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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Some Headlines On Pensioners Still Remain Mystery

Since long it is heard that IBA is actively considering demands of pensioners and some positive result will emerge. Unfortunately news comes and disappear and nothing appear to have moved in positive direction. Only one achievement is there that matter of pensioners which are never an issue has now become an issue and has started attracting active participation of pensioners, debates and discussions. 
( read my observation after three news of Business Line)

Apex court reserves order on 100% DA neutralisation for pre-2002 bank retirees--Hindu Business Line  dated 04.08.2017

The Supreme Court on August 1 reserved judgment in a petition filed by various organisations seeking 100 per cent neutralisation of DA for pre-November 2002 bank retirees. 

It is still unknown whether the reserve judgement has been pronounced by Apex Court our not 

Senior counsel who represented the bank management (Indian Banks’ Association) vehemently argued that there was no case of discrimination, as is being alleged, between pre- or post-2002 retirees.

The employer has a right to restrict the applicability of new benefits/improvements to future retirees and for that purpose the cut-off date of November 1, 2002, was in order.

The counsel also argued that making the 100 per cent DA neutralisation applicable to all past retirees would involve huge financial burden on banks.
VK Bali, arguing for the petitioners, said the distinctions made out in the Bipartite Settlement of May 2005, in respect of applicability of uniform rate of DA and the distortions in its implementation through IBA circular dated June 28, 2005, had gone against its spirit.
The clauses relating to payment of uniform DA from May 2005 did not stipulate any cut-off date with regard to exclusion of pre-November 2002 retirees from the applicability of 100 per cent DA. They had only mentioned the change in formula to 100 per cent DA neutralisation from 2005.

While issuing the circular, the IBA had ‘unilaterally created an artificial classification by wrongly dividing the retirees into different groups as pre-November 2002 and post-November 2002.’

AS Nambiar, another counsel, sought to invoke Article 14 of the Constitution here. The ‘artificial classification’ had no justification or rationale, he said.

Inflation hurts all pensioners equally, irrespective of the date of retirement. DA is payable towards part-compensation on account of price rise and, hence, there cannot be different rates payable to retirees merely on the basis of their date of retirement.

The argument of the management about pension fund being contributory was countered on the grounds that it is a revenue expenditure that has to be fully met by the bank in accordance with actuarial investigation.
‘Without substance’

V Mohana, another counsel for the petitioners, invited the court’s attention to the discrimination caused by the IBA circular of June 28, 2005. Judgment in the case should apply to all affected bank pensioners. The argument about the huge financial burden is without any substance or justification, he said. Meanwhile, the court sought some clarifications in the light of an earlier case of 100 per cent DA neutralisation having been dismissed.
It also sought views of the rival parties about another judgment relating to dismissal of appeals against an order of the Madras High Court in a related case and implications thereof.

On August 2017 Finance Ministry established a panel to resolve bank pensioners' issues.

The Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, has set up a committee to resolve the pending issues of bank pensioners and retirees.
(What is fate of this committee? Whether it is progressing in any direction or sleeping in deep slumber )

This is the outcome of a series of meetings the All India Pensioners and Retirees’ Confederation had with the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley; Minister of State Santosh Kumar Gangwar; and department officials.

Demands of the pensioners/retirees include 100 per cent DA neutralisation for pre-2002 retirees; improvement in family pension, medical insurance and a medical benefit scheme; pension updation; second options to compulsorily retired officers and resignees who have put in a pensionable service.

Suprita Sarkar, acting general secretary, said that the Confederation had been pursuing these with the government and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

It was enthused by the response of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the meeting on on June 1.

It explained to him the details about the 100 per cent DA neutralisation issue, family pension and updation.

"It was not a meeting for merely submitting a memorandum but one where the Finance Minister listened to our issues patiently asking us to clarify points in respect of the issues,” Sarkar said.

As a follow up, the Confederation met Minister of State Santosh Gangwar on July 24 and urged him to advise the ministry to resolve the issues on an urgent basis as quite to a few retirees had reached their advanced age.

The Minister of State too was sympathetic to the issues and assured the Confederation of a resolution. He had already talked with the ministry officials in this regard.

According to Sarkar, the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) had taken up the issues mentioned in the record note of the last bipartite settlement during the ongoing negotiations for the 11th settlement.

During the meeting with the Chairman of the IBA sub-committee in charge of negotiations on August 1, the UFBU had taken up them and had received a favourable response.

“We firmly believe that the issues such as pension updation, family pension and medical benefit scheme shall be of direct concern to the serving employees as well as they move on and retire,”
“We are happy that all constituents and leaders of the UFBU re making sincere efforts in this regard,” Sarkar added.

On 15  April 2016  
IBA agrees to look into pension revision for retirees

There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel finally for scores of retired bank employees.
The long pending demand for revision of pension has finally come up for positive examination by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

From 1986, pension for retired bank employees has not been revised as there is no practice of periodical revision of pension along with the Pay Commission’s review of pay scales being followed in the case of government employees.

There has also been no increase in the quantum of pension payable to family members after the death of a serving or retired employee.

However, the United Federation of Bank Unions (UFBU) has been able to break the ice in these matters in its talks with the IBA team held a couple of days ago.

“The IBA has agreed to examine these issues and is sympathetic. It has called for details of the number of present pensioners, and family pensioners, from banks,” CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA, who represented UFBU along with its convener MV Murali and others, told Business Line.
A request for calculating uniform DA rate for those who retired prior to 2002 is also being taken up. After 2002, employees/pensioners get 100 per cent compensation when prices go up.  “Prior to that, we have been tapering the DA formula. So, we want the same uniform formula on DA for those retired employees also,” he said.
The employee body has also asked the IBA to expedite the cost calculation as the demands have been pending for quite a long time and the retired employees being aged, need to be considered with sympathy and without undue delay.

The IBA has assured the union to expedite work in this regard.

According to M Harshavardhan, Advisor, All India Bank Officers’ Federation, revision of pension and its regular updation will not cause ‘undue’ financial burden on banks as has been projected. “Banks are very much capable of bearing additional expenses to be incurred on account of revision in pension rate,” he said.

The IBA has also agreed to take up with bank managements the problems faced in reimbursement of health care costs/health insurance issues.

There is no consolidated data on the number of pensioners and the IBA is in the process of arriving at a figure shortly. There are about 11.50 lakh bank employees today with almost 50 per cent of them in clerical jobs. The number of retirements has gone up by 2-4 per cent in the last five years and the trend is expected to continue for the next three to four years

My observation on the issue is as mentioned below.

In addition to above news,  it is also in public domain that several cases pertaining to pension update or 100% DA have been languishing in court of law since long.

It is also true that in past, UFBU never took it seriously to ask for updation in pension of retired employees of banks at least in tune with what is happening in other departments and central government services. Pension of MLA and MPs have gone up drastically during last few years. 

Pension of armed forces have been revised under OROP 

In recent past , Ministry of Finance approved updation of pension in case of employees working under central government. 

It is a question why Indian Bank Association IBA  is not giving due importance to demands raised by retired bankers and why United Front of Bank Unions , strongest front for bankers has been maintaining silence on such a crucial issue for decades.

I therefore appeal to all concerned to gather data from all departments which are updating pension of their staff and put the same before their union leaders as also before IBA and Ministry .

I also request them to collect present status on all pending litigation and make it public and also try to convince IBA and GOI that all litigations are filed by individuals and hence there is no barrier in dealing and negotiating with UFBU or pensioners federation pending litigation. 

There are many issues on which individuals use to file cases and they have filed in the past several time and despite that IBA negotiated with authorised unions to arrive at consensus. As such plea made by IBA that they are unable to talk on demands of pensioners until litigations are pending in courts.

All working employees and all working trade union leaders have to retire a day , hence they should give all importance to demands of retires employees with all enthusiasm as they work for serving employees.

It depicts casual attitude of union leaders that even though IBA agreed in principle long ago that demands of pensioners need active consideration in April 2016 and they they set a panel for it in August 2017 and still matter has not budged an inch .

What has emerged after sitting of UFBU and IBA on 27th of August 2017 is very much disheartening at least so far as the issues pertaining to retirees are concerned.

Right to pension cannot be taken away pending proceedings: Apex Court-Hindu Business Line -20th August 2013

