Minutes of TSEWA Core Committee Meeting held on 26 December 2018 at 143 Vayupuri, Secunderabad
The following attended:
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Retd) President In Chair
Cmde Sudheer Parakala (Retd) Vice – President
Col (Dr) GB Sethi (Retd) General Secretary
Lt Col G Parvatesham (Retd) Treasurer
Hony Capt B Joseph (Retd) Joint Secretary
Col MJ Ganapathy (Retd) Member
Col N Sitaramaiah (Retd) Member
Hony Capt MN Reddy (Retd) President, TSEWA, Telangana
The President welcomed all present and said that some members have communicated their inability to attend the meeting due to pre-occupation with personal commitments. He stressed that Core Committee have contributed a lot for fast growth of TSEWA in such a short time. Therefore, attendance of weekly Core Committee meetings be accorded highest priority. The engagements need to be adjusted so that at least two hours on Wednesday be spared for TSEWA. Thereafter, he requested the General Secretary commence the proceedings with his points.
Points from General Secretary
Arrears of Broad Banding: He informed of late a number of mails are received from petitioners of broad banding case filed by TSEWA (BB – 1 & BB – 2) asking why they were not paid arrears from their date of retirement. He quoted Col Raghbir Singh, President, TSEWA, Punjab informed some ESMs of Punjab are reluctant to join legal cases of TSEWA as arrears they are likely to get is only for a period of three years from date of filing case in AFT.
The President intervened to inform that the various AFTs in the past have been giving different types of judgments on broad banding and period of arrears viz date of retirement or three years from date of filing case in AFT. Hon’ble Supreme Court has been stressing that petitioners should approach courts of law within a reasonable time period. Therefore, the principle of latches apply if petitioners approach courts of law after considerable lapse of time.
The President informed that Chairman of AFTs and two members of AFT Delhi in their recent judgment ruled that AFTs should give judgment for arrears from date of retirement in case the petitioner approaches the AFT within a period of three years. If the petitioner approaches after three years then the principle of latches should be applied and arrears should be restricted to three years from date of filing the case in AFT.
The President summarised and stated it is incorrect on anyone’s part to say that they got lesser arrears of broad banding. The arrears are paid only as per the judgment of AFT. Some AFTs in the past gave judgment for payment of arrears from date of retirement in case the pensioner retired after Jan 1996 or from Jan 1996 in case he retired prior to Jan 1996 as the Broad Banding was introduced w.e.f. Jan 1996. It does not mean that just because AFT Delhi gave judgment in respect of not only for petitioners of TSEWA but many of other petitioners restricting arrears of broad banding for a period of three years from date of filing case in AFT, that is the ruling on the subject. It is therefore reiterated the judgment of AFT is based on when did the petitioner approached courts of law.
Special Family Pension to Family Pensioners whose Husbands Died in Harness: The General Secretary expressed his anguish that the Special Family Pension case for family pensioners whose husbands died in harness is not progressing at all. He also informed we have 67 such family pensioners in this case and most of them are calling and asking Lt Col MPS Bhatia, case coordinator as to why the case is not being filed in AFT Delhi.
Immediately, the President spoke on phone with Brig SKS Rana, VSM (Retd), President, Legal Div and requested him the reasons for the delay. He gave the progress of the case as under:-
(a) Our advocate in AFT Delhi filed the case for grant of Special Family Pension to wives of soldiers who died in harness. The Registrar of AFT Delhi after consulting the members of court in Principle bench informed that the death of soldiers occurs under different circumstances. Therefore, the case cannot be classified as Class Action Suit. The case therefore needs to filed as an individual case.
(b) Later AFT Delhi informed our advocate that only persons who have address temporary or permanent of Delhi only can approach AFT Delhi as they appear to have been flooded with cases. This indicates this case needs to be filed in regional AFTs. However, the advocate has been requested to inform AFT Delhi that the cause of action is with Min of Def and therefore all petitioners from anywhere in India should be permitted to approach AFT Delhi. But there is no guarantee that AFT Delhi will agree to plea of our advocate. It is better the petitioners forward addresses of their relatives or friends in Delhi NCR.
(c) In order to cut down any more delays, our advocate has completed individual petitions of five family pensioners whose address is Delhi NCR. Their cases will be filed on individual basis after AFT Delhi re-assembles on completion of winter holidays. In all probability, case of five petitioners whose address is of Delhi will be filed in third week of Jan 2019.
