Thursday, January 31, 2013


1. Agency Commission Payable to Banks on Government Transactions

[DGBA.GAD.No.H.7575/31.12.011/2011-12 dated May 22,2012]

Reserve Bank of India carries out the general banking business of the Central and State Governments through its own offices and through the offices of the Agency Banks appointed under Section 45 of the RBI Act, 1934, by mutual agreement. RBI pays agency commission (also called turnover commission) to the Agency Banks for the Government business handled by them. As per paragraph 5 of the Agency Bank agreement, RBI pays agency commission at a rate determined by it. A review in this regard was made and it has been decided to prescribe a revised agency commission structure, as under:

Sr. No.
Type of Transaction
Existing Rate
Revised Rate
1. (i) Receipts-Physical mode Per transaction ` 45/- ` 50/-
(ii) Receipts-e-mode Per transaction ` 45/- ` 12/-
2. Pension Payments Per transaction ` 60/- ` 65/-
3. Payments other than Pension Per Rs.100 turnover 9 paise 5.5 paise

2. In this context, the ‘Receipts-e-mode transactions’ indicated against Sr. No. 1(ii) in above table would refer to those transactions involving remittance of funds from the remitter’s bank account through internet banking as well as such transactions which do not involve physical receipt of cash /instruments.

3. The revised rates are effective from July 1, 2012.

2. Agency Commission towards Public Provident Fund Scheme, 1968 (PPF) and Senior Citizen Savings Scheme 2004 (SCSS)

[RBI/2006-07/289 (Ref: DGBA.GAD.H-14024/31.12.010/2006-07 dated March 16, 2007)]

read with: [DGBA.GAD.No.H.7575/31.12.011/2011-12 dated May 22, 2012]

The issue of payment of agency commission by Reserve Bank of India for handling PPF and SCSS was examined in consultation with the Government of India and it was decided to follow only one channel of payment of remuneration to banks for handling transactions under PPF and SCSS. Accordingly, Reserve Bank of India will pay agency commission w.e.f. July 1, 2012 on transactions relating to PPF and SCSS at the following rates:

a) Receipts –i) Physical mode- `50/- per transaction
ii) e-mode- ` 12/- per transaction

b) Payments – 5.5 paise per ` 100/- turnover

Government of India will discontinue the payment of remuneration for managing PPF and SCSS.

3. Government transactions eligible for Agency Commission

[RBI/2004/305 (Ref: DGBA.GAD.No.H-2625 -2658/ 31.12.010(C) /2004-05) dated December 17, 2004]

[DGBA.GAD.No. H- 8852 /31.12.010(C)/2010-11 dated June 21, 2011]

The following transactions undertaken by agency banks are eligible for agency commission :

  • Revenue receipts and payments on behalf of the Central/State Governments
  • Pension payments in respect of Central / State Governments
  • Special Deposit Scheme (SDS) 1975, Public Provident Fund (PPF) Scheme
  • Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS)
  • Any other item of work specifically advised by Reserve Bank as eligible for agency commission (viz. Relief Bonds/ Savings Bonds etc. transactions)

Short term/long term borrowings of State Governments raised directly from financial institutions and banks are not eligible for agency commission as these transactions are not considered to be in the nature of general banking business. Reserve Bank pays the agency banks separate remuneration as agreed upon for acting as agents for management of public debt. Transactions arising out of Letter of Credit (L/C) opened by banks on behalf of Ministries/Departments etc. do not qualify for agency commission.

However, in the context of references received from some agency banks, the issue of collection of Stamp Duty by banks as an eligible item for agency commission was examined by us and it has been decided to treat the Government transactions regarding collection of Stamp Duty by agency banks as an eligible item for agency commission as detailed below:

i) Whenever agency banks collect stamp duty through physical mode or e-mode (challan based), they are eligible for payment of agency commission, provided the agency banks do not collect any charges from the members of public or receive remuneration from the State Government for doing this work.

ii) As regards franking activity, if the agency bank is engaged by the State Government as Franking Vendor and it collects stamp duty from the public for franking the documents, it will not be eligible for agency commission since the State Government is paying commission to it as Franking Vendor. However, the agency bank which collects the stamp duty paid by the Franking Vendor for credit to the Treasury through challan in physical or e-mode for purchase of the franking bar, would be eligible for agency commission since it is a regular payment of Stamp Duty as stated under item (i) above.

All agency banks while claiming Turnover Commission (ToC) should certify that no claim of ToC is made on ineligible transactions.

(Source- RBI website)

Pension Payment to Central/ State Govt. Pensioners by Agency Banks-Compensation for delay

Reserve Bank of India is receiving several complaints from the pensioners alleging inordinate delay in disbursing the revised pension and arrears. Position was reviewed by RBI and the agency banks have been instructed as under:
  1. Pension paying banks should compensate the pensioner for the delay in crediting the pension/ arrears thereof by paying compensation at a fixed interest rate of 8 per cent for the delay after the due date and the compensation shall be credited to the pensioner's account automatically without any claim from the pensioner on the same day when the bank affords credit for revised pension/ pension arrears, in respect of all delayed pension payments made since October 1, 2008.
  2. Pension paying banks have been requested to put in place a mechanism to obtain immediately the copies of pension orders from the pension paying authorities directly and make payments without waiting for receipt of instructions from RBI so that pensioners should get the benefits announced by the Governments in the succeeding month's pension payment itself.
  3. System of attending to customer service including pension payments may be reviewed.
  4. The branch continues to be a point of referral for the pensioner lest he/she feel disenfranchised.
  5. All branches having pension accounts should guide and assist the pensioners in alltheir dealings with the bank
  6. Suitable arrangements are made to place the arithmetic and other details about the pension calculations on the web, to be made available to the pensioners through the net or at the branches at periodic interval as may be necessary and sufficientadvertisement is made about such arrangements.
  7. All claims for agency commission in respect of pension payments must be ccompanied by a certificate from E.D. / CGM- in- Charge of Government business in case of SBI and its Associate Banks that there are no pension arrears to be credited/ delays in crediting regular pension/arrears thereof.
    (Ref. DO.No.CSD.CO/8793/13.01.001/2009-10 d/d April 09, 2010,                                          DGBA.GAD.No.H- 46/45.01.001/2010-11 d/d July 2, 2010,
    DGBA.GAD.No.H- 6212 & 6213/45.01.001/2010-11 d/d March 11, 2011
    and DGBA.GAD.No.H- 6760/45.01.001/2011-12 d/d April 13, 2012)
    (Source-RBI Website)

