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Friday, July 18, 2008

Interesting defence related RTI Query, equally interesting order by the Central Info Commission

Lt Col Kartar Singh of Dehradun had floated an interesting RTI Application. Though it was not exactly under the purview of the RTI Act and his queries did not even qualify the definition of ‘information’, here is what he had sought :-

Note :- The spelling mistakes / grammatical errors are not mine :-)

“(a) After the Supreme Court’s judgment, the issue of one rank
one pension was taken up with the then Prime Minister,
Indira Gandhi but IAS Cadre opposed it. When under the
similar circumstances, the Court’s Directive was
implemented in respect of their civilian counter part while the
MPs and the Judiciary got themselves entitled to the same.
Why then the Defence Pensioners were denied their rights,
justice and equality and treated so shabbily? Please
intimate the name (s) and designation (s) of the officer (s)
who was/ were responsible for the discrimination and one (s)
who approved this and their reasons to negate the Supreme
Court’s Directive and later the 4th and 5th CPC’s

(b) Rajiv Gandhi promised one rank one pension in his election
manifesto but after his victory said there were financial
constraints. Please give the name (s) of the officer (S) who
gave this advice and why?

(c) The then President of India addressing the first non
Congress government declared on the floor of the
Parliament House that his Government shall implement one
rank one pension but later nothing materialized. Who was
the person responsible to over ride the President’s
declaration and why?

(d) Why, after the Supreme Court Directive of Dec 1982, the
verdict of the specifically set up Central Administrative
Tribunal in favour of the pre 1973 defence pensioners
recommending the benefits of 1973 measures was never
implemented? And why later spilt hairs by going to the
Supreme Court and not honouring the agreement reached
between the advocates of the pensioners (will not insist for
gratuity) and of the government (not of oppose hike in
pension) thereby committing a breach of faith and trust?

(e) Why the recommendations of the 4th and 5th CPCs were
implemented in respect of civilian pensioners but those
relating to the Defence personnel and Pensioners were
modified to discriminate them? Please give name (S) and
designation (S) of the officer (S) for this divide and rule
policy and discrimination between the same class of people.
Photo copy of the internal file nothings justifying the denial
please be given.

(f) Why were the recommendation of the high level committees
set up by the government and chaired by Mr. Singh Deo,
and Shri Aeun Singh to grant one Rank one Pension were
not implemented? Please name the person and his reasons
to derail the justice. Please give photo copy of the internal
file nothings.

(g) Why the weight age to extend the actual service to 33 years
as pension able service was fixed arbitrarily as this amount
to breach of trust and faith. Please name the person for this
arbitrary decision and his reasons (please give the photo
copy of the internal file notings at all the levels.

(h) On what legal ground committees of Group of Ministers were
constituted later to negate and over ride the Supreme Court
Directive, the 4th and 5th CPCs recommendations and not
undo the arbitrary fixation of weight age that was to ensure
33 years pensionable service.

(i) Why the recommendations vide (d) and (f) were rejected (not
implemented) but those of at (h) were accepted. Please
name the advisor (s) in both the cases with detailed reasons.

(j) What is the government’s intention to refer to the 6th CPC
the issue of non implementation of Supreme Court’s
Directive and the recommendations of the last two CPCs
related to Defence Services Pensioners? Is it to further
delay the due rights and justice to the senior pensioners on
the verge of kicking the bucket so that more may die or is it
to seek approval of the arbitrary and discriminatory decision
making process of divide and rule.

(k) Why do the politician occupying the seat of power and
bureaucrat advisors feel/ think that they can legally reduce,
redefine and negate Supreme Court’s Directives and every
thing in the Constitution to suit their convenience and ulterior
motives? If ‘not’ then why this “non implementation” of the
Supreme Court Directive dated 17th December 1982 as well
as the recommendation of the 4th and 5th CPCs in respect of
Defence Services and Pensioners only. (Details of inter
office noting on the files leading to denial of justice please be

(l) Why did the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri misled the Parliament
when answering a supplementary to Un Starred question
No. 206 in December 2004, that there were no anomalies in
implementation of V CPC pension Award for Ex-Servicemen;
(Para 3 of his statement) when they are there a plenty in
black and white. Please name the person who wrote this
brief over looking the ground realities.