(d) Our advocate in AFT Delhi has also sent the petition of family pensioner from Madhya Pradesh to his advocate friend who practices in AFT Lucknow. This case is likely to be filed very soon. Similarly petition of one family pensioner with address of Chandigarh has been sent to an advocate friend in AFT Chandigarh.
(e) Brig SKS Rana, VSM informed Lt Col MPS Bhatia through mail to inform the balance petitioners (62 in number) to get address of Delhi. Their cases will be filed as soon our advocate gets their addresses.
After hearing the action taken by our advocate in AFT Delhi, the Core Committee decided to adopt the following action for all legal cases:-
(a) TSEWA in future should activate all regional benches of AFT.
(b) The family pensioner who are petitioners in this case to be informed to get address of either of their relatives or friends in Delhi. The President will inform them through e-mail and SMS to send the address of Delhi to HQ TSEWA. As soon as we start getting addresses of Delhi, the same will be forwarded to Brig SKS Rana, VSM (Retd). Then their cases will be filed in AFT Delhi. TSEWA should not wait for all 62 petitioners to send their address now that the cases are being filed on individual basis. The mail / SMS from the President to the family pensioners to send their Delhi address to HQ TSEWA should be done only after our advocate files first application for grant of Special Family Pension in third week of Jan 2019.
(c) General Secretary and Col N Sitaramaiah (Retd) suggested that the President should inform our Presidents in the States and his friends or course-mates in locations of regional benches of AFT to locate good advocates to take up our case.
(e) The President informed that due to persistence of General Secretary to activate regional AFTs , he identified advocates in seven out of eight regional benches (except AFT Guwahati). Cmde Sudheer Parakala (Retd), Vice President and the President visited Jaipur on 25 Nov 2018 and met Col Satya Bhan Singh (Retd), advocate in AFT Jaipur and handed over two cases to be filed in AFT Jaipur. As on date AFT Jaipur does not have even one member. Contact persons in these locations of AFT regional benches to pursue our cases with advocates is also being done. However it is essential for one Office bearer from HQ TSEWA to meet the advocate in the regional. Benches in the presence of our contact person to finalise the terms and conditions for the legal case.
(f) The President also spoke to Lt Col PN Krishnan (Retd) of Chennai and Brig Suresh Nair (Retd) of Kochi who are dedicated to cause of ESMs to identify few more advocates in AFT Chennai and AFT Kochi respectively He also spoke to Maj Gen SN Mukherjee, President, TSEWA, Kolkata metro to identify suitable advocates in AFT Kolkata. The general officer explained that with help of Cdr Satyajit Roy (Retd), they are in touch with few advocates based on their track record to work for TSEWA. The general officer confirmed that by middle of Jan 2019, he will be able to finalise few good advocates in AFT Kolkata to take up cases of members of TSEWA hailing from States of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand & Bihar.
(g) Cdr Chandra Shekhar (Retd) member of Core Committee informed that he met Col YR Sharma (Retd) advocate practicing in AFT Lucknow and handed over legal cases of TSEWA. He spent almost two hours explaining the cases. He assured that cases will definitely be filed after the AFT Lucknow re-assembles on termination of winter holidays.
Action: President of TSEWA in all States & Metro; President, TSEWA; Gp Capt CRR Sastry (Retd); Petitioners in AFT case
Article entitled “Smart Card Imbroglio – Woes of ECHS Beneficiaries” by Gp Capt CRR Sastry (Retd), Joint General Secretary, TSEWA: The General Secretary informed that Gp Capt CRR Sastry (Retd) wrote an article on the above subject. He brought out compelling reasons as to why ECHS should not insist on frequent upgradation of smart cards for the members. He covered legal aspects involved in this case. The Min olf Def and MD ECHS are not bothered about the objections raised by C & AG on collection of fees for smart card. He complimented Gp Capt CRR Sastry (Retd) for this excellent effort. He suggested various issues raised by Gp Capt CRR Sastry in his article be sent to Brig SKS Rana, VSM (Retd), President, Legal Div, TSEWA to include in our legal brief when TSEWA files the case in Hon’ble Delhi High Court as per advice given by Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Action: Gp Capt CRR Sastry (Retd), Brig SKS Rana, VSM (Retd)
There being no further points, the meeting was closed at 1100 hrs.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Retd)