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At the outset I would like to request the sympathizers of IBA and UFBU to read this article with open mind with no bias. Remember, I am neither against anybody in IBA or at UFBU. Frankly, speaking, I have never met or seen any of them, except the present IBA Chairman, who was chairman of the Bank from where I took VRS. However, Mr Kamath has in no way been associated with this case as all this has happened much before he become Chairman of IBA. In this article, I will be talking only what I feel is legally correct position and based on the documents made available to us. If you feel, this is the correct analogy, do tell others, but if feel this is not the correct interpretation, do feel free to write your comments in the space given at the end of the article.
We received a copy of the IBA letter dated 6th August, 2012 from more than one reader. We we are reproducing below the same for the benefit of all our readers. We hope this letter will not be denied by IBA or union leaders as it is in public domain for quite sometime. It now becomes clear that IBA was not agreeable to release 2nd Pension Option to even VRS optees till 6th August, 2012. The worst part is that, a close scrutiny of the letter, exposes the nexus of Union Leaders (UFBU) and IBA in denying 2nd Pension option to VRS optees, Resignees and other categories of bankers.
Let us first read the letter written by IBA to Joint Secretary, MoF, and then consider some of the sentences in this letter to come to some conclusions.
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Now we would like our readers to peruse the above letter carefully.
Point 1 :
On page 2, sub-para 4 reads "Inclusion of VRS would give rise to demands from all those who resigned or compulsorily retired after putting in 20 years of service. Members of UFBU appreciated the explanation during negotiations and the issue was not escalated"
The above clearly indicates that UFBU was a part of the deal to deny 2nd Pension Option to VRS optees, Resignees and other categories. IBA has clearly said that UFBU appreciated the stand of IBA in this regard. Now question arises, why then UFBU in public kept on taking a stand that it was IBA which has denied the same and they have not been party denial of 2nd pension option to such bankers. To befool the senior bankers who have retired, some union leaders even kept on writing to IBA / GoI too for release of this option. Thus, it is clear that either IBA is telling a lie to GoI or UFBU has been making fool of its cadre and senior citizens / bankers. Can UFBU and IBA be now trusted even for 10th BPS ? I can only wish best of luck to bankers as they do not have much choice, but I humble request them to be on guard and watch carefully the developments as the talks on 10th BPS progress or else Xth BPS can be an eye wash and they will get only peanuts. I am a retired man and I am not going to benefit from this BPS, but my serving colleagues have to be watchful.
Point 2 :
Now coming to the last para of the letter. It reads as "The Managing Committee (i.e. of IBA), also emphasized that the sanctity of Joint Note executed by Management / Unions / Associations should not be reopened under any circumstances during the currency of the agreement. If the spirit of DFS communication is to extend pension option to those who retired under VRS, the right thing would be to hold discussions with UFBU at the time of next settlement and make it a part of 10th Bipartite Settlement".
The above clearly indicates that IBA was of the firm view that this Agreement / Joint Note can not be reopened without participation of UFBU and neither VRS optees nor resignees should be given 2nd Pension option. However, IBA actually allowed it unilaterally only to VRS optees. This mean that 2nd Pension option at this late stage was given to VRS optees and denied to Resignees in December 2012, was without the written consent / agreement of UFBU? There is a need for clarification how IBA decided to take a unilateral decision when a few weeks back it was vehemently against such a move. After taking a stand that no changes can be made without the consent of UFBU, how and why IBA allowed it only to VRS? Is it not a violation of the Agreement to issue unilateral amendment excluding resignees.?
On page 2, IBA has clearly admitted that rules under regulation 19(1) has not been framed by all PSBs, and where framed these are varied and VRS service enables 20 years to 30 years, and above all there is no VRS for award staff.
Now question arises knowing fully well about the above infirmities in regulations in different banks and no uniformity among banks, how IBA decided to violate the Law of Equality as provided by our constitution. There is a single Joint Note / Agreement for all banks, then how IBA can unilaterally frame different rules for different set of employees in different banks. This needs to be struck down by Courts. It appears IBA law department has totally messed up the issue and is novice as to what our Constitution provides for.
Now Let me quote from Supreme Court 15 year old ruling in the case of V Kasturi vs Managing Director, State Bank of India (1998), which can be useful for those who have still been denied 2nd Pension option on the plea of a recent Supreme Court, which actually is not AT ALL applicable to present set of bankers.
"If the person retiring is eligible for pension at the time of his retirement and if he survives till the time by subsequent amendment of the relevant pension scheme, he would become eligible to get enhanced pension or would become eligible to get more pension as per the new formula of computation of pension subsequently brought into force, he would be entitled to get the benefit of the amended pension provision from the date of such order as he would be a member of the very same class of pensioners when the additional benefit is being conferred on all of them. In such a situation the additional benefit available to the same class of pensioners cannot be denied to him on the ground that he had retired prior to the date on which the aforesaid additional benefit was conferred on all the members of the same class of pensioners who had survived by the time the scheme granting additional benefit to these pensioners came into force. The line of decisions tracing their roots to the ratio of nakara's case (supra) would cover this category of cases"\
The above case is relevant as it lays down that Nakara's case decision, will allow all the members of the same class of pensioners who had survived by the time the scheme granting additional benefit to these pensions came into force. In the present case all these VRS optees, resignees were on the roles of the Bank when Pension was introduced and thus offering 2nd pension option to only some of the them will be against the law of Supreme Court. The basis on which IBA is now trying to befool MoF is a Supreme Court judgment where SC has held that those who retired before 1993 are not eligible as at that time there was no pension scheme.
In view of the above I request the new Chairman of IBA, Mr Kamath to look into these facts independently and not from biased view of IBA who are fighting to save their face due to the mess created by their ill advisors, as they have taken and then continued to persue a wrong cause for last few years. IBA and UFBU needs to issue clarifications as it raises many eyebrows. Let IBA Chairman wake up and take the right decision which is in conformity with Indian Constitution and various decisions of Supreme Court. If you take an informed decision, senior bankers will remember you for long time or else you too will be a forgotten part of the history - the day you retire.
PS : We have also received a copy of AP Hight Court judgment from one of our readers (T. Ramesh Babu vs Union Bank Of India And Anr. on 20/9/1997), wherein the following has been quoted :
"The learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that this denial was untenable because there was a clarification by the Indian Banks Association dated 4th January, 1996 stating that the settlement regarding pension scheme having been signed on 29th October, 1993 providing for Introduction of the pension scheme with effect from 1st November, 1993, even those who had resigned from service or voluntarily retired subsequently would be entitled to have their claims considered if such request had been left out of consideration only on the ground that the pension scheme had not been finalised and adopted by the time the applications were made".
Why Now IBA is taking a different stand?