Feel free to contribute on burning issues concerning the armed forces. Contributions would be acknowledged - Use the 'Comments' tab or email navdeepsingh.india[at]gmail.com. No operational/business/commercial matters to be discussed please. Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained. Information on this blog is opinion based and is neither official nor in the form of an advice. This is a pro bono online journal in public service related to issues, policies and benefits, and the idea behind it is to educate and not to create controversy or to incite. Be soft in your language, respect Copyrights.

Friday, August 29, 2008

(UPDATED) See it here first : It’s finally here - the govt resolution / notification on Sixth Pay Commission

So friends, here is the resolution on the 6th CPC even before the official release. Nothing to gain for the armed forces as far as the status aspect is concerned.

Though this resolution is for civilian employees, but it shall give you a broad idea of the modalities of pay fixation and the scales.

The problematic areas vis-à-vis the defence services mainly relate to the pay and status of Lt Col and the status of Brigadier.

The earlier pay equation till the rank of Brig was :

II. Capt/STS
VI. Col
VII. Brig

This has been changed by the 6th CPC and approved by the Cabinet into :

I. Lt (0) /JTS (0)
II. Capt (2)
III. Maj (6) / STS (4)
IV. Lt Col (13) / JAG (9)
V. Col (20) / NFSG (13)
VI. Brig (28) / DIG (14)

(JTS – Junior Time Scale, STS – Senior Time Scale, JAG – Junior Administrative Grade, NFSG – Non-Functional Selection Grade. The numbers in brackets are the requisite years of service to reach the rank)

While the downgradation of the ranks of Capt and Major does not pinch much because the time-frame of promotions has been brought down, it is the ranks of Lt Col and Brig where we have suffered a set back. The logical system of ranking should have been Lt/JTS – Capt – STS – Major – Lt Col / NFSG – DIG – Col – Brig. Now officially, a Major has been brought down to Senior Time Scale (STS) level. A Lt Col is now equivalent to Junior Adm Grade (JAG) and a Col has been equated with Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG). The rank of a DIG who was till date between a Lt Col and a Colonel is now officially equal to a Brigadier. Both are now on a Grade Pay of Rs 8900.

The only consolation is that the Air Chief in his capacity of Officiating Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, has already thrown a (constructive) spanner in the works.


Click here for Part 1 of the notification

Click here for Part 2 of the notification

Click here for Part 3 of the notification

Some highlights of the resolution :

1. Pay Bands-1, 2 and 4 amended to 5200-20200, 9300-34800 and 37400-6700 respectively.

2. A new Pay Band of Rs 75500-80000 introduced.

3. Grade Pay of 6100 improved to 6600, 6600 improved to 7600, 7600 improved to 8700, 8400 improved to 8900, 9000 improved to 10000 and 11000 improved to 12000.

4. Edge of IAS officers in Grade Pays abolished, they are now to be granted two additional increments in the same scale and grade pay.

5. The time period of 14 years to attain the Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) for IAS officers again reverted back to 16 years.

6. Multiple factor changed to 1.86 and increment raised to 3%.

7. Campus restriction for transport allowance abolished. Officers staying within the campus also authorized to Transport Allowance. Transport Allowance to be Rs 3200 for Lieutenants/JTS and above in A1/A class cities and Rs 1600 in other cities. DA to be paid on Transport Allowance.

8. Anomalies Committees to examine individual, post-specific and cadre-specific anomalies. The Anomalies Committees to complete their work in one year.

9. CPMFs/CPOs to be granted same allowances as defence services.

10. HRA to be 30% of Basic+Grade Pay+MSP+NPA in X class cities (50 lac+), 20% in Y class cities (5-50 lac) and 10% in Z class cities (less than 5 lac).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

(UPDATED) Services to officially take up downgradation of status and pay of Lt Col

The services are all set to officially take up the issue of downgradation of the rank of Lt Col by the Anomalies Committee vis-à-vis the civilian counterparts. The Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee is already in the picture and a step towards the right direction was also taken by the Air Chief according to reports. For all those who have been cribbing about inaction by the service top brass to tackle the issue, rest assured that the three Chiefs are doing their best to reduce such anomalies to the barest minimum. It’s a tough job up there and we must realize it.

