Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Chief E. Sreedharan is known to Delhiites as the man who revolutionised the way they travelled.
But few know about the six-year-long legal battle he fought with the Centre for the monthly “illegal deduction” of Rs 4,000 from his salary as Chairman and Managing Director of the Konkan Railway Corporation from where he retired in 1997.
The Delhi High Court on Monday ruled in his favour, making him richer by approximately Rs 7 lakh.
More than the amount, what was at stake for Sreedharan was his prestige. After all, following the deduction, his salary was lesser than half of that of Konkan rail executives.
After retiring from the Indian railways in 1990, Sreedharan joined Konkan Railway on a pay scale of Rs 9,000-10,000 for a period of five years.
But without his knowledge, Rs 4,000, which he was receiving as pension after retirement from railways, was deducted from his salary on the grounds that it was a “re-employment under the central government” and therefore he was not entitled to get pension.
Sreedharan’s lawyer Tarun Johri told the court if Rs 4,000 was deducted from his pay at its lowest limit of Rs 9,000, his client was left with only Rs 5,000. From this amount, provident fund of Rs 750, house rent of Rs 500, car conveyance at the rate of Rs 400 and income tax of Rs 2,000 would be deducted, thus leaving Sreedharan with less than 1,200 a month.
Sreedharan asked the court, “How does the government expect me to function as a CEO of an important public sector with an annual turnover of Rs 400 crore with a take home salary of Rs 1,080?”
The centre has also been asked to pay him Rs 30,000 as “cost” of the legal battle. The case was filed by Sreedharan in his personal capacity.