Payment of Pension to Government Pensioners

Scheme for Payment of Pension to Government Pensioners by Authorised Banks
Reserve Bank of India (the Bank) monitors disbursement of pension by its agency banks in respect of all Central Government Departments (except the Department of Post) and certain State Governments. It has been receiving several queries/ complaints from pensioners in regard to fixation, calculation and payment of pension including revision of pension/ Dearness Relief from time to time, transfer of pension account from one bank branch to another, etc. We have analysed the queries/ complaints, rights and duties of pensioners and put the same in the form of answers to these Frequently Asked Questions. It is hoped that these will cover most of the queries/ doubts in the minds of pensioners.
1. Can the pensioner draw his/ her pension through a bank branch?
Yes. Even the Government employees earlier drawing their pension from a treasury or from a post office have the option to draw their pension from the authorized bank’s branches.
2. Who is the pension sanctioning authority?
The Ministry/ Department /Office where the Government servant last served is the pension sanctioning authority. The pension fixation is made by such authority for the first time and thereafter the refixation of pay, if any, is done by the pension paying bank based on the instructions from the concerned Central/ State Government authority.
3. Is it necessary for the pensioner to open a separate pension account for the purpose of crediting his/ her pension in authorized bank?
The pensioner is not required to open a separate pension account. The pension can be credited to his/her existing savings/ current account maintained with the branch selected by the pensioner.
4. Can a pensioner open a Joint Account with his/ her spouse?
Yes. All pensioners of the Central Government Pensioners and those State Governments which have accepted such arrangement can open Joint Account with their spouses.
5. Whether Joint Account of the pensioner with spouse can be operated either by ''Former or Survivor" or "Either or Survivor".
The Joint Account of the pensioner with spouse can be operated either as ‘‘Former or Survivor" or “Either or Survivor".
6. What is the minimum balance required to be maintained in the pension account maintained with the banks?
RBI has not stipulated any minimum balance to be maintained in pension accounts by the pensioners. Individual banks have framed their own rules in this regard. However, some banks have also permitted zero balance in the pensioners’ accounts.
7. Who sends the Pension Payment Orders (PPOs) to the authorized bank branch?
The concerned pension paying authorities in the Ministries /Departments/ State Governments forward the PPOs to the bank branches wherefrom the pensioner desires to draw his/her pension.
8. When is the pension credited to the pensioner's account by the paying branch?
The disbursement of pension by the paying branch is spread over the last four working days of the month depending on the convenience of the pension paying branch except for the month of March when the pension is credited on or after the first working day of April.
9. Can a pensioner transfer his/ her pension account from one branch to another branch of the same bank or to the branch of another bank?
(a) Pensioner can transfer his/ her pension account from one branch to another branch of the same bank within the same centre or at a different centre;
(b) He/ She can transfer his/ her account from one authorized bank to another within the same centre (such transfers to be allowed only once in a year);
(c) He/ She can also transfer his/ her account from one authorized bank to another authorized bank at a different centre.
10. What is the procedure for payment of pension in the case of the transfer of PPO to another branch or bank, as the case may be?
Pension will be paid for three months on the basis of the photocopy of the pensioner’s PPO at the transferee (new) branch from the date of the last payment made at the transferor (old) branch. Both the branches (old and new) are required to ensure that all the required documents are received by the transferee branch within these three months.
11. Is it necessary for the pensioner to be present at the branch of the bank along with documents for the purpose of identification before commencement of pension?
Yes. Before the commencement of pension, a pensioner has to be present at the paying branch for the purpose of identification. The paying branch shall obtain the specimen signatures or the thumb/toe impression from the pensioner.
12. What is the procedure to be followed by the bank branch if the pensioner is handicapped /incapacitated and is not in a position to be present at the paying branch?
If the pensioner is physically handicapped/incapacitated and unable to be present at the branch, the requirement of personal appearance is waived. In such cases, the bank official visits the pensioner’s residence/hospital for the purpose of identification and obtaining specimen signature or thumb/toe impression.
13. Has the pensioner got right to retain half portion of the PPO for record and to get it updated from paying branch whenever there is a change in the quantum of pension due to revision in basic pension, dearness relief, etc.?
Yes. The pensioner has right to retain half portion of the PPO for record and whenever there is a revision in the basic pension/Dearness Relief (DR), etc. the paying branch has to call for the pensioner's half of the PPO and record thereon the changes according to government orders/notifications and return the same to the pensioner.
14. Whether the paying branch has to maintain a detailed record of pension payments made by it in the prescribed form?
Yes. The pension paying branch is required to maintain a detailed record of pension payments made by it from time to time in the prescribed form duly authenticated by the authorized officer.
15. Can the pension paying bank recover the excess amount credited to the pensioner’s account?
Yes. The paying branch before commencement of pension obtains an undertaking from the pensioner in the prescribed form for this purpose and, therefore, can recover the excess payment made to the pensioner's account due to delay in receipt of any material information or due to any bonafide error. The bank also has the right to recover the excess amount of pension credited to the deceased pensioner’s account from his/her legal heirs/nominees.
16. Is it compulsory for a pensioner to furnish a Life Certificate/Non-Employment Certificate or Employment Certificate to the bank in the month of November?
Yes. The pensioner is required to furnish a Life Certificate/Non – Employment Certificate or Employment Certificate to the bank in the month of November. However, in case a pensioner is unable to obtain a Life Certificate from an authorized bank officer on account of serious illness / incapacitation, bank official will visit his/her residence/ hospital for the purpose of recording the life certificate.
17. Can a pensioner be allowed to operate his/ her account by the holder of Power of Attorney?
The account is not allowed to be operated by a holder of Power of Attorney. However, the cheque book facility and acceptance of standing instructions for transfer of funds from the account is permissible.
18. Who is responsible for deduction of Income Tax at source from pension payment?
The pension paying bank is responsible for deduction of Income Tax from pension amount in accordance with the rates prescribed by the Income Tax authorities from time to time. While deducting such tax from the pension amount, the paying bank will also allow deductions on account of relief to the pensioner available under the Income Tax Act. The paying branch, in April each year, will also issue to the pensioner a certificate of tax deduction as per the prescribed form. If the pensioner is not liable to pay Income Tax, he should furnish to the pension paying branch, a declaration to that effect in the prescribed form (15 H).
19. Can old, sick physically handicapped pensioner who is unable to sign, open pension account or withdraw his/ her pension from the pension account?
A pensioner, who is old, sick or lost both his/her hands and, therefore, cannot sign, can put any mark or thumb/ toe impression on the form for opening of pension account. While withdrawing the pension amount he/she can put thumb/toe impression on the cheque/withdrawal form and it should be identified by two independent witnesses known to the bank one of whom should be a bank official.
20. Can a pensioner withdraw pension from his/ her account when he/she is not able to sign or put thumb/toe impression or unable to be present in the bank?
In such cases, a pensioner can put any mark or impression on the cheque/ withdrawal form and may indicate to the bank as to who would withdraw pension amount from the bank on the basis of cheque/withdrawal form. Such a person should be identified by two independent witnesses. The person who is actually drawing the money from the bank should be asked to furnish his/her specimen signature to the bank.
21. When does the family pension commence?
The family pension commences after the death of the pensioner. The family pension is payable to the person indicated in the PPO on receipt of a death certificate and application from the nominee.
22. How the payment of Dearness Relief at revised rate is to be paid to the pensioners?
Whenever any additional relief on pension/family pension is sanctioned by the Government, the same is intimated to the agency banks for issuing suitable instructions to their pension paying branches for payment of relief at the revised rates to the pensioners without any delay. The orders issued by Government Departments are also hosted on their websites and banks have been advised to watch the latest instructions on the website and act accordingly without waiting for any further orders from RBI in this regard.
23. Can pensioners get pension slips?
Yes. As decided by the Central Government (Civil, Defence & Railways), pension paying banks have been advised to issue pension slips to the pensioners in prescribed form when the pension is paid for the first time and thereafter whenever there is a change in quantum of pension due to revision in basic pension or revision in Dearness Relief.
24. Which authority the pensioner should approach for redressal of his/ her grievances?
A pensioner can initially approach the concerned Branch Manager and, thereafter, the Head Office of the concerned bank for redressal of his/her complaint. They can also approach the Banking Ombudsman of the concerned State in terms of Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006 of the Reserve Bank of India (details available at the Bank’s website This is applicable only in respect of complaints relating to services rendered by banks. For other issues the complainant will have to approach the respective pension paying authority.
25. Where can a pensioner get information about the changes in the pension/ Dearness Relief or any pension related issue?
The pensioner can visit the Official Website of the concerned Government Department as also Reserve Bank of India Website ( to get the information about pension related issues.
26. Whether a pensioner is entitled for any compensation from the agency banks for delayed credit of pension/ arrears of pension?
Yes. A Pensioner is entitled for compensation for delayed credit of pension/arrears thereof at the fixed rate of 8% and the same would be credited to the pensioner's account automatically by the bank on the same day when the bank affords delayed credit of such pension / arrears etc without any claim from the pensioner.