For the uninitiated on the issue, following may be recalled for the sake of repetition :-


Pre-revised 4th CPC pay scale of Lt Col : Rs 4700 - Rs 5900

Pre-revised 4th CPC pay scale of Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) of the Civil Services : Rs 4100 - Rs 5300 / Rs 4500 - Rs 5700 (Two Grades)


Pre-revised 5th CPC pay scale of Lt Col : Rs 15,100 – Rs 18,700

Pre-revised 5th CPC pay scale of Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) of the Civil Services : Rs 14,300 – Rs 18,300


Post-revised 6th CPC pay scale of Lt Col : Rs 15900 – Rs 39100 (Pay Band – 3 ) with Grade Pay of Rs 7600

Post-revised 6th CPC pay scale of Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) of the Civil Services : Rs 37,400 – Rs 67000 (Pay Band – 4) with a Grade Pay of Rs 8700

And now Ladies & Gentlemen, the clincher :

Pay received by a Lt Col on the bottom of scale as on 01-01-2006 as per 5th CPC rates : Rs 28,000 (Appx)

Pay received by a civil NFSG officer at the bottom of scale as on 01-01-2006 as per 5th CPC rates: Rs 26,500 (Appx)

Basic Pay of a Lt Col as on 01-08-2008 as per 6th CPC rates : Rs 31,500 (Appx)

Basic Pay of a civil NFSG officer as on 01-08-2008 as per 6th CPC rates : Rs 45,000 (Appx)

NFSG officers who were drawing a pay lesser than Lt Colonels are now in Pay Band-4 while Lt Colonels remain in Pay Band – 3. NFSG officers on the civil side include Superintending Engineers (SEs) of the Central Engineering Services, Directors of Govt of India, Commandants in Central Police Organizations, Addl Commissioners of Income Tax, Scientists ‘E’ of Central Scientific Departments etc. The time taken to reach NFSG by a directly recruited Civil Services Group A officer is 13 years and it was to maintain this parity that the time span for promotion to the rank of Lt Col was also reduced to 13 years. A section of civilian officers have pointed out that while a DPC (Departmental Promotion Committee) is held for NFSG and even lower ranks, the same is not done for Lt Colonels and hence NFSG officers need to be provided an edge over Lt Colonels. It may however be pointed out here that every service has a different criterion and system for promotions, while Army officers have to pass promotion exams and have to meet other criteria such as medical requirements, the system followed by the civil services is different. On the other hand, 100% of directly appointed Group A Civil Services officers recruited through the Central Civil Services Examination make it to NFSG unless there is a disciplinary/ vigilance hitch, hence the term ‘Selection Grade’ in that sense is a misnomer. Some officers have asked whether rank pay is to be added into basic pay. The answer lies in Para 2(b) of Special Army Instruction 2/S/98 issued by the Govt of India which says that rank pay is very much a part of basic pay, hence it is to be added into basic for all intents and purposes. Any letter to the contrary issued by any officer in the MoD by self interpretation has no force of law or legal sanctity.

Also read the below from Yahoo.Com

Anomaly in reviewed pay commission: IAF chief

Wed, Aug 27 07:35 PM

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS)
The government must take immediate steps to restore the parity in the pay scales of officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonels and equivalent with their civilian and Coast Guard counterparts who have been awarded more emoluments by the Sixth Pay Commission, says Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major.

Major has made the plea in a letter to Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Indian Navy chief, urging him to intervene before the government implements the recommendations made by the pay commission.

"The finance ministry is introducing yet another anomaly by lowering the extant of parities of officers of the armed forces, of the Lt. Col. (and equivalent), by retaining them in pay band-3, while raising similarly placed civilian and paramilitary officers to pay band-4," Major wrote in the letter sent Monday. A copy of the letter was made available to IANS.

