Monday, August 19, 2013

Right to receive pension is treated as right to property, says SC

In the absence of any provision in the pension rules, a State government cannot withhold a part of pension and/or gratuity during the pendency of departmental/criminal proceedings, the Supreme Court has held.
Giving this ruling, a Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.S. Sikri said: “It is an accepted position that gratuity and pension are not bounties. An employee earns these benefits by dint of his long, continuous, faithful and unblemished service. Right to receive pension was treated as right to property.”
Writing the judgment, Justice Sikri said: “According to Article 300 A of the Constitution, no person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law. A person cannot be deprived of his pension without the authority of law. It follows that the attempt of the appellant [in this case the Jharkhand government] to take away a part of pension or gratuity or even leave encashment without any statutory provision and under the umbrage of administrative instruction cannot be countenanced.”
Referring to the contention that executive instructions had been issued by the appellant government, the Bench said: “It hardly needs to be emphasised that the executive instructions do not have statutory character and, therefore, cannot be termed as ‘law’ within the meaning of Article 300A of the Constitution. On the basis of such a circular, which is not having force of law, the appellant cannot withhold — even a part of pension or gratuity. So far as statutory rules are concerned, there is no provision for withholding pension or gratuity in the given situation. Had there been any such provision in these rules, the position would have been different.”
In the instant case, respondent Jitendra Kumar Srivastava was sanctioned 90 per cent provisional pension pending an enquiry. The remaining 10 per cent of his pension and salary was withheld. He was also not paid leave encashment and gratuity. The Jharkhand High Court directed the State government to release the withheld pension and salary and other benefits. The present appeals are directed against this judgment.
The Bench said: “We find there is no merit in the instant appeals as the impugned order of the High Court is without blemish. Accordingly, these appeals are dismissed with Rs. 10,000 costs each.”

Minutes of the Meeting with PJCA Members held on 02/08/2013 under the chairmanship of Member (P) to discuss one of the issues viz., postmen committee recommendations.