These FAQs are issued by the Reserve Bank of India for information and general guidance purposes only. The Bank will not be held responsible for actions taken and/or decisions made on the basis of the same. For clarifications or interpretations, if any, the readers are requested to be guided by the relevant circulars and notifications issued from time to time by the Bank and the Government


Monday, January 28, 2013




Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pension pleas' dismissal: HC comes down on AFT bench

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday virtually passed strictures against the Chandigarh bench of AFT, for dismissing the petitions of armed forces personnel seeking disability pension "without application of mind".  Taking up a petition filed by Flight Lieutenant Onkar Singh Bawa (retd), earlier dismissed by the AFT on the medical board's advice, the division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain said the tribunal should not take the medical board's advice as gospel truth.

This is probably the first such case where the Punjab and Haryana high court has passed strictures against the AFT. The high court once again clarified that it can hear the appeals against the AFT orders. Allowing Bawa's appeal for disability pension, the division bench said the tribunal did not consider the petitioner's arguments and passed the orders. It further emphasised that disability claims of soldiers should be decided after proper application of mind, otherwise the purpose of creating the tribunal was not fulfilled. Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Bhim Sen Sehgal argued that it was unfair on the part of Indian Air Force not to grant disability pension to the retired officer who had devoted 33 years to the nation.

The court, while setting aside the order dated January 14, 2011 of the AFT bench comprising justice NP Gupta and Lt Gen NS Brar (retd) said that neither the order of AFT nor that of the medical board was reasoned. The bench also observed that the AFT should have discussed pension rules and regulations before passing the orders. A resident of SAS Nagar, Bawa was enrolled in the IAF on April 14, 1953, having been found medically fit. Later, he was commissioned as a pilot officer in 1977 in aeronautical engineering (mechanical) branch. However, in August 1986, the medical board at Air Force Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi, downgraded his medical category permanently for the disability, that is, IHD (inferolateral) with cervical spondylosis. He retired in November 1986 and the release medical board assessed his disability at 30% attributable to military service. But later, the Air Force authorities failed in releasing his disability element of pension.
Thereafter, the petitioner approached the AFT in July 2010, which later dismissed his petition on January 14, 2011, forcing him to knock the doors of the Punjab and Haryana high court in April 2011.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grant of dual Family pension from Military as well as Civil employment.

The full text of the MOD order is appended below:-=============================================================
No. 01 (05)/2010-D(Pen/Policy)
Government of India
Ministry of Defence,
bepartment of Ex-Servicemen Welfare,
New Delhi, dated 17th January' 2013
The Chief of the Army Staff
The. Chief of the Naval Staff
The Chief of the Air Staff

SUBJECT: Implementation of the Government decision on the recommendations of Committee on the issues related to Defence Service Personnel and Ex-Servicemen, 2012 - Grant of dual Family pension from Military as well as Civil employment.


The under signed is directed to refer to the provisions contained in Army Instructions 51/1980 read with provisions contained in this Ministry's letter No 10(6)/92/b(Pen/5ers) dated 28.9.1992 and Regulation 78 of Pension Regulations for the Army Part-I (2008) according to which the NOK of Armed Forces pensioners,who got re-employed in Civil Departments/PSUs/Autonomous bodies/
Local Funds of Central/State Governments after getting retired from military service with pension, are authorized to draw Ordinary Family pension either from military side or from civil side in terms of provisions contained in this Ministry's above said letter dated 28.9.1992 and Rule 54 (13-A) & Rule 54 (13-8) of CCS (Pension) Rule 1972.

2. In order to consider various issues on pension of Armed Forces personnel and Ex-Servicemen, the Government had constituted a Committee of Secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary. The Committee in its Report has recommended that NOK of a pensioner who gets second employment in the Government after discharge from military service would be entitled to draw two Family Pensions.

3. The above recommendation of the Committee has been accepted by the Government and the President is pleased to decide that the families of Armed Forces pensioners who got re-employed in Civil Departments/PSUs/Autonomous bodies/Local Funds of Central/State Governments after getting retired from military service and were in receipt of military pension till death, shall be allowed to draw Family pension fom military side in addition to the family pension, if any, authorized from the re-mployed civil department subject to fulfillment of other prescribed conditions as hithertofore.

4. The provisions of this letter shall be applicable to the Armed Forces personnel who got discharged retired/invalided out from service with effect from 24th September 2012 or thereafter. Benefit of these provisions shall also be allowed in past cases however the financial benefit shall be granted from 24th September 2012 only.

5. Pension Regulations of the three Services shall be amended in due course.

6. This issues with the concurrence of Finance Division of this Ministry vide their ID No. PC 1/10(12)/2012/FIN/PEN dated 10.01.2013

Hindi version will follow.

Your faithfully
(Malathi Narayanan)
Under Secretary to the Government of India
(Source-CGE News blog)

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Detailed instructions issued to Pension Disbursing Agencies to immediately release enhanced pension in accordance with Govt of India letters issued in pursuance of cabinet decisions

Date of effect - 24.9.2012




Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time to show India's priorities: Stand solidly behind armed forces

The muck spreading around the image of the forces and doubting their loyalty towards Indian constitutional authority is self defeating and must be plugged immediately. It's no more an issue of a General and his date of birth. It's time to show where India stands and what are its priorities if a choice is given between an unreliable political leadership and the men in olive green. The men in power are to be squarely blamed for their mishandling of the issues concerning the defenders of the nation who have stood all tests of time with great élan and success. Now, they are being put on a par with the uniformed coup makers of Pakistan and the Maldives. Shame on those who try this joke to take revenge on the military's much-admired leader.