"It is reliably learnt that civilian and paramilitary officers in the extant pay scales S-24 (Rs.14,300-400-18,300) and S-25 (Rs.15,100-400-18,300) will be placed in pay band-4, whereas the same is being denied to the armed forces officers (Lt. Col. and equivalent) who were already in S-25," Major said.

The IAF chief has pointed that because of this the civilian officers who were in the lower pay bracket (S-24) and were hitherto drawing lesser pay than Lieutenant Colonels and officers of equivalent ranks would now draw a higher basic salary.

At present, the India Army, the Indian Navy and IAF have 11,187, 3,528 and 4,216 officers, respectively, of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent.

"This is not just affecting a Lt. Col. Because of this the pay of Coast Guard's commandant with 23 years of experience will be equivalent to a Rear Admiral with 30 years of experience," a senior army official said.

The cabinet Aug 14 cleared the revised recommendations of the pay commission, granting huge hikes to five million government employees, with special attention paid to military and paramilitary personnel.

According to the government, the revision translates into a 20 percent hike over the 40 percent across-the-board increase the pay commission had recommended.

The government promised at least three promotions for defence personnel and civilian employees under the modified assured career progression (ACP) scheme.

Civilians will be assured of promotions after 10, 20 and 30 years of service. Junior and non-commissioned officers and personnel below officer rank (PBOR) will be eligible for this after 8, 16 and 24 years of work.

The Military Service Pay recommended by the pay commission has been doubled to Rs.2,000 for PBORs and retained at Rs.6,000 for officers up to the rank of brigadiers.

Middle level officers - colonels, brigadiers and equivalent - are now placed in the highest pay band of PB-4. Lieutenant generals overlooked for promotion as army commanders due to lack of residual service will get the grade of an army commander.

The report of the Sixth Pay Commission, headed by Justice (retd) B.N. Srikrishna, was submitted to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram March 24.

It led to protests from both civilian and defence personnel, following which the government appointed a committee under Cabinet Secretary K. Chandrashekhar to study the various demands for financial corrections.

The three service chiefs also made a joint representation to Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On popular demand : Gallery on the Sixth Pay Commission and Warrant of Precedence

Many queries related to detailed analysis of the Sixth Pay Commission and the Warrant of Precedence have been directed to this blog. Most of the answers are however substantially contained in various older posts on this blog. Many readers have recommended a separate gallery / section on the blog for 6th CPC and WoP. Keeping in view this popular demand, I’m posting the links to all detailed posts on the Pay Commission and WoP that were ever posted on the blog. Happy Reading !

And Sirs and Madams, Emails / Q& A / Queries on military benefits, issues and the PayCom are more than welcome on navdeepsingh.india@gmail.com but not individual requests for calculation of emoluments / pension / arrears. I’m in a demanding profession, I hope you understand :-)


Main Approved recommendations for the Military

Main Recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission

Thank You.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Military Grade Pays enhanced, but for status, well it’s status quo !!

As all visitors on this blog must be knowing by now, after the 6th CPC, grade pay shall be the only determinant of inter-se status between various ranks / posts / grades. And this is where we took a beating when the status of military ranks was downgraded by atleast one step on each level below Maj Gen. Of course, besides status, the depressed scales of grade pay also have a direct bearing on total emoluments.

