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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Order of the Hon'ble SC on Maj Generals' pension case issued for implementation by Govt and PCDA(P)

The orders for implementing Hon'ble Supreme Court's judgement in UOI Vs SPS Vains case can be accessed by clicking here. These instructions were issued by the PCDA(P) yesterday in pursuance of the Govt sanction released on 15 July 2009.

The issue was widely covered by the media last year. Interestingly, the PCDA(P) circular suo-moto interprets the order of the Hon'ble SC by stating the following in Para 2 of the implementation circular :

" All retired Major Generals and equivalent in Navy and Air Force who were in receipt of pension as on 1st October 2001 are required to apply to their respective Pension Disbursing Agency for revision of his/her pension in terms of these orders in the prescribed form as per Annexure-I attached with Govt. letter dated 15.07.2009 immediately but latest within one month from the date of issue of the Government letter i.e. by 14.08.2009 positively. Affected pensioners not applying within stipulated time will not be entitled to interest @ 10% per annum for the period by which submission of application beyond the stipulated period is delayed. "

Well, someone should advise the PCDA(P) not to indulge in self-interpretation of court directions even while the Respondents have not yet been discharged from the contempt proceedings. It is the orders of the Hon'ble Supreme Court followed by the Presidential sanction letters which have to prevail, and such imposition of a self-initiated suo-moto stipulation is void ab initio. Firstly, How would all affected parties get to know of these GoI / PCDA(P) instructions and the one month condition ? Are they going to inform each and every person or issue a press release ?. Secondly, such riders can never be initiated from the date of issuance of letters, if at all such a rider was conceptualised, it could have only been done from the date of communication to the affected parties. Thirdly, the Hon'ble SC had not imposed any such stipulation and this clearly amounts to interfering in the administration of justice. Fourthly, on 04 May 2009 while hearing the contempt petition, the Hon'ble SC had directed the release of arrears within a period of 3 months, that is, by 03 August 2009, while the authorities concerned have completely vacillated on the issue since the time of the dismissal of the Review Petition filed by UOI in February 2009, they expect our old veterans to complete the formalities now at the speed of the sound. Very unfortunate indeed.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Major MR Penghal said...

Maj Navdeep Sir,
Thanks for bringing out clear legal picture in the case. It is mnatter of deep regret that inspite of clear orders of the Hon'ble Apex Court, the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare is messing up and in one of its circular has described the PCDA (Pension) as Pension Sanctioning Authorit(PSA) contrary to the provisions of Pension Regulations for the Army-1961 (Part -II). In case of miltary officers it is the Central Government(Ministry of Defence) is the PSA. PCDA (Pension) is only Pension Paying Authority through PDOs. I feel that Government should do justice to all officers retired prior to 1-1-1996 and thereafter by notinally fixing their pay as decided by the Hon'ble Supreme Court to redress their genuine grievances.

Ex-Sgt Gavini VN said...

Sir,

You are absolutely right. Again the same problem with the official drafting machinery and the approving authorities. Casual/non- application of mind. GOI MOD order d/d 15/7/09, too specifies 1 month deadline. PCDA (P) cir d/d 21.7.09 takes a step forward and refixes(reduces the time taken by it for issuance of cir) the deadline date to 14.8.09. May be on 15.8.09, the issue might find place in the Speech of PM. The minimum reasonable period ideally should have been "A FULL THREE MONTHS PERIOD'. Thanks.

Penmil said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Probably you overlooked.
The stipulation of 30 days limit for submission of applications by Maj Gen to PDAs is in Para 3 of GOI Ltr.

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered why the judiciary in general not pass orders which contain sufficient words to prevent and prempt the bureaucracy from undermining the impact of its orders . in this specific case the order could have included words to the effect " overdue interest will have to be paid not withstanding any administrative requirement of the operating department and without imposing any action of demand from the affected persons short paid so far"
such telegraphically short worded orders make the public feel that the judiciary is not aware of the content of the character of the operating bureaucracy

Ex-Sgt Gavini VN said...

Sir

You are 100% correct. The GOI MOD order of 15.7.09 also stipulates one month's deadline. The PCDA(P) went a step ahead in their Cir dated 21.7.09 and reduced this to 21 days (i.e. 14.8.09). May be on 15.8.09, the PM's speech may contain this matter as settled. SMART MOVES.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Penmil

I think because of paucity of time in the morning, I was unable to remove the ambiguity.