Listen to the voices coming from the icy heights of Siachen, where soldiers die of mental isolation and not by bullets. They live a most dangerous time defending men in Gandhi cap to preserve the honour of the tricolour and the Constitution, never giving a centimetre of doubt of any revolt or coup even if they are wronged and their equipment less than the desired standards and the purchases commision-ridden. They are neither blind nor deaf and dumb and having possessed the best of the education with families with sharp intellect and ears to the ground realities, they all know what's happening in Delhi's parliament.

Yet, it's the tribute to their dedication to the nation's cause and resilience that their political views are never expressed through any which way that might be termed as undesirable.

The forces are built by humans and the men behind machines do understand the undesirable influnes working in Raksha Mantralay affecting the path of promotions, postings and favouritism prevailing the files. Thousands of crores are returned without spending on military hardware every year and simple demands of one rank, one pension are met with years and years of deafening silence. Their parents and children do not get what they deserve and the soldier in his home town and village is made to run from pillar to post for small matters without the administration coming forward to help him exceptionally. A Gandhi cap drenched in hot money is more respected and listened to than the cap of the men in uniform. See Pan Singh Tomar, a movie that conveys the mood of the nation, how soldiers are treated on ground by this republic.

Agreed there have been cases of wrong doings in the forces, men in uniform have been found guilty, but pray, did any one from the forces ever complain and ask if the men in Gandhi cap can be given plum posts in the cabinet and supporters of murderer Maoists rewarded with Planning Commission postings even after conviction from the courts, why. Can't the army men too be given the chance to enjoy lavish living of a politician even after being chargesheeted? Never were such voices ever heard. Rather the great generals and retired top brass felt embarrassed that such bad incidents did occur and demanded stern punishment to the guilty.

There have been a series of incidents that showed the immuturity and the lack of leadership qualities in the ruling power elite. Apart from the date of birth issue, the case of spying on Raksha Mantri, CAG's hard hitting report exposing serious weaknesses in the war preparedness of the forces, the unpardonable leak of the 'top secret' letter written by the Army Chief to the Chief Executive of the nation, the CBI investigation ordered into the bribery charges and the Tatra deal, almost a year late than it should have been ordered. And remember, almost every day on every channel, pro-government media men were loudly declaring with confidence, that who else but the army chief is damaging national interest, he alone would have leaked the letter till Gen VK Singh declared the act as treason. Now we have media reports saying the IB has found out that the leak from the government side, perhaps from a minister's desk. Then we find a report suggesting the General tried to flex his muscles by ordering army troops to march towards Delhi without informing government. It was noisily suggested that the General was trying to sabotage constitutional provisions. Oh my God, is this a government running India?

(Source - TOI _Tarun Vijay 06 April 2012, 07:59 PM IST)

INDUS CALLING -Warriors and that savage country

15 January 2013, 03:39 PM IST

The Army Day being celebrated today gives an extraordinary message in the prevailing circumstances. Surrounded by unfriendly countries, app 7 thousand kms of undecided border, two hostile nuclear powers and a savage army on our western front that keeps India bleeding in a cowardly, jackal like fashion.

Bravo to Gen Bikram Singh, who took up the cudgels and at last spoke the language India wanted to hear. While the ministers remained mired in a myth of fake peace making, letting the soldier and the patriotic people down, Gen. Bikram Singh made it clear that the warriors are in no mood to take the barbarism of Pakistan lying down. It was shocking for a nation to see that immediately Minister of External Affairs contradicted the army chief, in fact admonished him publicly.

A report says -‘Despite Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh 's tough talk on Pakistan over ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC) the government looks in no mood to indulge in confrontation with Islamabad. Downplaying Army chief's warning to Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Monday that the government did not want the peace process to get derailed.’ The peace process of the pusillanimous rulers has become another threat to the national security apart from what Pakistan poses to us. What peace process? With whom? And at what cost?

Isn’t the soldier’s dignity and Izaat foremost for us?

Who were the two soldiers, beheaded by the savage Pakistani army and whom did they belong to? Does this government feel any affinity with those who die for the nation? This political state apparatus shows feelings for or fears only the media reports and their impact on its public image. Those leaders who run to pay homage to even an octogenarian politician, who might have been thoroughly corrupt and died due to illness, never found time to pay homage to the martyred soldiers at the time of their last rites. It was only when the media reported their absence with scathingly harsh comments and the family members of Lance Naik Hemraj sat on hunger strike, the chief minister of the state rushed to the spot and met the bereaved family. And well, the union govt. announced bravery awards to be given on the Republic Day.

So phony it all looked, so insincere.

Another worthy minister from UP ‘Ram Karan Arya said that the demand of the family for the severed head of martyr Lance Naik Hemraj Singh was petty.

Such politicians would have received harshest possible reprimand from the people in any country, but alas, we have been tolerating such small people at top positions far too long. When we see how President Obama salutes and pays homage to the dead soldiers, often reproducing finest words from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and saying the martyrdom of the soldiers would give "A New Birth of Freedom", the Indian leaders talk to the media in a lackadaisical, ‘matter of fact’ manner that lacks commitment.

We have leaders who lead us in just pettiness and failures often demoralizing the warriors. They don’t find just the right words to boost the morale of the soldiers because they never speak from their hearts when they are speaking to the warriors. For them they are just another class of employees, who serve for a salary.

Then why do we observe Army Day every year with such fanfare, gaiety and somberness?

Isn’t this is the day to remind the warriors that the entire nation stands with them, they are our most honoured defenders of Motherland and their honour and dignity is the foremost in the eyes of the people and the State? This day in 1948 Lieutenant General K. M. Cariappa became the first Indian Commander-in-Chief . hence the observance of 15th January every year to salute the valiant soldiers .

Is this the way we should be doing it?

The soldiers who have shown extraordinary courage and perseverance in the oddest of all situations, who stand guard at -80 degree Celsius at Siachin, who have fought to the last bullet and the last man, in 1962, 1965, 1971 and the Kargil wars, who have a family tradition preserved for the last many generations, in some cases 10 to 15 generations, to join the forces and fight for the Matribhumi, the holy Motherland, deserve much better.

They live as a soldier and die as a soldier. Still they, the warriors of the nation, the protectors of our lives and land, do not find a voice from the government who would swear to the nation to take revenge on the unrepentant wicked and the savage. Surely a government that oscillates to build a war Memorial to the martyrs even after six decades of a great legacy of the warriors, is capable of showing such a defeatist attitude. And to rub salt on the wound, when the army chief says something that he should be saying, the minister contradicts him publicly and issues a self-defeating statement on the day when soldiers celebrate Army Day.