This was the rough post 5th CPC pay equivalence vis-à-vis the civil services based on starting pay reproduced in brackets below :

I. Junior Time Scale (8000)
II. Lieutenant (8250)
III. Captain (10000) / Senior Time Scale (10000)
IV. Junior Administrative Grade (12000)
V. Junior Administrative Grade of the IAS (12750)
VI. Major (12800)
VII. Non-Functional Selection Grade (14300)
VIII. Lt Col (15100) / Non-Functional Selection Grade of the IAS (15100)
IX. DIG (16400)
X. Colonel (17100)

(Note : Rank Pay is to be added into the erstwhile pay-scales for all intents and purposes and it forms a part of basic pay as per Para 2(b) of SAI 2/S/98)

The above equation was changed in accordance with a self created status and pay equivalence by the 6th CPC to the following (Grade Pays are in brackets) :

I. Lieutenant (5400) / Junior Time Scale (5400)
II. Captain (5700)
III. Major (6100) / Senior Time Scale (6100)
IV. Senior Time Scale of IAS (6500)
V. Lt Colonel (6600) / Junior Administrative Grade (6600)
VI. Junior Administrative Grade of the IAS (7500)
VII. Colonel (7600) / Non-Functional Selection Grade (7600)
VIII. Non-Functional Selection Grade of the IAS (8300)
IX. Brigadier (8400) / DIG (8400)

Because of the disturbance of the status equation, the Services accordingly sought enhanced Grade Pays for military ranks to the tune of 6100 for Captain, 6600 for Major, 7600 for Lt Colonel, 8300 for Colonel and 8900 for Brigadier so that the earlier equation could be restored.

The Cabinet has accordingly approved the enhancement of Grade Pays and now a Capt shall be entitled to 6100, Major 6600, Lt Col 7600, Col 8700 and a Brig 8900.

But the problem is that alongwith the enhancement of Grade Pays for military ranks, the Grade Pays of civilian grades have also been upgraded. To take an example, we had sought 7600 for a Lt Col to bring the rank atleast at par with Non-Functional Selection Grade, but now while Lt Col has been upgraded to 7600, the civil equivalent of Non-Functional Selection Grade has been pushed up to a Grade Pay of 8700 both for IAS and other services. Our Colonel has also been placed in the Grade Pay of 8700. Interestingly while the Non-Functional Selection Grade of the civil services is now in Pay Band-4 (37400-67000) with a Grade Pay of 8700, our Lt Col (who is till date drawing more salary than Non-Functional Selection Grade) is now in Pay Band -3 (15900-39100) with a Grade Pay of 7600. Another myth (even within the fauji community) is that an officer reaches the rank of Colonel in 15-18 years. This is incorrect. In the services, the time taken to reach the rank of substantive Colonel is still 20 years, rest are Acting Colonels - and we all know how many Lt Colonels make it to full Colonel. On the other hand, the time taken for all directly recruited Group A Civil Services officers to reach Non-Functional Selection Grade (that has now been equated with a Colonel) is 13 years.

Another detailed analysis would follow once the Grade Pays for Civil Grades are officially made public.

Also see this report by ‘The Tribune’

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Before you proceed, some notes :

1. Though individual emails and emails on important issues are more than welcome and encouraged, I would appeal all visitors on the blog not to send separate mails requesting me to individually calculate their emoluments / arrears.

2. The following calculators are meant only for serving officers. Pensioners are advised to wait since the modalities on pension approved by the Cabinet are not yet out in black and white.

3. Whenever this blog refers to erstwhile post-5th CPC pay-scales, the rank pay is included in basic pay of Commissioned Officers since the said rank pay is a part of basic pay for all intents and purposes including status as per the relevant Special Army Instructions issued by the MoD.