Yes, Para 3 says so but the govt letter stands issued on 16 July while the PCDA (P) instructions were issued on 21 July. And have they sent these instructions to each and every affected individual, and would these reach every affected party by 15 Aug 2009 ? Have these been communicated ? The answer is NO. This is another impractical communication by some offrs not in touch with the ground reality who should definitely be taken to task. How in the world would the affected parties come to know of this annexure they have to fill up and that too within a pd of 24 days from issuance of the PCDA circular ?

:-)

I'll also remove the ambiguity now that you have pointed out.
Thanks

Ramani said...

Dear Navdeep,
This is one of those times that I feel your blog is doing an excellent job.I am sure anyone who reads this will infom their Maj Gen friends of the requirement .
Good Keep it up.All affected personnel should thank you.

Harry said...

@ Maj Navdeep

Sir,

1. Thanks for updating us on Maj Gens' pension case and its good that the Govt have implemented the Supreme Court(SC) Order before the mandatory three months time ran out! This ruling of SC would go a long way in deciding OROP (or APIP or whatever it is called) for all ranks. This favourable Order has already jolted Govt into granting atleast something similar to OROP . So what was 'administratively', 'legally', and 'technically' NOT FEASIBLE till some months back (as per statement of RRM) has all of a sudden become DOABLE (in whatever form!)

2. Now we all eagerly await ANOTHER RAP ON KNUCKLES BY SC in case of Maj Dhanpalan's case.
A favourable verdict in that case would have a FAR WIDER RAMIFICATIONS (in my humble opinion) FOR STATUS PARITY !!

PS:- Sir, hope this toned down version of my comment is ACCEPTABLE !! :-)

Penmil said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Thanks for the elaboration.
I hope you will also write a lead post on the incompleteness of these new pension letters, starting from that of Havildars Granted the Rank of Hony Naib Subedars to the new HAG Scale of Lt Gens.
In none of the letters, the formulae for minimum Ordinary Family Pension and Enhanced Family Pension have been spelt out, except in the case of Lt Cols in PB4,where tables are given.
The PDAs will just not act (if unfortunately, a case for Family Pension arises) unless there is a crystal clear order from the MOD followed by a even clearer Circular from the PCDA(P) etc.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't one go to the Supreme Court to point out that after their verdict announced there is still someone higher and more powerful to add subtract from the Supreme Court verdict, and in this case the individual signed should be held by the ears, brought in front of the Chief Justice of India , his permission taken, blacken the defaulters face black, on a skinny donkey sitting backwards and a wide media publicity given

RANVIR said...

From this, should we, as a corollary assume that the PCDA will be giving the other lot of affected officers, their dues of pending pension, gratuity, and commuted amount with a 10% pa interest? I haven't yet got my dues after hanging the uniform in Jan this year, and there are many who had retired before me.

VNatarajan,President,Pensioners' Forum, Chennai said...

Dear Major Nvadeep/ others interested,
Once bitten- twice shy!. Do the judgement delivered mainly in 2008/ 2009 and the consequential orders whatevesr they are that are being implemented , AUTOMATICALLY ensure Maj Gens' pension to be on par with post-2006 retired Maj Gens? Or does it stop at their being hood-winked and kept at the "Minimum of the Pay Band" (Rs 23700 (a "mutilated" pension -plus of course 3000 for MSP component- already given)as was done to the civilian pre-2006 pensioner-counterparts who are waging a long battle - FOR A CORRECT INTERPRETATION and IMPLEMENTATION of the pension orders of 1st Sept 2008? Minimum Modified Parity for Maj Gens shd be 27350 (figure to be chked vis a vis the post 2006 Maj Gen retiree,s pension) plus 3000 if I TRY TO BE CORRECT! If the post 2006 parity is not being ensured, GOD ONLY KNOWS if another round of litigation has to be started/ fought? Pl correct me if I am wrong.Vagueness-Loopholes in Court orders are taken advantage of by the Govt.! Regards.

Ramani said...

The stipulation of submitting the applcations within one month only affects the 10% interest and nothing else.so i do not see anything to be perturbed about. In fact ths will acclerate the process fo the affected prsonnel to receive their dues.

Navanithakrishnan said...

Why the retired major generals are required to apply. Cant the enhanced pension benefits be automatically given to them?

VNatarajan, President, Pensioners' Forum, Chennai said...

Dear Major/ all interested,
This is in continuation of my earlier post today in the morning, reg Sup Court Judgment of Maj Genls. Case.

