Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SC questions logic behind rank pay methodology (R Sedhuraman, Legal Correspondent)

New Delhi, August 1 :The controversy over defence personnel’s rank pay, fixed on the basis of the Fourth Pay Commission recommendations, has come under Supreme Court scrutiny once again despite the fact it is a 25-year-old matter. A Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and RM Lodha today heard an application filed by the government for more than half-an-hour and questioned the logic behind the methodology followed for fixing the pay scales on the basis of the commission’s recommendations.

Another Bench of the SC, comprising Justices Markandey Katju and RM Lodha, had passed an order on March 8, 2010, directing the government to implement the Kerala High Court verdicts of October 5, 1998, (Single Judge Bench) and July 4, 2003, (Division Bench) in favour of the defence personnel.The government has filed an application seeking recall of the SC order on the ground that implementing the order would have a cascading effect and would involve a financial burden of Rs 1,623 crore.

Solicitor-General Rohinton Nariman said the HC had delivered the verdicts despite the fact that the defence personnel who had approached the court had not challenged either the Pay Commission report or the Army’s circular issued on June 23, 1987, explaining the methodology for fixing the pay scales.

On being asked by the Bench, the SG today presented a comparative picture of the pay scales of defence personnel and civil servants in equal positions. Stating it would like to hear the issue in detail, the Bench slated the next hearing for November 22.

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