Letter of Mr. Mathre Rangarajan to NHRC
By Badrinath Vasandi in EX-ONGCIANS · Edit Doc · Delete
(retired Group General Manager ONGC)
B 2 – 301, SRIRAM SPANDHANA,
Bangalore – 560037.
Phone: 25227955, mobile 9945091581
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
No: HRC-1/2011 dated 12th December 2011
Hon Justice Sri K G Balakrishnan,
National Human Rights Commission,
New Nelhi - 110001
SUB: Human Rights Violation of 21000+ Retired Employees (Elders – Senior citizens) by M/s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (a Maharatna company) - Request for Intervention and Justice
About 21000 employees retired anytime between 1985 to Dec 2006 who are the real backbones of ONGC (age group 65 to 85+ years) are struggling for their survival due to general apathy and negative mindset of ONGC Management who repeatedly utters that “once an employee retires, all his connections with the Corporation are severed immediately”. As all our appeals to ONGC failed, retirees were forced to approach Bombay High Court by a writ petition filed by “All India ONGC Ex Employees Welfare Association, Mumbai” on their behalf in 2003. Out of these 21000 retired employees about 1500-2000 have already expired during last 8 years, pending disposal of a discrimination case in Bombay High Court.
These retirees are the Pioneers who built ONGC from scratch and nurtured it with their blood and sweat when it was an infant. We also have all those responsible for bringing India on the Oil Map of the world. Our members also comprises of those responsible for the discovery of Oil & Natural Gas as well as its Production from various Onshore as well as Offshore fields including Mumbai High. We also have retirees from ONGC Videsh Ltd. who converted it from loss making to highest profit making arm of ONGC. Our retirees are highly qualified and experienced in various activities of E&P Industry. We are ex-ONGCians who contributed in creating India’s most valuable Maha --ratna Oil Company.
The majority of these retirees are not in receipt of any old age benefit from their ex-employer ONGC and are fully dependent on their kiths and kins for survival and some of them are virtually starving. Most of these retirees are without any financial support for 5 to 25 years after retirement. Only a handful of them, approximately 3000 persons are covered by Agrani Samman, an Ex-Gratia Scheme, but their condition is also pitiable due to a meager amount received by them which is not even sufficient to live a dignified life without external support in today’s high cost of living.
Brief of Agrani Samman Ex Gratia Case
ONGC realized that its retired employees are in very difficult financial condition and introduced an Ex-Gratia monthly payment scheme called “Agrani Samman”, by Late CMD Shri Subir Raha wef 1st Jan 2003 based on Shri T.N. Seshan’s Report. The objective was to provide some financial support to the Pioneers so that they can lead a dignified retired life. While framing his recommendations Shri T N Seshan got influenced by an ex-director ONGC and submitted a scheme which is not only discriminatory but also violated the provisions of Indian Constitution viz. Art 14 - right to equality and Art 16 - right to justice, by introducing arbitrary cut off dates, unwanted and illegal riders and deductions of retirees own money, from the meager amount of relief provided to about 3000 retirees. These arbitrary cut off dates and illegal deductions from retirees own money has already been rejected by Supreme Court in several famous cases. The total amount spent towards “Agrani Samman” the Ex-Gratia scheme for these 3000 retirees annually is less than Rs 10 Crores (as per RTI reply). As per the “Agrani Samman” Ex-Gratia Scheme implemented by ONGC wef 1st Jan 2003, the retirees were subdivided into four slabs based on their respective ranks just before retirement as follows and were entitled to the modest Ex Gratia amount christened as “Agrani Samman”:
Slab I : Retired Class IV and Class III levels : Rs 1500+DA
Slab II : Retired executives from E0 to E-3 levels : Rs 3000+DA
Slab III : Retired executives from E-4 to E-6 levels : Rs 4500+DA
Slab IV : Retired executives from E-7 to CMD level : Rs 6000+DA
Illegal and Arbitrary Riders:
1. The 100% beneficiaries of above amounts as per the slabs were granted only to those retirees who joined ONGC prior to 15th Oct 1959 irrespective of their date of retirement and have completed 20 years of service. All those between 10 to 20 years of service were considered for pro-rata benefits
2. Out of the above beneficiaries who were in receipt of pension from their earlier employer or PRBS interest on their own money from LIC were entitled for only the balance amount of above mentioned “Agrani Samman” after deduction of his own money (illegal deductions).
