Belong as he does to the galaxy of experts on pension issues, H.Ganapathy has been good enough to contribute his thoughts on several intricacies obtaining on pension matters in State Bank of India by way of his elaborate comment in this blog. In fact my requisition to elicit his views on the subject was pending for a long time. Pension issue in State Bank of India is not the one that could be tackled by an enthusiast or two, it warrants several stalwarts in the field powerfully heralding necessary message to drum the requisite awareness into the ears of otherwise deaf ears of the authorities that be. I am sincerely thankful to H. Ganapathy to have come forward to skilfully jump into the fray for a cause that is noble. His detailed comment is reproduced for the benefit of the valued readers in general and the retiree pensioners in particular:
- H. Ganapathy commented on A cursory look on Pension in State Bank of India !
The reason for not appearing in this blog is that what you express in this blog requires any clarification or elaboration by anyone. In fact, you give meaningful analysis on our pension issues and the same need not be supplemented or countered. However, as far as our pension issue is concerned, I had an opportunity to attend the Structured Meeting at Corporate Center level on 22nd January wherein Dy. MD announced suo moto in his opening remarks that focus is being given by them for removing the anomalies caused in the payment of pension to 5th to 8th BP retirees. While he made a mention about the anomaly pertaining to 8th BP retirees, he specifically pointed out the period also i.e. between 1st Nov. 2002 and 30th April 2005. This indicates that the top officials are thorough with all anomalies. He said that efforts are NOW being taken in all seriousness by giving a focus to address these issues. He added that such renewed efforts are also being heard patiently by the officials of the Finance Ministry during the meeting held with them, just a day before the Structured Meeting. He did not hesitate to make a passing remark that there is no justification in not clearing the above anomalies, yet the General Secretary presented the case of 7th BP retirees’ pathetic plight in his response and at his concluding speech. The DGM (HR) also asked the Federation to believe that the Bank is sincere and on the part of GOI, the officials are also receptive to these issues. I gained an impression from the addresses made by Dy. MD, CGM(HR), and DGM(HR) that something may emerge positively in the near future which means according my perception only after signing of the 10th BP wage settlement. I also understand that two communications have been addressed by the Bank on this to GOI and also one letter as regards 100% Neutralisation of DA to pre – 01.11.2002 retirees. I think we’ll have to wait until the time when the 10th BP settlement is signed. Let us hope for the better.
As requested by Shri. Neelkant and you, for the benefit of readers in this blog, I give below the extracts of the Judgement delivered by the DB of MHC.
"10. In the case on hand, the petitioner, on being confirmed, was admitted to Provident Fund from 23.8.1987, vide communication dated 02.09.1987. However, no document has been produced to indicate as to from which date the petitioner became the member of the employees pension fund. A request of the writ petitioner for grant of pension was rejected on the ground that the writ petitioner has not completed 20 years pensionable service, after having attained the age of 55 years, as quoted in the impugned communication dated 07.06.2008. In the said communication, it is observed that under Rule 7, an employee became a member of the pension fund only from the date from which he was confirmed in the service of the bank.
11. Upon perusal of the aforesaid provisions, as quoted by the authorities in the impugned communication, dated 07.06.2008, it is evident that an employee is entitled to pension only on having become a member of the pension fund. It is also crystal clear that an employee cannot be a member of the pension fund, who is not confirmed on the post. However, Rule 22(i) of the SBI Rules, which has been referred to in the communication dated 07.06.2008 prescribed 20 years pensionable service. At the first instance, it does not prescribe 20 years as member of pension fund. Thus, we have to read and understand both expressions in its proper context.
12. There is no dispute that the writ petitioner was appointed on 23.02.1987 on probation for a period of six months. Immediately on completion of probation, he was confirmed on the post. Thus, his seniority in the service starts from the date of initial appointment as held by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Direct Recruit Class II Engineering Officers’ Association Vs State Of Maharashtra [(1990 )2 SCC 715], which dealt with the case, wherein the petitioner was appointed initially on temporary basis in accordance with the rules and thereafter, he was confirmed on probation and it reads as under:
’47. To sum up, we hold that:
(A) Once an incumbent is appointed to a post according to rule, his seniority has to be counted from the date of his appointment and not according to the date of his confirmation.
The corollary of the above rule is that where the initial appointment is only adhoc and not according to rules and made as a stop-gap arrangement, the officiation in such post cannot be taken into account for considering the seniority.
The essence of direction in Clause (A) is that the seniority of an appointee has to be counted from the date of his appointment and not according to the date of his confirmation once a recruit is appointed to a post according to rules………………………………………………………………………………………………….
14. Thus, pensionable service of the petitioner is to be reckoned from the date of his initial appointment on 23.02.1087. Computing the period from that day, the writ petitioner had completed more than 20 years pensionable service as required under Rule 22(i) of the SBI Rules, as on the day his request for Exit Option was accepted, i.e. on 15.06.2007.
15. For the reasons stated herein above, we are unable to agree with the view taken by the learned Single Judge that the writ petitioner had not completed 20 years of pensionable service, as required under the provisions of Law. The impugned order of the learned Single Judge is, accordingly, set aside. The writ appeal is allowed. The writ petitioner/ appellant shall be entitled to consequential benefits, payable within a period of three months from the date of receipt of copy of this order. No order to costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed."