Will New CMD of Vijay Bank Appear Before SC As Accused by Adhering to IBA Advise OR Use His Wisdom To Follow “National Litigation Policy?” and Save His Honour?
R K Pathak
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In yet another Writ Petition filed by a Resignee, our stand of Right of Pension to Resignees have been vindicated. Again, the Honourable Karnataka High Court upholds our rights and deplores the action of Vijaya Bank management of denying pension to Resigness, by referring to clause 7 of Vijaya Bank’s circular No. 10191 dated 07/09/2010. The said clause read as under:-
“This option to join the pension scheme shall not be extended to those employees [officers & Award staff] who ceased to be in the service of the Bank in any manner other than the categories mentioned hereinabove.”
On 18/04/2012, An Honourable Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court, while upholding the right of a resignee for pension had observed as under:-
1) Writ Petitions are hereby allowed.
2) The impugned clause No.7 of circular No.10191 dated 07/09/2010 as per annexure –L & endorsement as per annexure M-1 to M-7 are hereby quashed.
3) Petitioners are entitled for pension as per the pension regulation of the respondent Bank.
4) Respondents to calculate & extend the benefit of pension to the petitioners.
The Writ Appeal (No.2956-2977 of 2012) filed by the Vijaya Bank challenging the above order was dismissed by the Honorable Division Bench of Karnataka High Court on 30/07/2012. While concluding the judgment, the Honorable Division Bench of Karnataka High Court had observed that “We find no error in the impugned order. The appeals are accordingly dismissed but we refrain from imposing cost.”
Against the order of Division Bench of the Honorable Division Bench of Karnataka High Court, the Vijaya Bank management had filed a SLP [35402-35423 of 2012] in the Honourable Supreme Court in August 2012 which came to be disposed off as withdrawn by the Bank with a request to file Review before Honorable Division Bench of Karnataka High Court again, on 07/12/2012.
Ultimately, the Review filed by Vijaya Bank management (in RP/68 of 2013] came to be dismissed by the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka on 25/10/2013. At Para 6 of the order, Honorable Division Bench of Karnataka High Court stated that “It is clear that the scope of review is very limited. It is only the error apparent on the face of record which can be reviewed. In the present case, clause No.7 of the circular dated 07/09/2010 which denied the pensioner benefits to the writ petitioners has been quashed. The writ petitioners had put in requisite number of years of service qualifying for pensioner benefits. In that view, it has been held that writ petitioners are entitled for pensionery benefits. The ground now urged doesnot fall within realm of review & it amounts to reconsideration of the matter which is not permissible. Therefore review petitions are liable to be dismissed. Accordingly the review petitions are dismissed.”
In view of the dismissal of Writ Appeal and the Review Petition, the order of the Hon’ble High Court quashing the clause No. 7 of the circular No.10191 dated 07/09/2010 attained finality to the extent of Vijaya Bank management and the entire resignees in the state of Karnataka.
Even with these spate of orders, Vijaya Bank management did not seem to have learnt any lesson and hence again filed a second SLP [No 20811 to 20832 of 2013] before the Honourable Supreme Court, which came to be heard on 06/12/2013 by Justice Patnaik and Justice Gopala Gowda and the Vijaya Bank’s SLP came to be dismissed in limine.
Unfortunately, Vijaya Bank management has restricted the pension benefit only to 22 resignee petitioners, stating that Bank has committed before the Court to give Pension to Petitioners in Contempt proceedings. The contempt proceedings obligates only a time frame for implementing the orders of the Court (in this case the judgment dated 18/04/2012 wherein clause No.7 of the circular dated 07/09/2010 which denied the pensioner benefits to the writ petitioners has been quashed).
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Some of the resignees out of the 22 petitioners had earlier filed a Contempt Petition before the Karnataka High Court for non implementation of the orders of High Court. The order in the contempt petition did not limit the benefits of clause No.7 of the circular dated 07/09/2010 only to 22 petitioners.
Since, clause No.7 of the circular dated 07/09/2010 which denied the pensioner benefits was addressed to all and as such the order of the Honourable High Court is applicable to all those who have been denied the pensioner benefit by referring the said circular. In short, the benefit of squashing the said circular MUST be extended to all Resignees, CRS and the Dismissed Employees.
Upon dismissal of the SLP of Vijaya Bank in the matter of M. Narsimahappa & others by the Honourable Supreme Court on 06/12/2013, the then Chairman of Vijaya Bank Mr. H S Kamat in the contempt petition surrendered before the Honourable High Court and gave an undertaking to the Honourable High Court that the Pension to 22 Resignees would be released soon and accordingly got the same approved from the Board on 28/12/2013. However, despite stiff resistance from the Officer and the Workman Director, for restricting the benefits only to the petitioner resignees, the facility was extended only to 22 resignees and now only they have started receiving pension with effect from January 2014.