Nobody in India wants a war or provokes the neighbor to get wild. It is the sham secular Anglicized brown sahibs who use insultingly the word’ jingoistic’ for the voices of patriotism. Since we got our truncated freedom, we have been relentlessly trying to be more than reasonable and make peace with the neighbors. But immediately after we saw the day of ,‘tryst with destiny’, Pakistan attacked in September 1947. Then the Kutch skirmish, followed by 1965, 1971, Kargil, supporting and encouraging Khalistani terrorism under their ‘thousand cut’ policy, Kashmir separatism and terrorism infiltration into our territory, continuing with terrorist training camps, ISI’s operations in South and the NE, fake currency attacks, inviting Chinese PLA to POK, a territory claimed by us… what is left anymore that needs us to say- come what may we shall continue with our peace initiative?

Pakistan government has proved hundreds of times that it is dishonest, liar, and a unreliable dialogue partner. India gave them Most Favored Nation status way back, 16 years before. They are still mulling to return the favor. We took bus to Lahore, welcomed the butcher of Kargil at Agra, give invitations enveloped in fat packets of dollars to them to come and participate in our conclaves in Delhi, still they refuse to help in our probe against terror, remain blind to our substantial evidences, keep the terror kingpins safe in their lap and behead our soldiers.

Carry on Mr Minister. May be next time you may think to hold a Qawwali programme in Islamabad to please them and change their heart!!

Ram is celebrated and revered not because he left Sita with Ravana saying freeing her would mean war and I am a peacenik, hence returning Ayodhya, sacrificing my consort for the sake of a higher goal, the peace.

We do not celebrate Dusshera for the last thousands of years because Ram didn’t punish an unrepentant wicked Ravana. Each of our gods has punished the bad, the ugly and the savage. Each of our heroes, whether Vikramaditya, Guru Govind Singh, or Shivaji or the Chola kings have shown that they can fight and annihilate the agents of barbarism.

If our peace initiative receives beheaded bodies of our sons, it’s a sin not to swear and say, we shall avenge it


Tuesday, January 15, 2013





Shri V.K. Subramanian, Secretary (Defence), AIFPA attended the Defence Pension Adalat on 10th and 11th December, 2012 at Thiruvananthapuram.

Brief given at the Defence Pension Adalat

While addressing the gathering, the Addl. C.G.D.A.,l has intimated that the long

Awaited OROP orders are expected by the end of December, 2012.

The effective date will be from January, 2013 only and that

The CDA has fully geared up and the table is ready and pensioners will

Be paid by March, 2013.

Courtesy: Pensioners’ Advocate December, 2012.
(source-indianexservicemen blog)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dissecting the Republic! The Civil–Military Discord. -- M.G.Devasahayam

India’s First Republic is completing 63 years. Instead of indulging in puerile hype and hyperbole it is time we got serious about real state-of-the-art of the Republic and the role of its head, the President of India. Describing the Republic of USA, Joseph Story wrote:

The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its compartments are beautiful as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order; and its defences are impregnable from without; It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may justly aspire for such title…..Republics are created-these are the words, which I commend to you for your consideration–by the virtue, public spirit and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people in order to betray them.”
Republic of India was structured on similar lines. But six decades in to its working, it is tottering and sinking because the “wise among her sons and daughters have been banished from the public councils for their honesty and integrity, and the profligates rewarded because they are venal and servile”. Democracy has shrunk and has been replaced by a creeping ‘Kleptocracy’ marked by slavish flattery, autocratic arrogance, unbridled greed and criminalized corruption. In the event, the First Republic, so painstakingly constructed by our Founding Fathers, is falling apart and is on the precipice of collapse.

Constitution (Article 52) places the President of India as head of the Republic with all power, perks and authority. Here is what the Constitution mandates:

“Art 53.(1) The executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this constitution.

            (2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision, the supreme command of the Defence Forces of the Union shall be vested in the President and the exercise thereof shall be regulated by law.”
The President has Executive Power to appoint and remove high constitutional authorities, including the prime minister, council of ministers, state governors and Supreme Court/High Court judges, CAG and election commissioners; Legislative powers to summon a joint session of Parliament, approve introduction of money bills and legislation dealing with fundamental rights and give consent to all bills passed by parliament before becoming law; Judicial powers to rectify judicial errors, and also seek the supreme court opinion on legal and constitutional as well as matters of national and people's interest and Military powers as Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces to appoint all officers including the service chiefs, declare war and conclude peace all emanating from his/her control and authority over parliament. Such vast power and authority is vested on the President not to function as a figurehead but to uphold on behalf of ‘We, the People’ Justice, social, economic and political; Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equity of status and of opportunity and to promote among them all Frater-nity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.

Sadly, over the years, these core objectives have been mingled in dust. Justice has become inaccess-ible, distant, costly and purchasable; Liberty is ravaged by a spate of freedom-killing preventive detention laws and gross abuse of the IPC provisions of sedition and ‘waging war against the state’ as well as Section 66A of the IT Act; Equity is evaporating with governments selling/mortgaging country’s assets to MNCs and big businesses in the garb of ‘Reforms’ and Fraternity is faltering with dignity of the individual and integrity of the Nation being severely compromised. As for institutions and instruments of democratic governance less said the better: Political parties have become personal fiefdoms; ‘Council of Ministers’ function as surrogates of the rich and the powerful; Parliament has virtually turned into a trading house; Superior Courts have no accountabi-lity; CAG is abused for exposing humongous corruption; Election Commission is stalled from eliminating money and criminal power; Over-protected bureaucracy has turned into subservient adhocracy; CBI is used as blackmailing tool, Human Rights and Information Commissions are dump-yards for sinecure-seekers; Lokpal and Judicial Accountability Bills scuttled and RTI Act sabotaged from within!
On the Military side Government is sticking to the age-old colonial notion by defining civil-military relationship thus: “The military forces have remained loyal to the government and have been its obedient servant.” Military leaders of impeccable honour, who refused to be ‘obedient servants’, have been treated in a crude and hostile manner. This has severely damaged the integrity of the Armed Forces. Widespread perception among military is that to reach top ranks one need to be only an ‘obedient servant’, let merit and honesty be damned! Hence this disturbing view, circulating at many levels of military, that it is not worth fighting for a country that is in the grip of ‘conniving, corrupt cabals’. Cumulative effect of all these are that the First Republic is on a ‘governance cliff’ and could topple over the precipice any time.