(All may refresh that this case was originally filed by some Retired Major Generals of the Army with regard to fixation of their pension after implementation of 5th Pay Commission. Government of India filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the judgment of Punjab High Court, (Civil Appeal No. 5566 of 2008, Special Leave Petition (Civil)No. 12357 of 2006 Union of India vs. SPS Vains (Retd.) and others)Pl correct me as necessary).

In this case Hon’ble Supreme Court has directed as under:

“We, accordingly, dismiss the appeal and modify the order of the High Court by directing 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”.

I repeat the part ; "..after the revision of pay scales with effect from 1.1.1996, and, thereafter".

Which in all judicial fairness conveys that REVISION WEF 1.1.1996 and THEREAFTER ie REVISION WEF 1.1.2006, must be taken into consideration!

Am I correct?

LT.COL.HS DHAM( MAHARS ) said...

Dear Navdeep

As usual you are always magnanimous with one and all, irrespective of Rank. It is excellent that General Officers are getting their dues, after all they have been and are the God Fathers of every body in the Indian Armed Forces. But the brutal fact is that these are the very Ranks which magnanimously accepted the downgradation of Indian Armed Forces systemattically, since 1947. Now that the issue has also pinched them they are furious. We must actually thank the IESL/IESM/other welfare organisations of veterans that has woken up, though not
fully, the political bosses/beaurocrats. But the holy saying is forgive and forget once the goal is achieved. The mutual respect within the Ranks/Inter Services/Civil bretherin should be sincerely encouraged and no more mud slinging and chrachter assessinations. The unity thus forged in the different welfare organisations should however not lower their guards till OROP goals are fully achieved and all irritants/anomilies rectified. DER AYE DURUST AYE should be maintained and we should be graceful enough to all those Army/Civil/Political/third and fourth Estate, good souls who have made this possible. God bless us all. Country First,Men second and lastly self should be the governing rule now and always. Jai Hind and bash on regardless, the Kurukshetra war is still on and Pandavs are still not evaluated gracefully.( excuse spelling mistakes thanks)
Regards
Col Dham

Ramaa said...

I find no reason why Retd Maj.Gen have to fill in application. The Govt letter spells it. Then PCDA circular wants to ensure that Govt do not keep on paying 10% interest. I am definite most of the retirees would want to keep their money with GOI at 10%. So the intention is good, wording is wrong.

Penmil said...

@Shri V Natarajan Jul 23 1231PM and the earlier post.

Maj Navdeep would be the right person to comment on your points.

Mean while I would like to add to the query posed by you, regarding the applicability of the judgment to post 2006 pensioners and there after.
You might have noticed that in the Judgment of the Honourable Punjab and Haryana High Court, there was no order as to the payment of interest on the arrears arising out of the verdict.
But the Honourable SC had directed the UOI to compute their pensionary benefits on such basis
with prospective effect from the date of filing of the writ petition and to pay
them the difference within three months from date with interest at 10% per
annum. The respondents will not be entitled to payment on account of increased
pension from prior to the date of filing of the writ petition(I added here what was left out by you in your quote).
This date I guess was Oct, 2001.
Now the Central Government has to arrive at a dead line to decide who is to be paid interest. I think it is due to this, all pensioners who received pension up to 01 Oct 2001 were asked to file in their applications.
While the word ’thereafter’ was operative, it just stopped being operative at 01 Oct,2001.
Thus not only Pre 1986, Pre 1996 but Pre 2006 Pensioners upto 01 Oct 2001 may get revised pensions.
The rest of the Pre 2006 but Post 01 Oct 2001 are not ‘in’ may be due to the fact that interest cannot be paid on moneys which are not yet due !
Apropos your earlier question on the minimum of pension to Maj Gen, it has already been brought to the level of minimum of PB4 plus GP of 10000 plus MSP by an amendment and therefore, my guess, is that any further revision will be towards fixing the pension of each pensioner point to point corresponding to the Emoluments in the Revised Post 2006 scales.
Major Navdeep will be the right person to clarify.
Thanks for the interesting highlight.

VNatarajan,President, Pensioners' Forum, Chennai said...

Dear Penmil

Many hanks for your excellent rejoinder. You have observed:
"any further revision will be towards fixing the pension of each pensioner point to point corresponding to the Emoluments in the Revised Post 2006 scales.
Major Navdeep will be the right person to clarify".
Will the babudom ALLOW THIS to happen? To be commented by Maj Navdeep from Legal angle also! Regards. Natarajan

Chander Shekhar said...

