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DU PENSION IMBROGLIO

V P Jain
While the court case has given relief to hundreds of teachers, it has robbed thousands of both
retired and in service teachers of their pension. Some teachers, I believe have already filed an
appeal against the judgement. The court case has divided teachers into categories, who are
busy locating their co-ordinates in what has been dubbed as legal fiction by the court. The
substantive issue has been framed by the honble High Court. The two pension schemes viz.
the CPF and GPF have become vastly asymmetrical due to the spin given by the govt. by
changing the rules of the game, and to lock any option as a trap is against the cardinal
principal of equity and social justice. Since, the schemes have become volatile, we should
demand that teachers be the given the right to choose their option at the time of retirement.
The remedy, thus lies with the UGC and the MHRD as suggested by the Hon'ble judge of the
High Court.


PENSION BLUES
The court has taken the view that the cut- off date of Sep. 30
th
, 1987 is sacrosanct for shifting
from CPF to GPF. On the basis of this date three categories have been formed.
This period coincided with the month long all India teacher strike at the instance of IFUCTO,
and in DU it continued much longer.
Consequently, the circular for the conversion from CPF to GPF was circulated in a very
haphazard manner, and in many colleges, it reached the teachers only after the cut-off date.
That was the logic of extending the date.
While, some teachers opted for GPF, most of the teachers preferred to continue with the CPF
scheme as is evident from the follow up action of withdrawing the govt.s contribution
(along with the interest) and assigning a GPF number to a small number teachers who had
opted for GPF. In most other cases, the status quo remained.
Since, the shift to the GPF scheme was a fate accompli unless a teacher wilfully stated his/her
preference to continue with the CPF scheme, the court decision rests solely on the record in
this respect. The inability of the college/university not able to furnish the same treated as
tantamount to opting for GPF as legal fiction.
Both the CPF and GPF are termed as pension schemes, namely lump sum and monthly
pension schemes. The unfortunate part of the story is that teachers were taken for a ride. In
1987, the CPF was considered a preferred choice. The fifth pay committee report, however,
changed the rules of the game by allowing GPF pensioners to commute pension which
allowed them best of both the schemes, viz. monthly payment as well as a sizable lump sum
amount. In all fairness, since the govt. changed the rules in favour of GPF, the teachers
should have been given another chance to exercise their choice. Not doing so is against the
basic principal of equity and social justice.*
In case of teachers who had opted for GPF in 1998-99 as per the Executive council decision,
DU/UGC completed all the formalities of switching over from CPF to GPF, e.g. Govt. taking
back its contribution (mind you in the year 1998-99: how hollow the claim of the UGC is that
they were oblivious of DU offer) with interest and allotting GPF NO. Significantly, the UGC
has been paying pension to these retired teachers till date, in some cases for as long as twenty
years. The UGC has, thus given post-facto approval to this conversion. The court has
refrained from giving any judgement on this category of teachers on the plea that these cases
were not listed before him. These teachers were not represented in the court by any council
since they were not party to the case. Then why this ex-party judgement without a hearing?
Since the court has observed that is not permissible to switch from GPF to CPF under any
circumstances, how would the university or for that matter the UGC enact such a bizarre fete
in case of these teachers who had been shifted to GPF between 1990 and 1998-99, simply by
terming it as illegal, as an after- thought, to save their skin. It is an irreversible process: the
UGC cannot reverse the arrow of time, howsoever mighty it may be.

To make such a far reaching decision solely on the basis of the original document submitted
by teachers to continue to be governed by the CPF in 1987, is to say the least, unfair. Not
every college maintains records meticulously, and it would be penalising teachers of those
colleges who do. In every college, some teachers opted for `GPF by not filling the forms and
were taken off the CPF scheme. But in other cases, the teachers who continued to be
governed by the CPF scheme, to insinuate that this necessarily entailed a lapse on the part of
the management not to effect switch over to GPF would be an oversimplification. It can also
be reasoned that the administration did not do so at the instance of the teachers but the
records are missing, for whatever reason. However, the teacher were given the benefit of
doubt by the court, and rightly so. The only way to ascertain the fact is to look into
corroborative evidence, if any. Most of these teachers did not opt for GPF even in 1998-99
under the presumption that they were already covered by the scheme or worse, considered
continuation in CPF a preferred choice. Those who did, did exercise their option in good
faith. Nobody thought then that this option was not authorised by the UGC.
The issue is fairly complex and needs careful scrutiny so that teachers do not face the grim
prospect of losing their only means of survival at this ripe age. The issue needs to be taken up
at the MHRD level.
*From the courts judgement:
Government decisions have led to a situation where those entitled to pensionary benefits
have been placed in a far more advantageous position that those entitled to CPF schemes. As
a result of the Fifth Pay Commissions recommendations, 40% of pensions can now be
commuted, giving a huge lump payment to pensioners. The communication is restored after
fifteen years. Those on CPF get only a lump payment which includes their own contribution.
Pensions are now fully indexed to inflation and their nominal value rises twice every year, in
the case of those on CPF, the Government keeping in view its overall fiscal and macro-
economic strategy has reduced interest from a high of 12% in 1998 to 8% today. While the
high interest rates which made CPF schemes attractive have come down, the nominal value
of pensions keeping going up because of inflation indexing. All this has created a significant
disparity between those on GPFcum-pension and those on CPF schemes. According to a
rough calculation, this could run into several lakh rupees over a period of time in the case of
two identically placed professors. I think there is merit in the request that those who continue
to be on the CPF scheme should be given a fresh option to switch over to the GPF cum
pension scheme instead of taking the legalistic stand that those on CPF opted for the scheme.
The Government, as a fair employer, may kindly take action to remove the growing
inequality between those on CPF and those on GPF cum pension schemes. I would, therefore,
request you to please take up the matter with the Ministry of HRD and the Ministry of
Finance to allow a fresh option to those on the CPF scheme to come over to the GPF-cum-
pension scheme...




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