This is a prime example of how certain things can only happen in a government undertaking.
The Department of Posts is prepared to spend thousands of rupees on expensive litigation in the High Court to prevent a 75-year-old pensioner from getting an additional benefit of Rs 2 as part of his pension.
A former employee of the Department of Posts, Vinayak Wasudeo Mohril, won the raise through a litigation and will now have to fight to keep it.
Mohril retired after putting in 37 years on October 31, 1989. He was awarded a pension of Rs 1,720 per month worked out on a basic pay of Rs 856 a month. The same was revised to Rs 2,606 from January 1, 1996 as per the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations.
Mohril found a discrepancy in his pension calculations and made several representations to the authorities. The matter later reached the Central Administrative Tribunal where his contention was upheld and the postal department was directed to revise the pension on November 12, 2003.
The revision came to an increase of a mere Rs 2 per month from Rs 2,606 to Rs 2,608. Mohril had won a war of principles and was satisfied.
He opted for the commutation of 50 per cent of the increase and received Rs 125. The pension was then fixed at Rs 2,607, an increase of Re 1 over the old pension. A similar amount will be added to the pension after 15 years. Mohril will turn 90 then.
An aggrieved Department of Posts has knocked the doors of the High Court against this 'grave injustice' through a writ petition (No. 2214/2004) seeking the reversal of the CAT ruling. The High Court, while admitting the petition on March 21, 2005, declined to stay the CAT order and the petition is now pending for final hearing.
The central government pays Rs 2,250 to its counsel for drafting a petition and Rs 750 per hearing. Other expenses like typing, filing and other expenses are separate. This does not include the loss of precious judicial time and harassment caused to a senior citizen.
Legal experts are amused at the manner in which the Department of Posts is fighting the case. It is not that the CAT ruling would set some precedent that could be applicable to other cases.