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Thursday, November 26, 2015
Army veterans to take OROP battle to Supreme Court - Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has offered his services as the legal counsel for the army veterans.
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh addresses the media in Chandigarh on Sunday. (Source: Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)
The veterans’ fight for the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) according to its original definition is set to enter a new phase with the battle now being taken to the Supreme Court.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has offered his services as the legal counsel for the army veterans. Addressing the media in Chandigarh on Sunday, Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), who has been leading a protest for OROP at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for the past 161 days, said the president of Bar Council of India, Dushyant A Dave has also offered to fight for the veterans’ cause, along with his team, in the apex court for free.
Satbir also came out strongly against the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission saying that the recommendations of the commission were further degrading the defence services. He appealed to the three service chiefs to come out strongly against the pay commission’s recommendations. He also said the OROP announcement and the pay commission recommendations have had adverse affect on serving soldiers. “I dare say it has affected serving soldiers. They are asking questions. You are not going by your promises. If the defence services also go back on their oath, what will happen,” he asked the Centre.
Accusing the government of leading a disinformation campaign regarding their announcement of implementation of OROP, Satbir said the veterans are not going to lift their agitation till OROP is implemented in letter and spirit.
“The government talks to militants to broker peace and arrive at a resolution of problems. Unfortunately, the veterans and widows have been sitting at dharna, but the government has not bothered to come even once to us and ask us why are we sitting here,” said Satbir.
Accusing the bureaucracy of sabotaging the OROP proposal, he said ever since Independence, the bureaucrats have been suppressing the defence services. He said the OROP announced by the government was in fact one rank many pensions and was not what had been approved by the houses of the Parliament.
Satbir said it is surprising that the pay commission has depressed the top scales of the military. “A brigadier will now come below a DIG of the police. A joint secretary going to Guwahati will get Rs 54,000 extra as special allowance, but an Army officer serving in Siachen Glacier will get only Rs 31,000,” he said.
Terming many recommendations of the commission as being an example of the “vindictiveness of the IAS”, he said even the funeral allowance of Rs 5,000 given to service personnel has been taken away. He also criticised the proposal to do away with free rations for officers in peace areas, changes in rules for disability allowance and the scrapping of furlough given to serving personnel.