Fortuitously, President Pranab Mukherji is well aware of the rot and his responsibility to remedy it. In his acceptance speech as the 13th President of the Republic he had famously said: “Corruption is an evil that can depress the nation’s mood and sap its progress. We cannot allow our progress to be hija-cked by the greed of a few” and then went on to add: “The principal responsibility of this office is to function as the guardian of our Constitution. I will strive, as I said on oath, to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution not just in word but also in spirit.” Unfortunately on both these counts-countering corruption and upholding the constitution – the President has been eminently inactive! This is probably because, despite being conferred with awe-some powers, the role of the President is stated to be nominal and ceremonial and he is supposed to exercise these powers only under the ‘advise’ of the ‘council of ministers’. Ironically all these mini-sters are ‘officers subordinate to the President’. Given the above narration of rotten governance, how does one expect the ‘council of ministers’ ever to advise the President to curb the evil of corruption and ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the Constitution? It is a legal hoax rammed in during Emergency (1975-77) that cannot be countenanced in free India.
As clearly brought out, the very edifice of the First Republic-Justice, Liberty, Equity, Fraternity–along with nation’s security stand severely eroded and corroded and faces danger of falling asunder with a rising ‘Kleptocracy’ looming large. This is openly manifest in the massive scandals/ misdeeds-2G Spectrum, Commonwealth Games, Gorshkov carrier, Adarsh housing, Coalgate as well as Air-India ripping, Antrix-Devas fraud, TATRA robbery, DLF-Vadra skullduggery, Wal-Mart bribery, HSBC Bank money-laundering and myriad others-all of which being pushed under heaps of garbage!
India of the First Republic is fast becoming a ‘failed state’ with all the characteristics described by Robert Rotberg in his Book, ‘When States Fail: Causes and Consequences’:

         "Failed states offer unparalleled economic opportunity only for a privileged few. Those around the ruling oligarchy grow richer while their less fortunate brethren starve…. The privilege of making immense profits and fortune when everything else is deteriorating is confined to clients of the ruling elite....The nation-state's responsibility to maximize the well-being and prosperity of all its citizens is conspicuously absent....and escalating levels of venal corruption mark failed states."
It is time for the President to stand up and be counted and save the First Republic before it perishes forcing India’s parched millions to rise in anger and raise the Second Republic from its very ashes!
The Civil–Military Discord - Backdrop

The British East India Company rule in India effectively began in 1757 and lasted until the enactment of Govt of India Act, 1858 that led to the British Crown assuming direct control. The Company was dissolved in 1874 and its functions absorbed into official government machinery in the British Raj with its private army nationalised by the British Crown.

In the Madras Presidency there has been an anecdote about drill training for this private army. The raw recruits could not understand the command ‘Left-Right’ for marching during drill practice. So the trainers had to tie a piece of cloth (selai) on one leg and palm-leaf (olai) on the other. The drill command for marching then was a strange-sounding olai-kaal (left-leg) selai- kaal (right-leg)! The literacy levels of military recruits then was so abysmal. Those were the days of feudal-monarchy when lowly men, commanded by aristocrats comprised the military. It was in this era that Alfred Lord Tennyson came out with the dictum for the military men: “Theirs is not to reason why, but to do and die.” (Charge of the Light Brigade-1854).

India’s military today comprise of well educated and highly skilled men who have a mind of their own to distinguish good from the bad and right from the wrong. Officers who command them come through a rigorous selection process based on merit. Yet India’s political-bureaucratic elite function-ing in a seemingly democratic system is sticking to the Tennyson doctrine. This is reflected in the recent observations made by the Union Minister of State of Defence while delivering the Field Marshal KM Cariappa Memorial Lecture: ‘The military forces have remained loyal to the elected government and have been its obedient servant.’

It is not surprising therefore that successive governments have failed to define a proper and fair civil-military relationship. However, taking the initiative Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat in his treatise ‘The Soldier and the State’ (1998) attempted a definition: “The modern military profession exists as part of the government insofar as the term 'government' includes the executive departments of the nation-state...Modern democracies therefore pay great attention to the supremacy of the political class over the military in governance, normally referred to as 'civilian control of the military'. This is clearly how it should be, since ultimate power and decision making should be wielded by the elected repre-sentatives of the people.”

Gen.VK Singh fully endorsed this (2012) but challenged the Tennyson dogma: “Civilian supremacy must always be rooted on the fundamental principles of justice, merit and fairness. Violation of this in any form must be resisted if we are to protect the Institutional Integrity of our Armed Forces.”
Combined views of former Navy and Army Chiefs go beyond ‘loyalty’ and ‘obedience’ and set forth certain non-negotiable imperatives for civil-military relationship:

 Democracy functioning as per established norms;
 Military profession existing as part of government;
 Decision making and civilian supremacy by the ‘elected representatives of the people’;
 Such supremacy to be rooted on the principles of justice, merit and fairness;
 Violation of this can be resisted to protect the Institutional Integrity of Armed Forces.

Estrangement not Relationship

An institutionalised, well established civil-military relationship would factor in all the above imperatives.

But what is happening now is adhoc and patch-work and there is more of discord than accord! It was inevitable therefore that matters drifted, intrigues prevailed and things have happened that strike at the very integrity of Army as an institution. These include creating and pursuing ‘line of succession’ at senior echelons of the Army; the resultant pre-meditated manipulation of the date-of-birth of a serving Army Chief forcing him to move the Supreme Court where he was advised to ‘blow with the wind’; bribe offered to a serving Army Chief for defence deals in his very office; a corrupt PSU chief involved in TATRA scam, enjoying patronage at highest levels, issuing open threat to a serving Army Chief; leakage of `top Secret’ letter from Army Chief to the Prime Minister about the defence unpreparedness; false and fabricated accusations against Army Chief of spying/snooping on the Defence Minister and what is worse, insidious insinuation of military coup, casting aspersion on the Army Chief himself.

Fall-out of these sordid happenings on the Indian Army is best summed up by Def analyst Maroof Raza: “The system has closed around the chief and this will only embolden the bureaucracy. The fallout will be that at least for two generations, no military commander will raise his head. And the message for military commanders is that it isn’t merit or accuracy of documents that will get them promotions, but pandering to the politico-bureaucratic elite. The last bastion of professional meritocracy in India has crumbled. The damage will be lasting.”

Despite such damning indictment nothing was done to undo the damage. Instead the politico-bureaucratic agenda was rammed through and the ‘line of succession’ consummated. President cum Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces remained mute having become functus officio by allowing politicians and bureaucrats in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to gleefully misuse the delegated powers. The Lady President refused even to meet a delegation of retired General Officers and receive a Memorandum signed by over thousand veterans and concerned citizens. It is evident that despite President being the ‘Government of India’ as per General Clauses Act, is incapable of ensuring adherence to the ‘fundamental principles of justice, merit and fairness’, an essential prerequisite for cordial civil-military relationship.

This epitomises the near total collapse of the institutional framework and alienation between the civil and military hierarchies. The widespread perception is that while the rank and file is subjected to severe disciplinary action for even minor offences, those higher up, with the right connections, can get away with anything and get promoted to highest ranks as long as they remain ‘obedient servants’! Hence this disturbing view, circulating at many levels of military, that it is not worth fighting for a country that is in the grip of ‘conniving, corrupt cabals’. Lord Tennyson’s dictum is being turned on its head!

This is clear manifestation of civil-military estrangement and if allowed to persist, could imperil the security of the nation, both internal and external. Yet the political-bureaucratic combo aided and abetted by a group of groveling former military brass are pursuing activities that pose serious threat to nation’s sovereignty and integration. These include attempts to sell-out Siachen glacier through sinister means and the still-burning NorthEast cauldron due to Army’s Command failure.