                 After deliberations following agreements were arrived at:-

Sl. No.
Agenda Item
Decisions taken
Postmen Committee Recommendation not Implemented
Extraction of data entry work from Postman:Suitable instructions / Orders to all the Circles are to be issued by 30/04/2012; nothing has been done so far.  An early issue of orders is required to implement them.
Heads of Circles have been requested to impart training to the postmen who are unable to perform data entry work on computers.  It has been agreed to accord time factor for data entry work using same norms presently used for calculating work- load of Postal Assistant, in case work is being done by postman.
Revision of postmen norms: Postmen norms issued by the Department are very old.  The decision taken in the committee are not convincing.  As such it is suggested that formation of fresh Internal Work Study Unit with one / two staff side members to review all work performed by postmen staff with door to door measurement of beats was requested.  Internal Work Study Unit for this job is to be ordered by the Directorate as the same does not come under the jurisdiction of the Committee.
The norms were formulated after intensive scientific work study by the IWSU of the Department in 2008.  Since five years have already  elapsed, a study by departmental officials or by a third party may be conducted to review the postmen’s norms keeping in view that IWS Unit no longer exists.
Change in procedure for payment of Speed Post delivery incentive: At present the procedure for payment of incentive is very lengthy.  Nobody prepares bills.  In case the bills are prepared they remain under verification of PRI/SDI/ASP then go to sanction to the Divisional Head.  After sanction of bills from Divisional Head to DDOs for payment.   Then bills are to be prepared DDOs for payment office wise.  It is suggested that module for payment of Speed Post Incentive in the computer software be installed and give powers of payment to the concerned postmaster on weekly/ monthly.  After payment the concerned vouchers be sent to the DDOs for accounting purpose.
The software for generation of Postman incentive bills is being developed by the CSI partner under the IT Project. Meanwhile it has been decided to issue instructions to all circles that incentive bills may be cleared on monthly basis till the software is developed.
Combination of beat:  It was decided in the above meeting that limit of combination of beat in the post office having 4+ strength will be removed since it adversely affects the delivery efficiency.  But orders on this item are yet to be issued by the Directorate.  This needs to be done at the earliest.
Staff side was informed that orders have already been issued in this regard.  A photocopy of the order No.10-7/2001-P.E.II dated 02/09/2006 is enclosed for needful.
Delivery of Heavy parcels and EPP articles: It was pointed out by the staff side that Postman faces difficulty in delivery of registered parcels weighing more than 5 Kgs each and EPP articles of which the maximum weight of 35 Kgms., per articles has been fixed.  It was highlighted that either some reasonable rate and mode of conveyance for delivery EPP articles should be fixed or the rates of coolie charges fixed in the past should be revised for efficient delivery of the registered parcel.  It was decided that the Directorate will consider reiterating the instructions on coolie charges to all the Circles so that the delivery of heavy parcels is not adversely affected.  Whether coolie charges pertaining to heavy parcels have been enhances due to high prices.  As regards EPP parcels, whether mode of conveyance with rate of each mode have been decided by the Directorate.
Staff side was informed that New Parcel Division is examining this issue.  The proposal to revise the coolie charges will also be examined by the Parcel Division.
Corrigendum on density of population:  The staff side drew attention of the committee to the note of Sl.8 in the Directorate letter No.9-1/2005-WSI/PE.I dated 05/02/2010 which stipulates that area having a density of population 2500 per Sq. KM may be taken as congested area “and pointed out that the same has incorrectly been printed as it should refer to 2500 per sq. Mile instead of 2500 per sq. kilometer.  They quoted a clarification received from PTC, Mytore which has cited Directorate letter dated 19/02/1976 indicating establishment norms for Postmen and defining congested area or having a density of population of 2500 sq. per Mile.  After discussion it was agreed that Directorate would examine and issue suitable amendment / corrigendum to the Note 8 of the revised norms of postmen establishment.
The staff side was informed that there  is no typographical error.  The definition of the congested area as 2500 per square kms. is correct.  
Creating of justified additional posts:  In this connection while implementing the system for delivery work and allowing postmen to write correct remarks for non-delivery.  The staff side drew attention to item No. 25 minutes of the last JCM meeting issued on 01/03/2012 wherein it is mentioned that the issue is under examination by the Postman Committee being chaired by CGM (PLI).  After discussion, the view emerged that this item is not part of Committee’s mandate and the issue pertains to creation / re-deployment of Posts which is basically a policy issue.  However, the staff side mentioned that Postmen were not able to write correct remarks for non-delivery of article due to heavy work in the project Arrow Offices, it was, therefore, decided that the experience gathered after implementation of Project Arrow in various Post Offices could be examined.  Result on examination has not been communicated so far in this regard.
Circles have been requested to review the Post Office Establishments.  On receipt of reports from all the Circles, the justification, if any, of the additional posts will be examined in consultation with Ministry of Finance.
Cadre Restructuring of Postman an MTS: The first and foremost issue on which a bias against the Postman is clearly visible is that of cadre restructuring for this cadre.  The Department through conceded to form a Cadre Restructuring Committee during the strike negotiations with the Postal Joint Council of Action had issued orders omitting the cadre of Postman and MTS from the ambit of cadre restructuring.  This shows the mind-set of the Department on the important issue of cadre restructuring of Postman and MTS cadre.  The stand of the Postal Directorate was against the direction of the Official Side in the National Anomaly Committee that every department shall go into the issue of cadre restructuring for boosting the promotional avenues of employees rather than depending too much on the MACP Scheme for that purpose.  It is a known fact that the cadres of Postman and MTS have no in-situ promotion in their cadre except the promotion to the cadre of Postal Assistant through a competitive examination.  Every other cadre other than the cadres of Postman and MTS have their own hierarchical promotions in their own cadre and this discrimination cannot be ended without a proper cadre restructuring in place for the Postman and MTS cadre.  Even the flimsy promotion for the cadre of Postman earlier to the introduction of TBOP / BCR like Head Postman, sorting Postman etc., have disappeared from the scene and as on date no promotion in the cadre is available to both these cadres.  Unfortunately, the Department of Posts not only  not in a position to appreciate our contention as well as the proposal for cadre restructuring based on percentage basis as available to all cadres in the Department of Railways but no inclined to consider any cadre restructuring proposal to these cadres.  The absence of any promotion to them in their own cadre leaves them total frustrated and takes away any incentive to perform better to the services.  This has to be properly appreciated and attended to by the Postal Directorate in the absence of Cadre Restructuring Committee failed to find out any alternate proposals to ‘our proposal based on percentage.’
Cadre Restructuring Committee headed by the then DDG (P), Shri Salim Haque had been given this mandate and issue will be decided after finalization of the Committee report.
3. (A)
Door to Door Scientific Measurement of Beats: (A) – At present the door to door beat measurement system adopted by the department is not only unsatisfactory but also incorrect one as neither scientific device like foot meter nor cyclo meter is used to assess the actual length of beat.  The measurement of beats is generally done while sitting on the table by guess work only.  Moreover the workload of mail delivery and number of houses to be visited during duty of eight hours has no where been laid down causing extreme  harassment to postmen  staff.  It is demanded that the number of houses to be visited and number of articles to be delivered should be laid down in the interest of delivery efficiency and rationalization of workload of postmen staff as well.

