Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Simpathies have no place in a Society governed by the Rule of Law- Navodaya Pension Case is Dismissed by Jharkhand High Court

The hopes had been proved false. The judgement has revealed the shallowness of our arguments. High Court dismissed the case for want of merit. The salient points from the judgement are:
  •  Navodaya Vidalaya Samiti was constituted and registered under Society Registration Act, 1860 in
    the month of February, 1986.The demands of the employees for introduction of pension were considered by the government from time to time but could not be agreed to since as per the decision taken by the Government of India on the recommendations of Fourth Pay Commission, all the C.P.F beneficiaries in service as on 1st January, 1986 had been given an option to switch over to Pension / G.P.F/ Scheme. (Stand of the Ministry and Samiti- Is this pro employee stand as claimed by our union leaders?)
  • Even the petitioner admits that the benefits of pensionery scheme were not available to the employees of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti till the notification of the said scheme in the year 2008 giving option to the existing employees to join the new pension scheme, 2004 or to continue with the existing C.P.F. Scheme.
  • It appears that based upon the said recommendations( read recommendations of various committees) itself the Government of India finally decided to come out with a notification in the year 2008 whereby the employees of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti were allowed to join the New Pension Scheme,
    2004 or to continue with the existing C.P.F. Scheme.
  • It is a settled principle of law that cut of date of notification of pensionary scheme is within domain of the employer and is not subject to interference ordinarily unless it is arbitrary and unreasonable and some gross case of violation of Article 14 is made out.
  • The differential treatment of two sets of officers appointed prior to the notified date would not offend Article 14 of the Constitution. The cut-off date may be justified on the ground that additional outlay as involved or the fact that under the terms of appointment, the employee was not entitled to the benefit of pension or retirement. (quoted from Supreme Court Judgment)
  • The underlying principle is that when the State decides to revise and liberalise an existing
    pension scheme with a view to augmenting the social security cover granted to pensioners, it cannot ordinarilygrant the benefit to a section of the pensioners and deny the same to others by drwing an artificial cut-off line which cannot be justified on rational grounds and is wholly unconnected with the object intended to be achieved. But when an employer introduces an entirely new scheme which has no connection with the existing scheme, different considerations enter the decision making process. One such consideration may be the financial implications of the scheme and the extent of capacity of the employer to bear the burden. Keeping in view its capacity to absorb the financial burden that the scheme would throw, the employer would have to decide upon the extent of applicability of the scheme.
  • The new pension scheme has come into force w.e.f. 1.1.2004 upon a conscious decision of the employers i.e Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti on approval of the Government of India in the year 2008. The petitioner has not been able to show any grounds for treating the said cut of date as arbitrary,unreasonable and irrational or in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The mere fact that other institutions had been governed by different pensionary schemes since earlier point of time will not entitle the petitioner to claim that the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti is legally obliged to follow the same as it is an autonomous body, admittedly framed under the Societies Registration Act. As such even the employees in service prior to 1.1.2004 have been granted benefits to switch over to the new scheme as per the provisions of the scheme. Sympathies have no place in a society governed by
    the Rule of law as been eminently observed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court

What we need to do? We need to discuss the merits and demerits of our points without emotions blinding our judgement and we should concentrate on the means to prove the shallowness of Samiti's arguments. Before an appeal is filed, hope wisdom would dawn upon us and we will go for a united legal battle!

1 comment:

  1. We should study the privious judgments of supreme court thoroughly if want to win the case in suprem court.