Dear Navdeep,
Will order from Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Judgement in Union Vs SPS Vains case will effect pension of pre 2006 retiree or more specifically can pre 2006 retiree’s pension be equated with post 2006 retiree based on article 14 of constitution of India.
Chander Shekhar

satish said...

MajGen SC Suri(Retd)Pre 1.1.96
Dear Navdeep,
I have heard so much about you that I thought that I will tinkle your brain & ask for your valuable advice.
I was one of the co-ordinators of the legal proceedings in the Supreme Court.I fully you agree with the shotcomings you have high lighted in the Govt letter & I congratulate you on clarity of your thought & precisely putting across your views,but will the Govt act on your suggestions & modify the procdure ?
Apart from what you have high lighted ,it is pertinent to note that all this info is available with the PCDA(Pensions), so why this long winding impractical procedure?
Having knocked the doors of the courts to get justice, we have lost complete trust in the Dept.
Although, the SC orders are quite clear that we should get the same pension/family pension as our post 1.1.96 counterparts, we still are not cofident that we will get our dues.You are an expert,so can you kindly firstly, confirm whether our pension/family pension should be based on the basic pay of Rs20,900/- or Rs21,400/-? Secondly,how do we ensure that we will not be short changed again?!
With best wishes.
Yours sincerely,
Satish Suri

VNatarajan,President, Pensioners' Forum, Chennai said...

Maj Gen Suri,
Pleasure to introduce myself.
Your last sentence is the key sentence, which I had been putting forward to many army pensioner friends.
How to ensure that the legal battle you have won so stubbornly is not "short-circuted" or "short-changed" by the whimsical tactics of the nagging Govt.?
Though the S P S Vains case judgment was delivered on 8th/9th Sept 2008 (a few days after the Pension OM was issued for civil pensioners ie 1st Sept 2009) and the outcome should have been KNOWN to the Govt. much before the said dates, it chose to short-circuit the parity of equivalent Civilian Pensioners (subsequently similar relegation happened to Maj Gens pension) by relegating them to "Minimum of the Pay Band_PB4" and thus fixing their pensions at 23700 wef 1.1.2006 instead of 27350 for post-2006 retirees at the minimum!
Subsequently Maj Gens have been given 23700 plus 3000 MSP to make the figure to be apparently higher at 26700!
ACTUAL MINIMUM FIGURE MUST HAVE BEEN 27350 plus 3000 ie 30350 (at the minimum).
WHY MAJ NAVDEEP should not clarify the position and try to clean the stables and GIVE DUE CREDIBILITY TO SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS? (This matter is not at all sub-judice- as we have high-lighted this issue in many forums).HOWEVER LET THE RETIRED MAJ GENS BE WATCHFUL TO GET THE CORRECT RESULTS from PCDA!.
Similar injustice by relegation has happened in other pay bands for several lesser scale pensioners.
Regards. Natarajan

VNatarajan,President, Pensioners' Forum,Chennai said...

Dear Maj Gen Suri/other readers
Pl note a "datum correction" in my previous post of 28th July 2009.
The date referred in the 8th line shd be "1st Sept 2008" and not "1st Sept 2009" obviously.
Natarajan.

kanaujiaml said...

There are several like me who are awaiting the response of Major Navdeep on Major Geneal Suri's question put up in his above post.

VNatarajan said...

No answer on Maj Gens pension parity so far in response to my/ Maj Gen Suri/K's query.They may be given the "reduced or negatrive parity" of 23700 + 3000 ie 26700 (instead of 27350 plus 3000) wh will be a sad outcome. THIS MAY MEAN "Modified Parity at the minimum" of the revised scale and NO OROP in any case.(if they are given point to point parity, as shd be done ideally, there may not be further contests!).
Commissioned Officers (like Majors etc ) also need proper revisions!
Regards.

kanaujiaml said...

My dear VN, Gramdass, Others. After obtaining a hard copy of MOD letter No. 4(110)07/D(Pen/Legal) dated 15 july 2009 and studying it carefully, it appears that, while implementing the hon. Supreme Court verdict in SPS Veins Case,concerning retired Major Generals, pay of Major Generals who retired prior to 1986, would be refixed on 1.1.96, on the basis of their pay fixed on 1.1.86.Similarly, the pay of those Major Generals, who retired between 1.1.86 and 31.12.95, would be refixed on 1.1.96 on the basis of pay drawn at the time of retirement. Such pay fixation would be done in the same manner as was done for other (regular)Officers of same rank, at that time. Arrears, would be payable from Oct.2001 till date, with 10 % interest. Commutation and gratuity etc. would not be recalculated or refixed or touched. It may be noted that these instructions talk about only "pay" and not "pension." In my view this amounts to "full parity".
It may also be noted that this is applicable to only Major Generals and not to any other Officers(Lt.Generals etc.) who retired prior to 1986 and prior to 1996. This is my personal opinian at this point of time and is subject to modifications, when new facts emerge.

