(Source: The Asian Age - 26 Jun 14)
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Controversy over pension of pre-2006 Central Staff & Ex-servicemen: The Asian Age News
It may be recalledwere in the of pension of pre-2006 Central government retirees with effect from January 1, 2006. The question was whether pension was to be calculated based on the minimum of each grade/ within the newly-introduced pay-bands or on the minimum of the pay-band itself.
The said anomaly was resolved by way of judgments of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) as well as Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). Thethe CAT was challenged by the government before the Delhi high court. In the meantime, however, the government itself half-heartedly removed the anomaly by granting from September 24, 2012 rather than January 1, 2006, which was the date of the inception of the anomaly. The verdict of the AFT was challenged by the government before the Supreme Court.
Hence the exact controversy now stood narrowed down to whether the benefits of the correct pension were to flow from January 1, 2006 which was the date from which the 6th Central pay commission recommendations were implemented or from September 24, 2012 which was when the government had decided to remove the anomalies in the pension structure after the said pay commission.
The controversy was resolved by the Delhi high court, which directed that after removal of the anomaly, the pension arrears were to flow from January 1, 2006 and not from the future artificial date of September 24, 2012. Never to respect well-roundedverdicts, the government challenged the decision of the high court before the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court was pleased to dismiss the SLP filed by the government in July 2013.
Bent upon prolonging the agony of military and civil pensioners, the government has filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court challenging grant of pensionary benefits from January 1, 2006. The curative petition is not an ordinary remedy and is usually meant to cure “gross miscarriage of justice”. Hence by filing such a petition, the capable and worthy officers of our Central government ironically and indeed contemptuously, insinuate that the grant of correct and legal pension to its military and civil pensioners is “miscarriage of justice”.
Legal eagle Major Navdeep Singh (retd) has brought out the facts, which prove how our officialdom has reached its nadir and what a mockery it has made of the system by making judicial verdicts get overridden by administrative egotism. “So sad is the situation that executive pride overtakes what is logical, prudent or just. And the political executive remains a rudderless rubber-stamp,” states Major Singh.
“Ego-fuelled highhandedness is what the system is known for. How could the courts hold the hands of old pensioners? The government is always right. Government policies are sacrosanct and sacred, or so the system believes,” commented Major Singh. And hence government went in for a review petition before the Supreme Court urging the top court to review its order dismissing the Union of India’s SLP.
Meanwhile, without properly disclosing the dismissal of the SLP, the government filed many more similar petitions before the Supreme Court and got them tagged with the military pensioners’ matters which dealt with the same subject. The Supreme Court was pleased to dismiss the review petition filed by the government against the pensioners.
In any democracy, this would have meant closure to the agony of litigating pensioners. But no, that is not how things work in our country. The Union of India/Central government then filed a curative petition against the same verdict. The curative petition came up for hearing before a 5 judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, which was pleased to dismiss the same.
“But would this be closure to their agony?”, asks Major Singh, who is well versed with the attitude and tendencies of our babus. Since this cynical question was asked by Major Singh before the unprecedented 2014 elections, which brought in the new BJP government, then those pensioners for whom this matter is applicable Further good news following President Pranab Mukherjee’s recent address is that he praised the armed forces and promised that the new government would: 1. Expedite modernisation. 2. Fill up vacancies. 3. Institute a National Commission for Veterans. 4. Have a National War Memorial constructed. 5. Grant One Rank One Pension. 6. Have zero tolerance towards terrorism. It is also heartening to hear from media that the Prime Minister’s Office has directed the home and defence ministries to ensure that all strategic decisions, specially those relating to the uniformed forces, should be taken only after detailed consultations with their top officers. Meanwhile, medals for bravery and service surrendered by of 32,000 ex-servicemen and war-widows remain deposited-22,000 with Rahtrapati Bhavan and 10,000 with Indian Ex-Serviceemen’s Movement and will not be accepted back till proper implementation of One Rank One Pension.dare to hope for some light at the end of a long tunnel. Because not only does the BJP’s manifesto include implementation of One Rank One Pension, the matter is on its 100 days list too. The Pay Commission Cell of Army HQs is expected to make a presentation to the new defence minister shortly.
(Source: The Asian Age - 26 Jun 14)