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Friday, June 24, 2016
Ex-Servicemen move SC for 'fair' OROP working, annual revision
The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) has moved the Supreme Court seeking implementation of one rank one pension scheme in a fair manner with an automatic revision on annual basis instead of the current policy of periodic review of once in five years.
IESM along with other ex-service personnel has assailed the NDA government's policy of periodic review once in five years, saying that such an approach was dilution of the February 26, 2014, announcement by which the revision in the pension was to automatically pass on to the past pensioners on the annual basis.
Confirming that they have moved the top court seeking fair and automatic revision in pension on annual basis, Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (retired), spearheading the movement for OROP, told IANS, "As per the original definition given by government of India on February 26, 2014, the change in pensions would have been automatically passed on to past pensioners every year."
"It (Feb. 26, 2014 announcement) had said that whenever there was a change in rate of pension, it would be automatically passed on to past pensioner. It should be done every year but government has now made provision for revision every five years. This kills the very soul of OROP," said Satbir Singh.
The petition which is likely to be argued by the senior counsel Ram Jethamalani when the top court opens after the summer vacations has contended that five-yearly periodic review did not meet the demand of the ex-servicemen seeking one rank one pension for the service personnel who had retired with same length of service in the same rank.
Seeking annual revision of the pension for the past pensioners, the IESM in its petition has referred to the December 19, 2011, report of the Rajya Sabha's Petition Committee then headed by Bhagat Singh Koshyari which rejected all reservation advanced by the government while "strongly recommending" OROP.
In its 142nd report, the Koshyari Committee had said, "the Committee strongly recommends that Government should implement OROP in the defence forces across the board at the earliest".
Having recommended the implementation of OROP, the Koshyari Committee said, "for future, the pay, allowances, pension, family pension, etc. in respect of the defence personnel should be determined by a separate commission so that their peculiar terms and conditions of service, the nature of duties they are required to perform, etc., which are quite different from the civilian work force, are duly taken into account while taking decision on the same."
Koshyari, who was Rajya Sabha member belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party, was Uttarakhand Chief Minister from October 30, 2001 to May 1, 2002.
The petition by the IESM has referred to September 9, 2008, Supreme Court verdict by which it had directed that "the pay of all pensioners in the rank of Major General and its equivalent rank in the two other Wings of the Defence Services be notionally fixed at the rate given to similar officers of the same rank after the revision of pay scales with effect from 1.1.1996, and, thereafter, to compute their pensionary benefits on such basis with prospective effect from the date of filing of the writ petition."
While directing the government to pay the difference in the revised pension and what Major Generals and their equivalent ranks in the Air Force and the Navy were getting earlier within three months with interest at 10 per cent per annum, the court had dismissed the plea by the Centre challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement.
The high court by its May 26, 2005, judgement had directed the Centre to fix minimum pay scale of the Major General above that of the Brigadier and grant pay above that of a Brigadier as has been done in the case of post-January 1, 1996, retirees and consequently fix the pension and family pension accordingly.