The Directorate ordered for rationalizing of Postman beats after hearing our complaints that Postman beats are constructed unscientifically with long distances humanly impossible to cover on a day.  Many examples like more than 70 kilometers beats were brought to the notice of the Postman Committee to substantiate our complaints.  Based on the discussions the Directorate agreed to issue orders for measuring the beats and rationalizing them appropriately.  Unfortunately the CHQs of our Unions are receiving complaints from our Circles that re-measuring of beats is being done most unscientifically without using either the cyclo-meters or foot-meters but applying their imaginary calculations.  This has complicated the problem more and there is wide spread resentment among the Postman staff.  Both our unions urge upon you to issue strict instructions to measure all Postman beats only by using cyclo-meters or foot-meters for the purpose of rationalizing the beats.
Same as 1 (b) above.
To fix the meeting of Committee for Modification in Order No. 31-38/79-PE-I dt. 22-5-1979:- The Committee Constituted for examination of Modification in Departmental Order No. 31-38/79-PE-I dt. 23-5-1979 in R/O footwork of the Postman from door to door walk in R/O Item DO 4 of Periodical Meeting held on 29-11-2012 and Departmental Council Meeting on 28-12-2012.
As in 1 (b) above.
4. (A)

Revision of Syllabus to Departmental Examinations

Request to conduct special examination for recruitment to the Postman & MTS cadres for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 : To avoid recurring vacancies due to leaving of qualified employees of high standard in the background of submission made above, it is requested that –
1. To fill up the vacancies for the years 2009 to 2013 in the Postman and MTS cadre aspecial examination only for GDS/MTS employees may be conducted.
2. The question paper may be set on the basis of practical and relevant work routinely done by the regular MTS and Postman employees.
3. The work of setting question paper may be got done by a promotee officerwho is having practical knowledge of the nature of work being done by the MTS and Postman employees.
A committee has been constituted under chairmanship of DDG (R&P) to examine the contents of question papers set by various circles with reference to syllabus prescribed and submit a detailed report. 

