoralizing especially when the L.I.C Pensioners are to plead before the Delhi High Court on 12th July on the Constitutional validity of Para 3 of Annexure IV of Rule 37. If we were to endorse the views of Sri ASR the Pre Aug.97 Pensioners must be prepared to refund the 40% I.R paid to them. If we can not contest the pension Rules how the Supreme Court called upon the septuagenarian Pensioners to fight our case before the Delhi H.C.
No doubt the GOI can frame Rules under Sec. 48 covering matters (a) to (j). Yet the militant struggles by the trade unions in L.I.C won hands down very good wage revisions and other monetary benefits from 1981 onwards apart from the pension scheme of 1995. Rules or no Rules the fighting spirit that counts. The pertinent question is whether the G.O.I can frame Rules which violate the Constitution, the principles of Equity and Justice, and the Human Rights.
L.I.C Retirees are entitled to the benefit of updation of pension with each wage revision as per Rule 56 as enjoyed by the Central Govt. Employees for which prior approval of the GOI is not necessary. The Supreme Court Constitution Bench held in DEOKINANDAN PRASAD Vs BIHAR: “This Court authoritatively ruled that PENSION IS A RIGHT and the payment of it DOES NOT DEPEND UPON THE DISCRETION OF THE GOVERNMENT but is GOVERNED BY THE RULES and a Govt. Servant coming within those RULES IS ENTITLED TO CLAIM PENSION.” This judgment is quite appropriate to our case.
Once Rules are framed by the GOI they are meant for implementation. It is the duty and responsibility of the management (L.I.C) to implement the RULE without let or hindrance. The GOI CAN NOT POKE THEIR NOSE INTO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RULES. Much more the GOI has the morally duty to ensure due implementation of the RULES. So Rule 56 should have been implemented by the L.I.C to provide the benefit of updation to the Retirees as per the Central Govt. Employees Rules. But L.I.C and GOI have been flouting the Rules to deprive the Pensioner of their legitimate dues for which the militant trade unions remained mute spectators.
It is pertinent here to recall the observations of the National Human Rights Commission which highlighted the Role of the Executive in implementing the pension RULES. NHRC is on record: “ The Commission expects that the Executive in India will understand their important Role in strengthening the SOCIAL SECURITY REGIME in the country and take all necessary steps to PROMOTE AND PROTECT the RIGHTS OF THE ENTITLED PERSONS TO RECEIVE THE RETIRAL BENEFITS. NHRC has strong belief that when all the stake holders contribute to this resolve a happy and developed India will not be a distant dream. (Just contemplate on the role of the officials of Finance Ministry and the L.I.C)
Pension is the deferred portion of the compensation for long and devoted services rendered by an employee with the employer. It is a SOCIAL WELFARE measure as well. Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees every one a fundamental RIGHT TO LIVELIHOOD, which includes entitlement to receive his deferred wages in accordance with RULES after retirement. Non-payment of retiral benefits, therefore, is violation of one’s fundamental right under Art.21. The right to receive the same is not only a fundamental right but is also a RIGHT TO PROPERTY under the Constitution of India which cannot be taken away except by Authority of Law.( under which Rule LIC Pensioner is denied the benefit of updation or the benefit of 100% D.R)
Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chairman NHRC observed in the booklet “ RETIRAL BENEFITS AS A HUMAN RIGHT - NHRC INITIATIVES” observed “ Retiral Benefits are the accumulated savings of life time service. Denial , non-payment or delayed payment of the same is not only tantamount to denial of an Individual’s RIGHT TO PROPERTY but is also A VIOLATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE VICTIM AND THEIR NEXT OF KIN WHEREIN THEIR LIVELYHOOD IS AFFECTED OFTEN TIMES RESULTING IN UNTOLD MISERY, STARVATION AND POVERTY.”
Are we the LIC Pensioners VICTIMS? Yes, we are the victims of the foul play being played by the GOI/ LIC combine depriving us of our Constitutional and property rights and which violates the HUMAN RIGHTS AS WELL. LET US FIGHT UNITEDLY TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS. FIGHT WE MUST WIN WE MUST.