VNatarajan said...

Ref: My post on 31st July and Mr MLK's post on 6th Aug 2009.

As desired by Maj Navdeep, I had sent en email to Maj. Navdeep.
Shri MLK's observations are correct. BUT THE MAIN ISSUE WOULD BE THE POST 1.1.2006 scenerio- whether the Mahj Gens will be inflicted the "REDUCED" or "NEGATIVE PARITY" through relegation of their MINIMUM OF THE PAY in the pay band to MINIMUM OF THE PAY BAND itself - that too at the MINIMUM!.
If Court orders are to be respected, a basic equivalence of pre-2006 18400 should entitle a minimu equivalence of 44700 plus GP wh in terms of pension shall be not less than 27350 (plus MSP component for Maj Gens wh is another 3000)and for 22400 (top of the scale) it has to be not less than 29450 (plus MSP component of 3000) or so- IN THE POST 2006 scenerio. These are minimum datums for decisions by pension authorities.

IF ANY MISAPPLICATION IS ALLOWED, the REDUCED PENSION already inflicted would be the end of the road!

(Such comparisons also hold good in other Pay Bands in which other officers are placed- unless the MF 2.26 factor protects them- which is not universal!)

kanaujiaml said...

In continuation of my post above, I would like to point out one glaring descrepancy in MOD order dated 15 07 09. It has not said anything about refixation of pay of Rtd. Major Generals as on 01 01 06 after 6CPC, while implementing hon. SC orders ! There is a question mark with regard to option being obtained from Rtd. Major Generals for refixation of pay and pension after hon. SC judgment dated 9.9.08. I doubt something is hidden there, too. Further, It would be prudent to work out for each incremental stage of pre 86 pay scale and fixation of pay against it on 01.01.86, after 4 CPC and thereafter on 1.1.96, after 5 CPC. Similarly, it would be interesting to work out for each incremental stage of pre 96 pay scale and fixation of pay against it on 1.1.96, after 5 CPC. On the basis of refixation of pay in above manner, pension can be refixed as per rules prevailing at the time of 4 CPC for pre 86 retirees and at the time of 5 CPC for pre 96 retirees. I feel it would be revealing.

VNatarajan said...

All guns appear to be silent on the Pensioners' Battle Front! What is the division or diversion? Swine Flu? Drought? Monsoon Failure?Budget Hangover? No rogress on many issues! Let not the "MANIPULATIONS" gain control over the "MERITS"!

VNatarajan said...

Dear Concerned,

Our (self/Penmil/Maj Gen Suri/K) doubts on Maj Gen's pension parity post 1.1.2006, remains unanswered even by Maj Navdeep- to whom I had sent an email also. However, the aggrieved appear to be in for trouble- if the news item appearing in one of the News Papers published from New Delhi on Aug 15 is to be read: (Extracts Reproduced from my friend's email)

"New Delhi
Aug. 15: A group of former major-generals is planning to file a lawsuit against the government for not granting "One Rank One Pension" for ex-servicemen. A corpus fund could also be created to fund the proposed legal battle against the government.

One of the former major-generals, speaking on condition of anonymity to this newspaper, said that the group of former major-generals are also planning to send a legal notice to the defence secretary, ministry of defence (MoD). The group of former major-generals who retired before 2006 is considering a legal battle on the grounds that they are getting less pension than Brigadiers who retired after June, 2006.

"This issue was deliberated at length and it was decided that government is not likely to approve OROP. Veterans would have to knock at the door of courts to get a favourable decision and force the Govt to agree to give OROP ... It was decided that preparation for filing the lawsuit should be completed at the earliest and lawsuit should be filed without delay," stated a former officer.

OROP refers to the grant of pensions (according to rank) irrespective of the date of retirement. For instance, this means that an officer retiring as major-general ought to get the same pension as another officer who retired as major-general irrespective of date of retirement...........
------------------------------

Can someone clarify?