Filling up vacant posts with Residual vacancies:- All vacant post of Postmen & Group D/MTS should be filled in within 30th June 2013 as directed by Directorate. There is no chance to fill up vacant posts in due time as no notification has been issued in many circles like A.P. and Assam Circle etc.
Necessary action has been initiated in circles.  It was decided that the orders to fill up the vacant posts will be reiterated to the circles.
Improving the Quality of Uniforms and timely supply of all kit items:-The Postman and MTS are called the uniformed staff in the Department of Posts. Unfortunately these cadres who are actually moving among the members of public pose a poor picture to the image of the Department because of the inferior quality of the uniform cloth. Despite the agreement with the All India Unions by the Department that facilitated inclusion of staff side member from the Unions in the purchase committee of uniform cloth to ensure purchase of better quality of cloth,, the problem persists. This cannot be sorted out unless the cost price permitted by the DOPT is enhanced on the face of escalating prices of all commodities including the textiles. The cost price permitted by the DOPT cannot ensure better quality uniform cloth from the market. Added to this are the violations here and there in Circles where the Administration is not sincerely ensuring inclusion of staff side members in the purchase committee and no protection against ensuring supply of the selected quality of cloth only to the staff. These have to be addressed immediately.
This item will be discussed in the JCM Standing Committee meeting to be held on 23/08/2013.
Stop Unscientific Measurement of Postmen Beats:
The Directorate ordered for rationalizing of Postman beats after hearing our complaints that Postman beats are constructed unscientifically with long distances humanly impossible to cover on a day. Many examples like more than 70 Kilometres beats were brought to the notice of the Postman Committee to substantiate our complaints. Based on the discussions the Directorate agreed to issue orders for measuring the beats and rationalizing them appropriately. Unfortunately the CHQs of our Unions are receiving complaints from our Circles that re-measuring of beats is being done most unscientifically without using either the cyclo-meters or foot-meters but applying their imaginary calculations. This has complicated the problem more and there is widespread resentment among the Postman staff. Both our Unions urge upon you to issue strict instructions to measure all Postman beats only by using cyclo-meters or foot-meters for the purpose of rationalizing the beats.
Same as 1 (b) above.
Cycle Maintenance Allowance to MTS:-The Cycle Maintenance Allowance is paid to all Postman staff without any conditions whereas the MTS Staff who are engaged in letter box clearing or other outside office work  excluded from the ambit of CMA. This is unjustified. The MTS Staff also are to be paid CMA without any conditions as like Postman staff. Both our Unions urge upon you to issue necessary orders to pay CMA to all MTS without any conditions.
The Postman’s duty involves daily visit to deliver  letters in his beat and hence if he is using cycle the allowance is admissible.  Since different persons, depending on availability of persons, are used for letter box clearances, the allowance cannot be given to any specific official.  Further, in many Post Offices one or two bicycles are generally kept.  That can be used for clearing Letter Boxes. The proposal that MTS staff be paid CMA without any condition like Postman staff is thus not acceptable.
Revision of Fixed Monetary Compensation (FMC):-This has reference to your office  letter No 10-7/2003.P.E.II dated 24th Nov 2010 whereinexisting rate on revision has been enhanced for each category except Multi Tasking staff whose rate of remuneration has been reduced @ Rs 60/- per holiday for 4 hours whereas MTS staff was getting  @ Rs63.45 per holiday for 3 hrs on hourly basis @ Rs 21.15 per hour. Protracted correspondence made proved in fructuous. This need to be reviewed for proper justice to the MTS staff.
The staff side was informed that the matter is under examination in consultation with IFW.
Abolition of Nodal Delivery Centers at all metro cities:-All Nodal delivery centers should be abolished throughout the Country immediately to avoid complication in day-to-day delivery system. (Example–West Bengal Circle, Karnataka Circle, Bangalore, Maharashtra Circle Mumbai GPO).
The staff side was asked to furnish the specific cases with details of the complications due to creation of Nodal Delivery Centres.  Department’s view is that Nodal Delivery is functioning smoothly in such centres.
To Stop harassment:-The postman staff being tortured for 100% delivery and in various cases by asking them to work beyond duty hours and many other ways harassment is there it must be stopped.
Staff side was asked to furnish specific cases so that this could be taken up with respective circles.
Promotional posts of Postmen Cadre: The posts of Mail Overseer, Cash Overseer, Head Postman and Sorting Postman should be considered as promotional posts for Postmen cadre and an additional increment or some allowance should be granted for performance duties on such posts. Seniority criteria of postmen should be taken in view while deploying on these posts.
This item will be discussed in a meeting decided to be held under the chairmanship                                             of Member (P).
(ARun Malik)
Director (SR & Legal)