4. As of now, this blog is intentionally refraining from providing a calculator for serving PBOR because of the multiplicity of former pay-scales (different for the three services and also different for X,Y & Z groups) which may result in utter chaos.
Well, this blog has finally succumbed to pressure for providing an approximation of new emoluments. I’ve been flooded with emails demanding to know what the new scales would translate into for serving officers. I am reproducing a ‘Sixth Pay Commission’ calculator (in accordance with the revised recommendations - thanks to staff corner) which can be used to calculate the total emoluments with effect from 01 Jan 2006 and also the arrears that are be expected. The military service pay (MSP) is not to be added since it has been made applicable only from 01 Sept 2008. I would also recommend that this calculator may not yet be used for the rank of Lt Col since the controversy surrounding the said scale has not yet been resolved. Also the amount thus derived would be close and approximate since the Grade Pay (GP) controversy has not yet been addressed, to take an example, the pay-scale of a Maj was closest to the civil scale of 12750-16500 which has been granted a Grade Pay of 7500 whereas a Maj has only been granted 6600. A Lt Col's closest scale was 15100-18300 which now enjoys Pay Band-4 with 8300 as GP whereas a Lt Col as of now remains in Pay Band-3 with 6600 as GP.
And friends, for all those who lament about not receiving prompt replies these days from me through email, please don’t forget that I have a demanding profession to look after :-)
This electronic calculator is more accurate for ranks of full Colonel and above.
For ranks upto Lt Col, you may use the manual system of calculation reproduced below towards the end of this post.

Since this e-calculator is meant for civilian scales, the following closest scales may be selected for military ranks :

For Lieutenant, select the civil scale of 8000-13500

For Capt, select the civil scale of 10000-15200

For Major, select the civil scale of 12750-16500

For Lt Col : Hold your horses till the PB-3/PB-4 controversy is settled

For Colonel, select the civil scale of 16400-20000

For Brig, approximation would not be correct due to unavailability of equivalent civil scale, but select the civil scale of 16400-20000 (and also select additional six increments than actual in the calculator) w.e.f 1-1-2006 for a rough idea

For Maj Gen, select the civil scale of 18400-22400 (Note : An additional fitment increment of Rs 6000 would be granted notionally to Maj Generals and Lt Generals w.e.f 1-1-2006 on account of MSP)

For Lt Gen, select the civil scale of 22400-24500 (Note : An additional fitment increment of Rs 6000 would be granted notionally to Maj Generals and Lt Generals w.e.f 1-1-2006 on account of MSP)

For Army Cdr / GOC-in-C, select the civil scale of 26000 fixed

For COAS, select the civil scale of 30000 fixed

Please also add Rs 6000 in your emoluments w.e.f 1-9-2008 on account of Military Service Pay. Please also note that DA shall be admissible on MSP also.


Or of course, if you have the time, you may do it manually (and more accurately) for ranks upto Lt Col assuming Lt Colonels are in Pay Band-3 as per current implementation :-

Add up Basic Pay and Rank Pay as on 1-1-2006

Multiply the above figure by 1.86

Add Grade Pay of your rank (As per modified recommendations, the Grade Pays for Lt, Capt, Maj and Lt Col are 5400, 6100, 6600 and 7600 respectively)

Add three increments of 3% per year till date

On the figure thus obtained, add MSP of Rs 6000

On the figure thus obtained, add DA of 16% as applicable on date

This would be your total salary on which you may add all allowances including KMA, Tpt etc as applicable


Thursday, August 14, 2008

UPDATED - See it here first, 6th Pay Commission modified report as approved by the Cabinet is out :

The revised report as recommended by the Anomalies committee and as approved by the Union Cabinet is out.

What it means for the military is this:

1. As reported months earlier on this blog, Colonels and Brigadiers are now to be shifted to Pay Band-4. But status wise this does not mean much for the forces since the equivalent (and lower) civil posts have also been shifted to Pay Band-4. To take an example, the post of Superintending Engineer (SE) in the Central Engineering Services, which is equivalent to a Lt Col, has also been granted Pay Band-4 as has been granted to a Full Colonel. Interestingly, the modified report with much fanfare announces that Colonels and Brigs have been shifted to PB-4 of Rs 39200-67000. But if we go on and read the fine print, we find that civilians of equivalent and lower grades have also been placed in the same grade. As described above, an SE of the Central Engineering Services or a Director Govt of India who were in the 5th CPC pay grade of Rs 14,300-18,300 have been put in PB-4 (Rs 39,200-67,000) while a Lt Col who was receiving more pay and was in a higher 5th CPC pay grade of Rs 15,100-18,700 has been placed behind them to languish in PB-3 (Rs 15,600-39,100). Same is the case with Addl Commissioners of Income Tax, Addl Commissioners of Central Excise and Scientists 'E', all of whom were drawing a lesser pay than a Lt Col - and all of whom have now been placed in PB-4 thereby not only bypassing our Lt Colonels in pay but also in status. Hence, service personnel need not be very happy by the illusory upliftment of the grades of Colonels and Brigadiers as far as status is concerned since the same has been applied to civilians too – nothing special has been done for the Army in this case. Of course, monetarily speaking, the figures are not bad since MSP of Rs 6000 and the respective grade pays would be added up into the pay of officers, it is only the status equation which has been disturbed. There are also indications that PB-4 is going to be rehashed and the starting figure (Rs 39,200) may be decreased by about Rs 2000.

(Note : I’ve received some emails / comments stating that there is no information of upward shift of Civil officers such as SEs and Directors Govt of India in the erstwhile scale of Rs 14,300-18,300 into PB-4, some have also said that in the press release by PTI, no such information is mentioned and that this may only be a rumour. However anybody who may have doubts about this is welcome to now browse the official Cabinet Release by the Press Information Bureau which is available here and which has confirmed the above statement of mine. Read Serial Numbers 6 and 10 of the official release, and all doubts would be laid to rest. This blog does NOT promote rumours)

2. MSP for PBOR doubled to Rs 2000/-.

3. Lt Generals overlooked for appointment as Army Commanders (GOsC-in-C) due to lack of residual service would now be granted the Army Commander’s Grade of Rs 80,000/- (fixed) that is also granted to Secretary to Govt of India. MSP of Rs 6000 to be taken into account notionally w.e.f 1-1-2006 while fixing the new pay of Maj Generals and Lt Generals. What is not highlighted is the fact that Directors General of Central Police Organizations who feature on Article 25 of Warrant of Precedence (WoP) have also been granted a scale of Rs 80000 which is more than the one granted to our Lt Generals who feature on Article 24 which is higher than Ds G CPOs. Directors General of State Police and Principal Chief Conservators of Forests also granted a higher scale of Rs 80000. Needless to say, both of these posts, i.e., DGP and PCCF do not feature at all in the WoP.

4. Lower limit of Disability Pension raised to Rs 3100. War-Injury pension to be 60% of emoluments.

5. SF Allowance for Army/IAF to be equivalent to Marine Commando Allowance of Navy.

6. Assured Career Progression Scales in 8, 16 and 24 years for PBOR as opposed to 10,20 and 30 years on the civil side.

7. No change in retirement age.

8. Revised scales effective from 1-1-2006 while allowances effective from 1-9-2008.

9. Arrears to be paid in two installments, the first (40% of arrears) this year and the second (60%) in the next financial year.

10. Annual increment to be 3%

11. Increase in Transport Allowance for all.

No information is yet available on Grade Pays. Grade Pay recommendations would be very vital since it is now the only determinant of status vis-à-vis civil services.

The blog would be updated as and when more details trickle in.
Also see the following earlier posts on the Pay Commission Report on this blog:-

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our officialdom : Defenders of the absurd

Oft I’ve received mails lamenting that the bureaucracy is to blame for all our woes. While there is strength in the argument, but do we have our own house in order ? and I’m not being sardonic or sarcastic here.

Being in the legal profession, it deeply pains me to see how govt establishments defend logic that on the face of it seems absurd. The same holds true even for officers in the MoD and the Military who hold positions of confidence in legal channels and are expected to help Courts render justice. It is rarely that we see the Ministry of Defence conceding in a Court of Law that a particular action was arbitrary or illegal or that corrective measures are being taken, and this happens even in cases involving settled law. The problem is more with babus than with uniformed officers but we in the forces have placed too much in their hands, so much so that we don’t even realize our being cleverly short-changed. The military establishment too blindly jumps on the bandwagon to defend cases instituted in various Courts and Fora without an iota of application of mind, it’s merely an egotistical one upmanship in the sense that a case instituted has to be defended with full might without going into the merits, and without realizing that it may be for general betterment and welfare of the uniformed community. We sometimes end up being our own greatest enemies.