Adhocracy, not Bureaucracy?

Despite shortcomings, Indian military is professional in its structure and functioning. It has primary and secondary roles. Former is to preserve national interests and safeguard sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of India against any external threats and the latter is assisting Govt agencies to cope with ‘proxy war’ and other internal threats and provide aid to civil authority when requisitioned for the purpose. In recent times Army is seen more in the secondary role than the primary one. It is in this context that we should critically look at national security, the role of military as well as civil-military relationship so that these could be mainstreamed into the governance architecture.

What are the factors that prevent such mainstreaming? First is the strong administrative, procedural and bureaucratic control over the armed forces without any expertise in military affairs. Second, exclusion of military from crucial decision-making forums, thus denying it a role in policy-making process, strategic assessments and weapons procurement, all having adverse effect on defence preparedness and national security.

Even so, military has considerable autonomy concerning its own affairs: training and education, threat assessments, force structure, doctrine, innovations, appointments (up to a certain rank) and miscellaneous welfare activities. This practice of strong bureaucratic control with military autonomy is paradoxical and could create more conflicts than it could resolve!

Is the control really bureaucratic? One wonders! Bureaucracy administers through laid down rules and is by and large merit-driven. Adhocracy on the other hand is nurtured through violation of processes and procedures to ensure that favoritism and nepotism prevails. Such adhocracy, which is antonymous to meritocracy, has substantially subverted the decision-making process and governance standards vastly encouraging corruption and dishonesty. It started with the civil services, spread to the military and blossomed into a joint-venture between civil and military adhocracies. It is this adhocracy that has severely soured Civil-military relationship.

Needed, a catalyst

Civil and military are both sides of governance. Though military should be an intrinsic part of India’s governance it is not so because there is an inherent conflict between two streams-one of mediocrity versus excellence. As always mediocrity keeps excellence at arm’s length and given the current civil-military equation the twain shall never meet! Instead, driven by self-interest, military, at least the higher echelons seem to be drifting towards mediocrity. This indeed is the dilemma.

The way out is to redefine governance and make ‘Human Security’ as a new paradigm for develop-ment and governance. ‘Human security’ combines and harnesses 4 vital elements-material sufficie-ncy, human dignity, democracy and participatory governance-that constitute the core of a civilised human society. Governance, structured around such concept can strive towards and achieve excellence.

Once we broad-base "defense" or "military" and move towards "human security" sector, civil society participation becomes imperative in national security strategies, military affairs and expenditures. Governance then could really become a catalyst for civil-military relationships and adhocracies will have no place in such relationship. For this to happen a specific role need to be assigned to the civil society so that the issue is dealt with in a democratic rather than adhocratic manner.

A few suggestions

Given the mess that India’s higher defence management is, it would be better to emulate the model that centralises military’s operational authority through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as opposed to the service chiefs and institute parliamentary oversight on defence management. With this concept at the core, following steps could be taken to build and sustain an abiding civil-military relationship:
 Re-visiting the entire rubric of higher defence management and role of bureaucracy, factoring the reports of various committees;

 Legislation to institutionalise the ‘fully joint force’ and Parliamentary oversight/involvement in defence management;
 Amending Government of India Rules of Business 1961 to recognize the role of military in national security making them integral to the governance structure;
 Scrutiny of the delegated authority of the President under Rules of Business and its rectification to prevent misuse for pursuing political and private agenda;
 Abolishing adhocracy in MoD by replacing the archaic ‘generalist’ practice in senior appointments with domain knowledge/experience;
 Reconfiguring national security framework with inputs from all stake-holders and involvement of civil society;
 Bridging the distance between communities, academia, think-tanks and the military through transparency and assistance from civil society.

In conclusion

Two thousand years ago Kautilya famously said: “When diplomats fail to maintain peace, the soldier is called upon to restore peace. When civil administration fails to maintain order, the soldier is called to restore order. As the nation’s final safeguard, the army cannot afford a failure in either circumstance. Failure of army can lead to national catastrophe, endangering the survival of the nation”. The need for an abiding and cordial civil-military relationship cannot be put forth better.

Such relationship cannot float on shallow waters, but should be moored on an unshakable anchor. In war or conflicts military men do not offer the 'supreme sacrifice' just for money or rank. There is something far more precious called 'Honour' and this is embedded in the Chetwood Hall credo which most military leaders have passed through. Civil-military relationship moored on such anchor would subsist on equality and equity, not supremacy and subservience.

Military veterans should set the tone for this relationship by abandoning the current ‘petitioning’ approach to articulate their grievances and replace it with a pride-cum-principle strategy. Only then things will change.

(Thew author is a former Army and IAS Officer)

(Source-Bharatkalyan blog)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

To ensure independence, bring AFT under justice ministry: HC

The Punjab and Haryana high court ruled on Tuesday that the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) be brought under the union ministry of law and justice, taking it out of the purview of the ministry of defence (MoD), to ensure independence in its functioning. The court directions came on a petition

In its ruling, thus, the HC said the administration of justice is a subject matter of the department of justice under the ministry of law and justice as per the Constitution's allocation of business. As the petition also questioned the logic of having two serving bureaucrats on the selection committee examining the suitability of serving or retired HC judges to be appointed to the AFT, the court directed that after bringing the tribunal under the law and justice ministry, suitable amendments in the selection committee could also be carried out.

The bench of chief justice AK Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain said that in India, "unfortunately tribunals have not achieved full independence". "The secretary of the concerned 'sponsoring department' sits in the selection committee for appointment. When the tribunals are formed, they are mostly dependant on their sponsoring department for funding, infrastructure and even space for functioning. The statutes constituting tribunals routinely provide for members of civil services from the sponsoring departments becoming members of the tribunal and continuing their lien with their parent cadre," the bench added. "Unless wide-ranging reforms as were implemented in United Kingdom and as were suggested by Chandra Kumar (a Supreme Court judgment) are brought about, tribunals in India will not be considered as independent."

The court also directed that all vacancies of judicial members' posts in the Chandigarh bench of AFT be filled up in the near future.

(Source-Hindustan Times)

Law Ministry to control AFT: High Court

Chandigarh, January 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) be shifted from the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Law. Taking stock of the legal position and earlier directions by the Supreme Court, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice RK Jain ruled: “Insofar as the Armed Forces Tribunal is concerned, there is hardly any issue that it be brought under the control of Department of Justice in the Ministry of Law and Justice. Mechanism for control over the Armed Forces Tribunal can be worked out by the Department of Justice. Accordingly, we issue a direction to this effect.”

Stating that the AFT Act does not specify as to which ministry should wield control over it, the Bench observed that tribunals in India have not achieved full independence. “The apex court has observed that unless a wholly independent agency of all such tribunals is set up, it is desirable that all such tribunals, as far as possible, be under a single nodal ministry, which will be in a position to oversee the working of these tribunals. For a number of reasons that ministry should appropriately be the Ministry of Law,” the Bench said.