In a Note placed before the Board of Directors on 28/12/2013, the Board was informed by the HR Department of Vijaya Bank management that there are 121 Resignees in the Bank who have completed 20 years of service and are eligible for Pension but restricts the Pension to 22 petitioner Resignees only.
It seems that the HR Department of Vijaya Bank, in order to harass the other old aged ladies and gentlemen suppressed the crucial information from the Board, which can be clearly observed from the following facts:-
1) One of the Resignees (besides 22 who had filed the WP) namely Mr. B S Manjunath had filed a separate WP bearing No.34625 of 2010 which too was came to be allowed by the same High Court on 11/07/2012 in which Vijaya Bank was directed to grant Pension within SIX weeks of the order. Vijaya Bank, if it so wanted, should have filed a Writ Appeal or Review against this order by November 2012, but preferred silence, as usual. [ Copy Enclosed]
2) Against the Order in WP No.34625 of 2010, the Vijaya Bank filed a review Petition No.203 of 2013 which was dismissed by the Honourable Single Judge on 05/12/2013. [ Copy enclosed] This development has happened just a day before the Honourable Supreme Court had dismissed the SLP of Vijaya Bank. The order of the Honourable Supreme Court states that “The petition (Review) hereby stands dismissed. Consequently the application for condonation of delay is also dismissed”.
Therefore it is very clear from the above developments that on 28/12/2013 the Vijaya Bank management was aware of the fact of dismissal of the review petition by the Honourable High Court and could have made reference of this fact in the Board Note referred above on 28/12/2013 and released the pension to this Petitioner also. Vijaya Bank authorities were fully aware of the fact that it cannot file any appeal against the Honourable single judge by way of SLP under Article 136 of the Constitution, since such an SLP is not maintainable against the order rejecting an application for review, in view of the provisions of Order XLVII, Rule 7 of the CPC. But the Bank’s HR department thought differently since they do not seem to have been taught about what it means to be ‘FAIR’ OR ‘JUDICIOUS’ OR ‘NON-DISCRIMINATORY’ OR ‘CONTEMPT OF COURT’ OR ‘REASONABLE’.
As a result of totally negative attitude of Vijaya Bank management towards the courts and the law, the concerned petitioner has filed a contempt petition [ CCP/392/2014] once again, against the CMD, Shri. V Kannan on 29/01/2014 and the notices thereto are served and it is understood that the proceedings are fixed for 18/02/2014. [Copy Enclosed]
The HR department of Vijaya Bank was fully aware of the provisions of law and the fact that they have to pay the pension to B S Manjunath, too but preferred to adopt one more delay dallying tactics in pursuit of denying the just and reasonable rights of the old ladies and men who have served the very same Bank for their entire life time.
As far as the arena of “Review Jurisdiction and SLP” is concerned, the advocate appearing on Behalf of M. Narasimahappa on 02/12/2013 in the Hon Supreme court had referred the judgment dated 03/10/2012 of J. Radhakrishnan & J Deepak Mishra in “Vinod Kapur Vs State of Goa” (CA 8643-8644 of 2003) and relevant para of the judgment referred above is as under:-
10. Moreover, on the High Court rejecting the application for review of the appellant, the order rejecting the application for review is not appealable by virtue of the principle in Order XLVII, Rule 7 of the CPC. In Shanker Motiram Nale v. Shiolalsing Gannusing Rajput; Suseel Finance & Leasing Co. v. M. Lata and Others and M.N. Haider and Others v. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and Others (supra) cited by the learned counsel for respondent No.8, this Court has consistently held that an appeal by way of Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution is not maintainable against the order rejecting an application for review in view of the provisions of Order XLVII, Rule 7 of the CPC.
It is not out of memory that on 06/12/2013, Ex- Chairman of Vijaya Bank, Mr. H S Kamat had to rush to the High Court of Karnataka as “ACCUSED” and had to give an emergency undertaking to the Hon High Court of Karnataka to release the pension to 22 resignees.
Now the turn is of Mr. V Kannan, the present CMD, who has already received a notice of Contempt from the Karnataka High Court and to decide whether to use his own wisdom or that of the IBA and face the wrath of contempt once again.
With all said and done, Vijay Bank management must note that “HISTORY REPEATS “if you do not learn lessons from the past.