A very recent example that comes to my mind is of ‘Disability Pension on Voluntary Retirement’. The Ministry of Defence and successive Pay Commissions till the Fifth had been rebutting the Army’s demand for the removal of bar on the grant of disability pension on voluntary retirement. This bar did not exist in any other govt service and was unique to the Army. The Delhi High Court in a landmark decision in 2004, rightly by beneficially interpreting rules, held that voluntary discharge could not be a ground for refusal of disability pension, thereby indirectly endorsing and granting a long pending demand of the Army. But no this is not the end of the story, what happened after that holds the key!. Instead of gracefully accepting the decision and implementing it for all personnel, the Union of India filed an SLP in the Hon’ble Supreme Court challenging the orders of the Delhi High Court. Now here is the shocking part – you know on whose recommendations the said SLP was filed ? You guessed it right – the Army HQ, the same Army HQ which was fighting tooth and nail with the Govt to get the bar removed. Thankfully, the decision of the Delhi High Court was upheld by the Supreme Court this year. Now till date, instead of implementing it across the board, the govt wants each and every affected person to file a Writ Petition – and our legal cells are still defending such petitions in Court. Many would not know that Regulation 50 of the Pension Regulations for the Army (1961) contains a stipulation that disability pension would not be granted to voluntary retirees. This Regulation was however declared discriminatory, arbitrary and bad in law by the Delhi High Court in 1997. But in utter disregard to the spirit of the decision of the Court, the Govt is still not releasing disability pension to officers seeking Pre-Mature Retirement.

Another example that comes to mind is that of overruling of Medical Board opinion by CDA Authorities. When Medical Boards of the forces used to opine that a particular disability was ‘attributable to, or aggravated by military service’, the office of the PCDA (Pensions) was known to unilaterally override the opinion of the medical board and dismiss claims for disability pension in Allahabad. Hence the PCDA(P), an accounts branch in consultation with a Lt Col of the AMC known as Medical Advisor (Pensions) had the power to overrule the decisions of Medical Boards held under the Presidency of officers sometimes even of the rank of Brigadier. Various High Courts and even the Supreme Court time and again heavily came down on this system and held that PCDA(P) could not sit over the opinion of Medical Boards but it took more than 20 years for the Ministry of Defence to abolish the role of PCDA(P) in determining attributability and aggravation. Needless to say, such past cases where medical opinion had been overridden by CDA are still being defended in Courts by the MoD, without informing them (the Courts) that they themselves have now withdrawn the said powers from PCDA(P) !. There are countless other examples where the MoD does not inform the correct position and latest policies / orders on issues before Courts.

My aim in writing this post is not to be cynical but I personally feel that it is not always the bureaucracy or the political leadership which is to blame, we the defence community, especially the serving, have to be steadfastly alert and aware of our rights and privileges and not merely become post-offices or puppets with zero application of mind. Had we been vigilant, our status in the WoP would not have reached this nadir (Today a North-Eastern State equates a Captain with an Office Superintendent, see this post), had we been watchful, rank pay would not have been deducted from basic pay while calculating post 4th CPC scales during issuance of the relevant Army Instructions, we have to see through the game. Whether it is RTI or Writ Petitions or the Media, the general tendency of officialdom is to ostracize the person who tries to bell the cat, the normal response is that of rejection without going deeply into the issue as if a person fighting for his/her rights is an enemy of the system. I remember when I first took up the case for implementation of toll exemption for private vehicles of serving personnel with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, there was no support from the MoD which opined that my argument was hogwash, but later not only was toll exemption granted on all private and public roads & bridges in the country, but it was also upheld by the Supreme Court. The only person who supported me was Lt Gen SS Mehta, the then Western Army Commander. When we took up the issue of this WWII veteran with the MoD with the help of Lt Gen Pattabhiraman, every single Army officer dealing with the issue thought it was a losing battle but Gen Pattabhiraman ensured that we got the old Arty Vet his dues 60 years after his release. The same would have been the attitude of naysayers when Maj Dhanapalan must have filed his Writ Petition for arrears of the 4th CPC. This is not the correct approach and we should realize that we, including the ones still in uniform, may be standing in those shoes one day. Wherever we are, whatever we are, we must stand for what’s right and logical, even if it rubs the establishment the wrong way or ruffles a few feathers.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

