IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM WP(C).No. 29449 of 2006(E) 1. ALL INDIA RETIRED BANK EMPLOYEES ... Petitioner 2. P. SREEDHARAN, 3. A.C. JOSEPH, Vs 1. UNION OF INDIA, ... Respondent 2. INDIAN BANKS ASSOCIATION, For Petitioner :SRI.V.RAJENDRAN For Respondent :SRI.JOBY CYRIAC, CGC The Hon'ble MR. Justice S.SIRI JAGAN Dated :11/08/2011 O R D E R S. Siri Jagan, J. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= W.P(C) No. 29449 of 2006 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Dated this, the 11th day of August, 2011. J U D G M E N T
The 1st petitioner is the All India Retired Bank Employees' Association and petitioners 2 and 3 are members of that association and are retired employees of the public sector banks. They have certain grievances regarding retirement benefits. They filed various representations in respect thereof. This Court, by Exts.P6 and P7 judgments directed the 1st respondent-Union of India to consider those representations. Pursuant to that judgments, the Union of India passed Ext.P8 order rejecting all their claims. Ext.P8 order is under challenge seeking the following reliefs:
"a. Call for the records leading to Ext.P8 order and quash the same by the issue of a writ in the nature of certiorari or other appropriate writ, order or direction;
b. direct the respondents by the issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus or other appropriate writ, order or direction to extend the benefits of ex-gratia payment to the pre-80 retirees in tune with the scheme prevailing in the RBI;
c. direct the respondents by the issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus or other appropriate writ, order or direction to enhance the amount of ex-gratia relief to Rs.600/- plus DR as prevalent in banks and the medical assistance of Rs. 800/- given by the RBI to their pre-86 retirees recommended by the Vth CPC;
d. direct the respondents by the issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus or other appropriate writ, order or direction to extend the ex-gratia relief to all the pre-86 retirees having 10 years service before their retirements and implement the same with effect from 1.11.93;
e. direct the respondents by the issue of a writ in the nature of W.P(C) No. 29449 of 2006 -: 2 :- mandamus or other appropriate writ order or direction to extend the ex-gratia relief to the employees of the private banks also;
f. direct the respondents by the issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus or other appropriate writ, order or direction to adopt a uniform formula for computation of DA and DR;
g. direct the respondents by the issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus or other appropriate writ, order or direction to ensure that every pay revision of in service employees should be followed by a proportionate hike in the pensionary benefits as well;
h. direct the respondents by the issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus or other appropriate writ, order or direction to ensure that pensioners or their representative be heard in the matter of revision of pension and other related benefits."
The contention raised is that the rejection was arbitrary and discriminatory and therefore Ext.P8 is liable to be quashed and the petitioners are entitled to be given the benefits they sought for.
2. The respondents would oppose the prayers.
3. I have considered the rival contentions in detail.
4. Ext.P8 is self explanatory. It contains the reliefs prayed for by the petitioners and the reasons for not granting the same. The same reads thus:
"(1) Ex-gratia payment to pre-1986 retirees:
(a) Grant of Ex-Gratia relief to retirees from 1.11.1993 instead of 111.1997.
The scheme for ex gratia relief to pre-1986 retirees of the public sector banks was introduced on compassionate grounds. Since W.P(C) No. 29449 of 2006 -: 3 :- there is no nexus between the grant of pension scheme introduced for the employees of the public sector banks in 1993 with the ex-gratia relief scheme, there is no justification for pre- dating the scheme from 1.11.1993.
(b) Minimum service for entirlement to ex- gratia be reduced from 20 years to 10 years.
Since the ex-gratia relief in the public sector banks was introduced on the lines of the ex-gratia relief prevalent in the Central Government and in the Central Government minimum service for entitlement to the ex-gratia is 20 years, there is no justification for reduction in the minimum service from 20 years to 10 years for the eligibility of ex-gratia relief.
(c) Enhancement in the amount of ex- gratia relief to Rs. 600/- with Dearness Relief thereon as recommended by Vth Pay Commission.
In the case of Central Government employees, 50% of the D.A. have been merged in the basic ex-gratia amount. The dearness relief has been correspondingly reduced, thereafter. On the basic ex-gratia of Rs. 600/-, the total amount of Ex-gratia after taking into account the dearness relief thereon, computes to around Rs. 1100/- as on 31.12.2005. However, in the public sector banks, on the basic ex gratia of Rs. 300/- it computes to Rs. 1307/- after taking in to account the dearness relief thereon. This evidently shows that the ex-gratia relief to the employees of the public sector banks is a shade better than the ex-gratia relief granted to the Central Government employees. There is, thus, no justification to revise the same, further.
(d) Extending the benefit of ex-gratia W.P(C) No. 29449 of 2006 -: 4 :- relief to retirees of the private sector banks also.
The Central Government is not authorized to give such directives to the Private Sector Banks and it is for the Board of the Private Sector banks to decide the issue of ex-gratia relief.
(e) Benefit to cover widows of pre-1.1.1986 retires.
IBA has not favoured extension of benefit of ex-gratia to widows of pre-1986 retirees on the grounds that PSBs are not in a position to exactly determine the number of employees retired prior to 1.1.1986. IBA has further stated that administratively, it may be impossible for the banks to identify the genuine eligible candidates, besides the reason that the pension scheme has proved to be a costly proposition to the banks. However, on a humanitarian grounds, IBA has been requested to advise the banks to place the matter before the respective Boards for consideration.
(2) Dearness relief on pension at par with the serving employees.
The grant of Dearness relief to the retirees is bound to differ from the serving employees after every wage settlement. Whereas in the case of the serving employees, the Dearness allowance is admissible beyond the D.A points merged with the basic pay for determining the new pay scales, the same is not the case of retirees, as they continue to get the Dearness relief beyond the point upto which dearness relief has been merged in the last wage settlement prior to their retirement. The demand of the Association does not merit approval.W.P(C) No. 29449 of 2006 -: 5 :-
3. Updation of pension of retirees.
The pension is determined @ 50% on the basis of average pay of the employee during the last 10 months. Since the pension is determined on the basis of the pay drawn by an employees, there is no case for the updation of pension on every wage settlement."
A mere reading of the same would go to show that the reliefs prayed for by the petitioners were not reliefs to which the petitioners were entitled to as of right. Almost all of them were concessions. Concessions cannot be demanded as of right. There is nothing to show that there is any arbitrariness in rejecting the claims of the petitioners. I am satisfied that the 1st respondent has given sufficient valid reasons to reject the claims of the petitioners. Therefore, I am not inclined to interfere with Ext.P8 order. Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed.
Sd/- S. Siri Jagan, Judge.