Thursday, September 9, 2010

Form separate Pay Commission for armed forces: SC to govt

New Delhi Slamming the Centre for making army personnel run from pillar to post on their salary disputes, the Supreme Court today directed the government to examine the idea of setting up a separate Pay Commission for both serving and retired personnel of the armed forces.  A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur, asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati and Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to seek instructions from the government as to whether it was open to the idea of a separate pay commission that could be headed by a retired Chief Justice of India or a judge of the Supreme Court. "The day the soldiers are forced to fight for their salaries, it would be a sad day for the country,\" the Bench said quoting Chanakya\'s advise to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya.

The apex court said the sane advise of Chanakya was valid even today and it was unfortunate that army personnel are forced to knock the doors of the court for rectifying their salary anomalies. \"Army people are a disciplined lot. They cannot go on agitation like others. They should not be forced to fight for their salaries, it is not good for the country. \"It is very unfortunate that today many army people are unhappy. I know thousands of army personnel returning their medals in protest. There was an instance when a senior officer frustrated with the government\'s approach, even burnt his artificial limb as a protest. Why do you allow such things?\" the Bench said.

The apex court made the remarks while dealing with a petition filed by certain serving and retired army officers challenging the reported refusal of the government to accord them enhanced \"rank pay\" as recommended by the Fifth Pay Commission. Counsel Kailash Chand and Ramesh K Haritash appeared for the army personnel. Though Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium tried to make his submission, the Bench pointed out that in recent years a number of armed forces personnel were moving the courts to get their salary grievances addressed.

\"The present Pay Commission for them is headed by bureaucrats. They may not be able to understand their problems. It is a burning issue. Why don\'t you allow them to let their steam out by appointing a Commission instead of making them move from pillar to post. You can appoint a retired Chief Justice of India or a retired Suprem Court judge,\" the Bench said.

Responding to the suggestion Subramanium said he would seek instructions from the Government on the court\'s suggestion for a separate Commission within four weeks. Accordingly, the apex court recorded the undertaking and posted the matter for further hearing to October 18.
(source-express india)

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