We already published the official note of Govt.of India on pension to RRB employees.
We learnt that Govt. of India had advised NABARD to prepare a model pension scheme to RRB employees and officers in line with modalities framed by Govt.of India.
NABARD had some legal views on the modalities and advised the same to Govt of India on 30.7.2012.
Govt of India prepared a official note on the views submitted by NABARD for further action.
The whole correspondence came to light with the help of RTI Act. We publish them here.
AIRRBEA is watching the process very closely. Recently, Rajasthan High court rejects the appeal of Govt.of India and gives its verdict to maintain parity. AIRRBEA has its observations on the whole process. We also reproduce the same here.
Letter of Govt. Of India to NABARD
Views of Law Dept, NABARD
Office Note of Govt.of India on legal views of NABARD
Observations of AIRRBEA
Sub:- RRB Pension Scheme
NABARD’s legal view to GOI
“Necessary exemption/permission may have to be obtained from EPF Authorities, Settlement of EPF accounts has also to be made and eventually transferred to RRBs”.
“If new scheme is to be introduced, relevant provisions in RRB (Officers and Employees) Service regulation, 2010 has also to be amended. Pension Regulation may have to be framed on the lines of Nationalized Banks under Section 30 of the RRBs Act, 1976”.
“As regards relevance of financial position of Regional Rural Banks for introduction of pension scheme, it is relevant to mention that Supreme Court in its Judgment in South Malabar Gramin Bank v. Co- Ordination Committee of South Malabar Gramin Bank Employees Union and South Malabar Gramin Bank Officer’s Federation and other, AIR 2001 Supreme Court 1028 has held that “capacity to pay” is not relevant in the matter of deciding pay parity in the RRBs. The aforesaid ruling is given by the Supreme Court in respect of implementation of NIT Award and parity of pay and allowances of RRBs employees with their Sponsor Bank”.
“Now the question for our consideration is whether this ruling will also be applicable in case of introduction of pension scheme in RRBs depending upon their financial viability? At present, there is no specific decision of Supreme Court on this point. Hence the applicability of aforesaid ruling yet to be seen as and when raised in the court”.
NABARD’s comment on its forwarding letter to GOI
“It may be observed from the comments of our Law Department that the legal opinion on introduction of pension scheme in RRB on selective basis depending on the financial position of each RRB goes against the law as pronounced in earlier cases related to pay structure etc. and therefore it may invite litigation”.
“In view of the foregoing, GOI may advise whether to go ahead with preparation of model pension scheme and model pension regulation for RRBs as per the guidelines issued by GOI which may not stand in the court of Law and open a plethora of litigations”.
Understanding of the GOI:-
“The NABARD law dept. has also clarified that aforesaid ruling is given by the Supreme Court in respect of parity of pay and allowances of RRBs employees with their Sponsor banks. At present there is no specific decision of Supreme Court regarding applicability of this ruling in case of introduction of pension scheme in RRBs. depending upon their financial viability Applicability of said ruling is yet to be seen as and when raised in the court. However, parity in pay and allowances amongst the employees of RRBs is maintained. If pension is introduced in selective RRBs depending upon their financial viability, litigation on this point cannot be ruled out”.
Rajasthan High Court Division Bench’s firm opinion on 23rd August, 2012
“In our view, the conclusion as arrived at in the aforesaid order dated 22 03.2011 by the learned Single Judge of the Hon'bie Karnataka High Court, as relied upon by the learned Single Judge of this Court, is perfectly in -accord with law, When as per the dictum of the Hon'bie Supreme Court, the appellant, while deciding on the pay structure of the employees of the RRBs is under obligation to maintain reasonable parity with the pay structure of the employees of the Nationalized Commercial Banks in manner and effect, there appears no reason as to why the same principles would not apply to the matter of pensionary benefits too. Rather, maintaining of such parity in regard to the pensionary benefits appears necessary as an integral part of the overall structure relating to the pay, allowances and other benefits”.
Dilip Kumar Mukherjee
Secretary General, AIRRBEA