3. The spouse of the deceased eligible employee was given 50% “Agrani Samman”.
4. All those employees who joined ONGC after 14th Oct 1959 and retired upto 31st March 1991 were entitled for 50% of the entitlement as in point 1 (case of illegal arbitrary discrimination).
5. All those who joined ONGC on or after 15th Oct 1959 and retired any time after 31st March 1959 are totally deprived of any benefit (case of illegal discrimination) irrespective of their length of service.
The illegal and arbitrary riders (discriminatory as per law) provided by ONGC management deprived a majority of retires numbering about 18000 and also resulted in a meager benefit to about 2000 eligible retirees.
The plea for justice by these retired employees to ONGC Management fell on deaf ears due to negative attitude of the Concerned Director HR which lead the retired employees/officers associations throughout ONGC to join together and file WP 6593/2003 at Bombay High Court. While the case was in court, instead of solving the vexed issue of “Agrani Samman” by involving the petitioner association, ONGC again violated the law and introduced an illegal and discriminatory PRBS based defined pension scheme for its retirees of 2007 onwards probably to cover themselves with much superior benefits than “Agrani Samman”. It clearly shows as to how much regards they have for the law and for their elders who handed them the most profitable Maharatna Company built out of their blood and sweat on a platter with golden spoons in their hands. After receiving the wealth in their hands the management started showing its true colours and instead of treating these elders as members of the family completely disowned them like an unworthy son.
In March 2008 our case on “Agrani Samman” WP 6593/2003 came up for final hearing in Bombay High Court and was disposed off in the form of an agreement as ONGC agreed to consider the same as per law within 3 months in front of the Divisional Bench. After end of 3 months ONGC backed out from its own commitment given in front of Divisional Bench.
This illegal action of ONGC forced us to file a fresh case WP/531/2009 in Bombay High Court. No one knows how much time this fresh case will take to get justice but one thing is sure that it will take some more casualities and deprive them justice for ever. Taking advantage of inordinate delay in Bombay High Court, ONGC continued its illegal practices of depriving the elders of all their legitimate dues by discriminating them with the unlawful arbitrary cut off dates in all subsequent schemes.
It is really sad that the #1 profit making Maharatna Company has all its elders among the BPL (Below Poverty Line) families as per GOI guidelines.
REQUEST FOR PROTECTING THE CONSTITUTINAL RIGHTS OF THESE SENIOR CITIZENS WHO ARE DEPRIVED OF THEIR LEGITIMATE DUES DUE TO VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS BY THEIR EX-EMPLOYER M/s OIL AND NATURAL GAS CORPORATION LTD.
• ONGC be directed through the administrative ministry for out of Court settlement in long pending “Agrani Samman” case amicably with the Petitioner Association, who have the absolute mandate from all other retired employees/officers associations for dealing in “Agrani Samman” on behalf of all retirees, at the earliest before some more retirees die waiting for justice. They should also be directed to remove total discrimination among the homogenous group of retirees by deleting all illegal clauses like arbitrary cut of dates and unlawful deductions from the date of implementation of the scheme.
• ONGC may also be directed to abide by the law and put on hold any revision in the 2007 PRBS Defined Pension Scheme pending settlement of “Agrani Samman” Scheme, since their 2007 PRBS Defined Pension Scheme is now part of the documents submitted in Bombay High Court WP/531/2009 and the matter is subjudice. Any change in 2007 scheme will have to wait disposal of WP 531/2009 by the Bombay High Court or a negotiated settlement with Petitioner Association.
• ONGC should also be advised to formulate a single D.A. Linked Transparent Pension Scheme for all retirees past as well as future w.e.f. 1st January 2007 to maintain uniformity instead of having multiple schemes to avoid corruption in future.
Humbly submitted for your kind and urgent consideration.
On behalf of 21000+ silently suffering retirees of ONGC
1. Smt Sonia Gandhi, MP, Chairperson, United Front Government, 10, Janpath, New Delhi – 110011.
2. Sri Manmohan Singh, Hon Prime Minister, 7, Race Course Road, New Delhi – 110011.
3. Sri Lal Krishna Advani, MP, 30, Prithviraj Road, New Delhi – 110011.
4. Sri Jaipal Reddy, Hon Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, 8, Tees January Marg, New Delhi – 110011.
5. Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievences, 5th floor, Sardar Patel Bhavan, New Delhi – 110001.
6. Sri Sudhir Vasudeva, CMD, ONGC, Jeevan Bharti Tower II, 124, Indira Cho