 The judgment, according to legal experts, would go a long way in establishing the independence of judicial functioning through separation of the Judiciary from the Executive. At present, the AFT functions under the MoD, which is a respondent in all cases filed before the tribunal. A public interest litigation filed by Navdeep Singh, a local lawyer, had pointed out that the Supreme Court had already held that tribunals could not be made dependent on the sponsoring or parent ministries and to ensure their independence they could only be supervised by the Law Ministry. The petition had contended that all orders by the AFT were to be passed against the MoD and the same ministry had been made the parent controlling ministry of the tribunal, wielding all pervasive control over the AFT, including appointments, funding, rule-making and infrastructure, thereby making it seem more of an extension of the state rather than an independent judicial body. The petition also pointed out that non-appointment of judicial members after their retirement had resulted in absolute absence of judicial remedy to serving and retired personnel at some places. The Chandigarh Bench, having the largest jurisdiction of five states was also partially functional with only one judicial member appointed out of three. The petition had sought provisioning of proper infrastructure, accommodation and courtesy to the institution of AFT and its members.

Big change
  • Currently, the AFT functions under the MoD, which is a respondent in all cases filed before the tribunal.
  • The judgment, according to legal experts, would go a long way in establishing the independence of judicial functioning through separation of the Judiciary from the Executive.
  • A PIL filed by Navdeep Singh, a lawyer, had pointed out that the SC had already held that tribunals could not be made dependent on the sponsoring or parent ministries and to ensure their independence they could only be supervised by the Law Ministry
  • (Source-The Tribune) 



Nand Singh

Nand Singh in 1944
Born24 September 1914 (1914-09-24)
Died12 December 1947(1947-12-12) (aged 33)
Uri, Kashmir
AllegianceBritish India
Service/branchBritish Indian Army
Indian Army
RankActing Naik (British Indian Army)
Jemadar (Indian Army)
Unit1/11th Sikh Regiment
1 Sikh
Battles/warsWorld War II
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Victoria Cross
Nand Singh VC MVC (24 September 1914 – 12 December 1947) was an Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

He was 29 years old, and an Acting Naik in the 1/11th Sikh Regiment, in the Indian Army during World War II when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 11/12 March 1944 on the Maungdaw-Buthidaung Road, Burma (now Myanmar), Naik Nand Singh, commanding a leading section of the attack, was ordered to recapture a position gained by the enemy. He led his section up a very steep knife-edged ridge under very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire and although wounded in the thigh, captured the first trench. He then crawled forward alone and, wounded again in the face and shoulder, nevertheless captured the second and third trenches.

Later life

He later achieved the rank of Jemadar in the post-independence Indian Army, and his unit 1 Sikh was the first to be involved in the Jammu & Kashmir Operations or Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 which began in October 1947 as Indian troops went into action to repel a planned invasion of J&K by raiders from Pakistan.

On 12 December 1947 Nand Singh led his platoon of D Coy in a desperate but successful attack to extricate his battalion from an ambush in the hills SE of Uri in Kashmir. He was mortally injured by a close-quarters machine-gun burst, and posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra(MVC), the second-highest Indian decoration for battlefield gallantry. This makes Nand Singh unique in the annals of VC winners. The Pakistanis recognised Singh because of his VC ribbon. His body was taken Muzaffarabad where it was tied spreadeagled on a truck and paraded through the city with a loudspeaker proclaiming that this would be the fate of every Indian VC. The soldier’s body was later thrown into a garbage dump, and was never recovered.

Singh belonged to Village Bahadurpur now in district - Mansa, Punjab. A bus stand in town Bareta Shaheed Nand Singh Viktoria Bus Stand is named in his memory. A statue has also been established in Bathinda (locally known as Fauji Chowck) as a memorial for the great warrior.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Special to The ribune - Son’s letter confirms enforced suicide of Nazi General Rommel - (Shyam Bhatia in London)

A revealing letter has confirmed details about the enforced suicide of a Nazi-era German general whose North Africa campaign was blocked with the help of Indian soldiers. Back in 1942-43 during the North Africa campaign, Gen. Erwin Rommel - known as the Desert Fox - commanding the Afrika Korps celebrated a series of battle successes. Allied forces, including elements of the British Indian army, were pushed back to within 90 miles of Alexandria, thereby threatening Cairo, the Suez Canal and the sea route to India.
The Germans were stopped at the First Battle of El Alamein in Jul 42. But they were decisively defeated at the Second Battle of Alamein in October of the same year. The rows and rows of Indian graves at Alamein are testimony to the gallantry of the Indian soldiers from the 5th, 9th and 10th Indian Infantry Divisions and the Indian 18th, 29th and 161st Infantry Brigades who died resisting the Germans. Indian casualties amounted to 3,000 from the 5th Inf Div alone. After the North Afrika campaign, Rommel was redeployed to Greece, France and Germany, where he was implicated in the 1944 military plot to kill Hitler. In October 1944, when details of the plot were revealed, Hitler offered Rommel two choices, either to face a People’s Court or to commit suicide. Rommel chose the suicide option by biting into a cyanide capsule supplied to him by two fellow German generals who visited him at his home. The description of how he was led away to his death is contained in a letter written by his then teenage son, Manfred, who says in his recently discovered hand written account how his father “told me that he had taken leave of my mother, and that Adolph Hitler had given him the choice between taking poison or being brought before the People’s Court. Adolph Hitler had also let him know that in the event of his committing suicide, nothing was to happen to his family, the family on the contrary would be provided for… “Having said farewell to me... my father left the house in uniform, we accompanying (sic) him to the car where the general saluted him with Hail Hitler.  “My father got into the car first and took a seat in the back followed by the generals... the car drove off. 15 minutes later, we had a telephone call from the general hospital that my father had been brought there by the two generals and had apparently succumbed there to an attack of cerebral apoplexy. “In my last talk with my father, he told me that he had been suspected of complicity in the 20th July, 1944 plot. “The Fuhrer, he was informed, did not wish to lower his prestige with the German people, so was offering him the chance of a voluntary death by means of a poison pill.“It would have a mortal effect within 5 seconds. In the event of his refusing, he was to be arrested immediately.”  Young Rommel’s letter was part of a collection of documents that once belonged to an officer who served on the staff of British army chief Sir Bernard Montgomery (later Viscount Montgo-mery of Alamein). As for Manfred Rommel, now 84-year-old, he first became a civil servant before entering local politics and going on to serve as Lord Mayor of Stuttgart from 1974 till 1996. He is the recipient of honours from the French, German, Israeli and Egyptian authorities.

Fatal choice
  • General Erwin Rommel (pic) was implicated in the 1944 military plot to kill Hitler
  • Hitler had offered the General two choices, either to face a People’s Court or to commit suicide
  • Rommel chose the suicide option by biting into a cyanide capsule supplied to him by two fellow German generals
(Source-The Tribune)