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Thursday, June 5, 2008

V IMP :Grant better pensionary benefits to all PBOR retirees irrespective of date of retirement : High Court

VERY IMPORTANT : Grant better pensionary benefits to all PBOR retirees irrespective of date of retirement and provide improved pension with effect from 1-1-1996 and not from 1-1-2006 : Punjab & Haryana High Court

The Govt of India had constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the demand of ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) and the report was submitted in the year 2006. While not accepting the demand of OROP in totality, the GoM had recommended a parity and additional weightage for PBOR irrespective of date of retirement / discharge and that too with relation to the maximum of post 1-1-96 (post 5th CPC) pay scales. An additional weightage to all existing, past and future pensioners @ 10 years for Sepoy, 8 years for Naik and 6 years for Havaldar was also recommended which in simple terms meant that a Sepoy retiring with 15 years service was to be granted a pension by taking his service as 25 years. And the positive aspect of this was that this additional weightage was to be granted for all pensioners irrespective of date of retirement and the calculation was to be made by taking the maximum end of post 1996 scales even for pre 1996 retirees. As a result, to take an example, the pension of a Sepoy who retired around 1996 with 15 years of service was enhanced to Rs 2245 (excluding DA) while that of a Sepoy who retired in 1947 was enhanced to Rs 2208 (excluding DA), a very minor difference. This policy has already been implemented but till date remains unknown to many of our veterans - but that’s another story altogether. The nomenclature of OROP was not given to this policy so as to avoid demands for the same from other sections of employees, instead it was referred to as ‘modified parity’ or ‘improvement in pension of PBOR’ and a minimal difference for that reason was kept between pension of retirees of different eras (though it remains to be seen how it would be configured with 6th CPC recommendations). The aim of the policy was to grant an across the board increase in weightage to all retirees irrespective of the date of retirement and to base the pension on the maximum of post 1996 scales (you may call it “one rank - one weightage - one scale” policy :-) ) and to remove an anomaly which arose after 5th CPC due to which pre-1996 pensioners were at a loss.

The relevant part of the said policy is as follows :

“2. Finally, GOM unanimously recommended that the
pension of pre 1.1.1996 retiree PBOR may be revised with
reference to the maximum of post 1.1.1996 pay scale. In
addition, the weightage of Sepoy, Naik and Havildar ranks for
past as well as future retirees be increased to 10, 8 and 6 years
respectively subject to a maximum qualifying service of 30
years. The benefit would be given only in respect of service

3. The above recommendations of the GOM have been
accepted by the Government. Sanction of the President is
hereby accorded to the modifications to the extent specified in
this letter in the relevant Rules / Regulations / Instructions
concerning pensionary benefits of the PBOR.”

The said policy was however only implemented with effect from 1-1-2006. The same was challenged in the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court. In a major decision affecting all PBOR, the High Court has now held in Civil Writ Petition No 6223 of 2007, that the said policy would be applicable from 1-1-1996 and not from 1-1-2006 as made applicable by the Central Govt because the aim of the policy was also to remove an anomaly created by the 5th CPC. The Hon’ble Court has held that since the anomaly arose in 1996, it would have to be removed with effect from 1996 and not 2006. The Hon’ble Court has also observed the following :-

“The plea of financial constraints has been raised in respect of lowest paid employees of the Armed Forces, when all other categories of employees including services have been given the benefit. Such discriminatory treatment is wholly arbitrary.”

1 comment:

DESTINY4U said...

kudos to Maj Navdeep for his yeoman service and the landmark decision that would benefit so many militray personnel. Hats off to u.