Observing that gratuity and pension are hard earned benefits of an employee and right to receive pension is in the nature of “property”, the Supreme Court has held that this right cannot be taken away from a government employee pending departmental or criminal proceedings.
“It is an accepted position that gratuity and pension are not the bounties. An employee earns these benefits by dint of his long, continuous, faithful and un-blemished service. It is thus hard earned benefit which accrues to an employee and is in the nature of “property”.
“This right to property cannot be taken away without the due process of law as per the provisions of Article 300 A of the Constitution of India,” a bench of justices K.S Radhakrishnan and A.K Sikri said.
The court passed the judgement while dismissing the appeal of Jharkhand government against the state’s high court order directing it to release the withheld dues of its retired employee Jitendra Kumar Srivastava, who had criminal cases pending against him.
“We are of the opinion that the right of the petitioner (Srivastava) to receive pension is property under Article 31(1) (of the Constitution) and by a mere executive order the State had no power to withhold the same.
“The order dated June 12, 1968 denying the petitioner right to receive pension affects the fundamental right of the petitioner under Articles 19(1)(f) and 31(1)of Constitution, and as such the writ petition under Article 32 is maintainable,” the bench said.
It also said “a person cannot be deprived of this pension without the authority of law, which is the Constitutional mandate enshrined in Article 300 A of the Constitution. It follows that attempt of the appellant to take away a part of pension or gratuity or even leave encashment without any statutory provision and under the umbrage of administrative instruction cannot be countenanced.”
The state government had moved the apex court challenging the October 31, 2007 order of a division bench of the high court which had held that under the Bihar Pension Rules, the government does not have power to withhold gratuity and pension during the pendency of departmental or criminal proceeding and or withhold leave encashment at any stage either prior to or after conclusion of the proceeding.
The order of the high court had come on a writ petition filed by the petitioner, who had retired from the post of Artificial Insemination Officer, Ranchi in 2002, seeking release of part of his pension and other dues.
He had joined the Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries in Bihar government in 1966. In 1996 two cases were registered against him under various sections of Indian Penal Code and also Prevention of Corruption Act for alleged financial irregularities during the years 1990 and 1991 when he was posted as Artificial Insemination Officer, Ranchi.
After formation of state of Jharkhand, he became the employee of that state while his prosecution in two criminal cases remained pending.
After his retirement in 2002, the government sanctioned 90 percent provisional pension while remaining 10 percent pension and salary of his suspension period was withheld pending outcome of the criminal cases/departmental inquiry against him. He was also not paid leave encashment and gratuity.

❇Following  message fun information  received  on Facebook today.

*Banks Retirees* : *Supreme Court decision*

An imp msg received from *Shri H. I. Jani, ( AGM rtrd. and Asso. Activist)* .

Forwarded as received:-

Mr Dushyant Dave, President of Supreme Court Bar Association has said that all *21 Lawyers of the SCBA are ready to represent the Veterans in SC on* *OROP Pro- Bono (Pro-Bono means :: without cost to the applicant*)


Dear friends,

It is surprising that a land mark judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of India on 01 07 2015, Civil Appeal no. 1123 of 2015 has gone unnoticed and except for a brief letter from Shri S R Sen Gupta to IBA, no other union has taken any steps. The salient features of the judgement:

1. The bench has authoritatively ruled that Pension is a right and the payment of it does not depend upon the discretion of the Government. Pension is governed by rules and a Government Servant coming within those rules is entitled to claim pension.

2.The judgement has recognised that the revision of pension and revision of pay scales are INSEPARABLE.

3.The bench has reiterated that on revision the Basic pension cannot be less than 50% of the Basic Pension in the minimum of the Pay Band in the revised scale corresponding to the pre-revised scale.

4.The government CANNOT take a plea of financial burden to deny legitimate dues of the pensioners.

5.The Government SHOULD AVOID unwarranted litigation and not to encourage any litigation for the sake of litigation.

6. When pension is upheld to be a right and NOT A BOUNTY, as a corollary to the averment that revision of pension and revision of pay scales are INSEPARABLE, upgradation of pension is also a RIGHT AND NOT A BOUNTY.

The above details are available in the issue of *Canara Bank Retired Officer's Association Circular no 3/2016 dated 1st August 2015*.

The judgement is very clear and I wonder how no one has noticed the important aspects and why no one has taken up the matter with the IBA/Govt.

Why no one has reacted to the judgement is surprising and perplexing.

*While agitation is on why can't we take recourse to court also as Supreme Court advocates are offering their services. One ruling by SC that govt can't deny pension for lack of funds regarding OROP every year and VRS case.*

*Dear Pensioners!*

Forward this msg to a minimum of twenty people (non pensioners too as citizens of India) on your contact list; and in turn ask each of them to do likewise.

In three days, most people in India will have this message.
This is one idea that really should be passed around.

*Let the entire population know the fallacies of IBA.*

Details of court order in civil appeal 1123 of 2015

Following  is High court order of 2009.
Business standard news of the year 2009
The Bombay High Court on Monday struck down the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) withdrawing pension updation benefits for its employees. The judgment was passed while hearing a petition filed by a retired RBI employee in the Bombay HC. Responding to the petition, the RBI had filed that the circular was issued following a government order to withdraw the pension updation for its employees. The HC was of the view that the government cannot override a decision taken by the RBI’s central board just by writing a letter. It added that any order or advice to RBI should be p.....

Agsin in 2016 , ROB staff raised the issue. Please read news item published  in Hindu  Business Line 

The Forum of Retired Employees of RBI, Chennai, has requested Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to grant final approval for implementation of pension updation in the apex bank.
Several judgments from the Supreme Court — beginning with the Nakara case — have recognised that wage and pension revisions are inseparable from each other, the forum contended.

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