(m) Will, those responsible for arbitrariness and discriminatory
policies ever realize that, “if the treatment of those who
served to protect the national integrity, (giving the best part
of their lives) cannot be liberal or constructive and injustice
rectified, then, the Defences Forces will be filled with more
time servers than in the past and will stagnate to be a great
waste of ‘nation’s treasure in time to come”? Indications of
this unfortunately are already there and very much visible
and disturbing.

(n) Every time the issue of non implementation of the one rank
one pension and recommendations of the CPCs is taken up,
the response always has been the non existing boggy of
financial constraints. If this (financial constraints) is the
honest truth then will the government please answer why
these very financial constraints were not or are not
hindrance or are of no concern and therefore, not applicable

(aa) Civilian Pensioners.

(ab) MPs and MLAs.

(ac) Judiciary.

(ad) Granting of pensionary benefits recently to those MPs of by
gone days not entitled to so far.

(ae) Recent hike of Rs. 35,000/- in salary/ perks of Delhi MLAs
when the capital suffers lack of proper drainage system,
water, electricity and effective law and orders.

(af) MPs, voting for themselves ever increasing salaries,
pensions and perks by thousand of rupees so often and now
DA to RS. 1000/-pd when their food, residence and transport
is heavily subsidized/

(ag) Misuse of local area development fund by MPs as recently
exposed; crores are being wasted there being less of
development and more of corrupt practices.

(ah) Writing off damaged food grains worth crores of rupees
every year or so because of poor storage and lack of
effective supervision and control…

(ai) Writing off framers loans and electricity charges worth
thousand of crores every now and then without eliminating
the real cause of their problems- grossly reduced fertility of
land due to ever increasing input and over use of expensive
chemicals every year.

(aj) Creation of a renewal fund of RS. 500/- crores for the benefit
of the labour force of the Public sector Undertakings
incurring recurring losses.

(ak) When crores of rupees of the public money is wasted so
often in the Parliament due to non issues being raised,
stoppage of proceedings when the MPs disobey the
Speaker, followed by Frequent walk outs and avoidable
adjournment of the House.

(al) When the pension of a lakh of freedom fighters (who are still
said to be alive) is increased to over Rs. 10000/- pm when it
has been accepted that more than 40% are fake.

(am) The recent decision to pay Haj subsidies (Rs. 10000/- ph) to
additional 10000 Muslims (total now being 1,10000) every
year when India is a secular nation and the religion a
personal matter.

(an) Crores being spent on advertisements by the Centre to built
images of the political leaders.”

And here is what the Hon’ble Commission decided, an interesting order :

Having heard the parties and examined the record we find that indeed each of the questions posed under the heading Information sought and required are not requests for information but assertion with a wealth of innuendo. Even where information can be purported to have been sought, this cannot be defined as information u/s 2 (f) read with Section 2 (j) of the RTI Act and it refers to seeking the identity of those who in the view of appellant ‘conspired’ to deny servicemen their pensions. It can only, therefore, be inferred from the statement of respondent Shri Harbans Singh that such information as is sought by Lt. Col. Kartar Singh is not held by the public authority. What is clear from the application and the arguments before us is that Lt. Col. Kartar Singh nurses a deep grievance in the manner in which decisions of the Supreme Court regarding pre-1986 Defence Services Pensioners Pension have been disposed of.

Whereas, therefore, the request of Lt. Col. Kartar Singh is outside the purview of the RTI Act, giving due weight to the grievance held by this very senior officer of our Armed Forces and with fullest respect for his services to the nation, we have agreed to refer this matter to the Minister of Defence Shri A.K. Antony for sympathetic consideration.


Anonymous said...

Quite interesting ! But the Defence Minister is helpless. CIC referring the matter to him is not likely to give any positive results. Antony failed in his efforts to do something for the Armed Forces as regards the VI CPC - it seems the Cabinet did not agree to the proposed increases.Lt Col kartar Singh's querries are very pertinent. Director Pensions, Harbans Singh's response is on expected lines.

Anonymous said...

Armed forces can boast of winning many battles but on home front they seem to have failed miserably..

Anonymous said...

Well if RTI is to be used to get some positive results is by deciding the type of information being sought.Example:Total no of persons getting freedom fighter pension. Total amount spent for MPs/MLAs per year.Details of all benefeciaries of 60000 crore loan waiver.