RTI is the flavour of the season : Disclose Legal / Discipline & Vigilance Advice and notings under RTI Act, says CIC

RTI it seems is the flavour of the season.

In yet another decision affecting the military, the Central Information Commission has held that legal advice rendered by the JAG (Judge Advocate General) department shall be disclosable under the RTI Act and would not fall under the exemption of Section 8 (1) (e) of the Act which provides that information held under fiduciary capacity need not be disclosed.

The CIC has held that the JAG and DV (Discipline & Vigilance) authorities have to act in a transparent and analytical manner while dealing with quasi-judicial and administrative proceedings, hence any such reasoning or noting relating to how a particular case has been dealt with, need not be held back.

The CIC observed the following in the case titled ‘Dr Harish Uppal Vs Ministry of Defence’ :

“The proceedings before the Court Martial and the consequential application for pardon under Section 179 of the Army Act are matters which, although administrative in substance, are quasi-judicial in nature and in such a case, the authorities deciding the matter do decide in accordance with the law and in accordance with principles of natural justice. In proceedings like this, an authority has a duty to act in a transparent manner and cannot withhold its reasoning only on the ground that there is a fiduciary relationship between him and the Government. Such cases are decided in an analytical manner and reasons need to be recorded by the authority. It will be at the very least, inappropriate if the exemption under section 8(1) (e) is extended to such a situation.”

Sunday, August 3, 2008

And now Army / Navy / Air Force Schools under the RTI Act : CIC

The Central Information Commission has ruled that schools established under welfare societies cannot claim exemption from application of the RTI Act. In a case involving Air Force School Jodhpur, the CIC has reached the conclusion that the school is under the purview of the Act. The CIC has also directed the Station Commander to divulge the requisite information within a period of 10 working days.

In another scathing observation vis-a-vis the same case, the CIC has also come down heavily on Air Force authorities which had the following comments to offer on the issue :-

Air Force : - “it is evident that the appellant is seeking the information for his matrimonial case. He has also not indicated any bonafide public interest in seeking the said information. Thus, the appellant is seeking the information for promotion of his personal interest rather than public.”
The CPIO of the Air Force also buttressed the claim by stating that the school was not a public authority by drawing a parallel quoting a judgement in which it was held that the CSIR was not an instrumentality of the ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.

CIC on the above plea by the Air Force :- “On the other hand we find the arguments submitted in writing by Wg Cmdr Magadum are largely specious. U/s 6 sub-section (2), “An applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information” The argument at (e) above is altogether irrelevant. Besides, it is nobody’s case that the School in this case constitutes State under Article 12 of the Constitution. The example of the CSIR is entirely misplaced since the CSIR is indeed a public authority u/s 2(h) of the RTI Act, with a complete infrastructure built assiduously in compliance with the RTI Act, 2005. Wg Cmdr Magadum is advised to visit CSIR’s website to learn more on this.”

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Retirement age to Increase ?? Strong Rumours !!

Well, take it with a pinch of salt (& lemon :-) ) again since this blogger is a little averse to rumour mongering.

There are strong rumours doing the rounds that the retirement age is finally being jacked up by two years.

How does it affect the Army ?

If actually implemented, it would mean that Lt Colonels and Colonels in the Arms would retire at 56, Brigadiers at 58, Major Generals at 60, Lieut Generals at 62 and the Chief at 64.