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 Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained.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.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cut-off date of 01-01-1996 for rounding-off / broad-banding of disability pension held to be illegal by the Jaipur Bench of AFT

The Govt, in order to curtail medical subjectivity, had introduced rounding-off / broad-banding of disability percentages for the purposes of computation of disability element through a letter dated 31-01-2001. The stipulation was however made applicable only to post-01-01-1996 retirees.

The Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court had held this cut-off date to be arbitrary and had ordered the broad-banding of disability percentages even for pre-96 retirees. The Union of India went into an SLP which is still pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. In the meantime, on 19-01-2010, the Govt itself abrogated this cut-off date and extended the benefit to pre-96 retirees too. The Govt however added a rider that the arrears would only be paid with effect from 01-07-2009.

The Hon’ble AFT at Jaipur has however again held the cut-off date of 01-01-1996 as arbitrary and has directed the release of arrears w.e.f 01-01-1996 which waters down the govt’s stipulation of 01-07-2009.

A related blog-post on the issue can be viewed here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Majors who attained 21 years of service after 1-1-96 were to be automatically granted the scale of Lt Col

There were many substantive Majors who could not be promoted to the time scale rank of Lt Col for the reason that they did not fulfil the promotion criterion at the time. Besides other cases, this also included certain officers who were medically downgraded in some specific medical categories.

Not many know that the Special Army Instruction 2/S/98 (applicable with effect from 01-01-1996 till 31-12-2005) provided that all those officers who stood promoted to the rank of substantive Major prior to 01-01-1996 were to be granted the pay scale of Lt Col with the rank pay of Major on completion of 21 years of commissioned service as a one-time measure.

The above was to be undertaken suo-moto by the authorities concerned but the same it seems was not done in all cases.

Hence the above may please be pursued with the concerned agencies if anyone happens to be affected by the said stipulation. In short, all officers who were Majors as on 01-01-1996 were supposed to be granted the scale of Lt Col on completion of 21 years of commissioned service.

Please apply for the above revision if the above is attracted. The authority for the same is Para 5 (a) (iv) of SAI 2/S/98. This shall have a cascading effect on the pensions of all such officers in the current 6th CPC era too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Enhancement of pension of pre-06 retirees : Case closed from Govt’s side

This comes as a dampener.

Despite the fact that elements in the Govt were having a re-look at the enhancement of pensions of pre-2006 pensioners, the Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare, Govt of India, has finally closed the chapter and stated that the orders issued by the Govt earlier are in consonance with the recommendations of the 6th CPC. The letter has hence dispensed with all representations received by the govt in this regard, and has also drawn the curtains, from govt’s side that is.

It also seems that the decision has been taken in consultation with the Ministry of Finance. It may also not be out of context to point out that various departments and ministries had in fact favoured an upward revision since it was felt by many that the OM issued for pre-06 pensioners was not in the correct spirit as recommended by the Pay Commission, but it seems that Finance Ministry had a different opinion on the issue.

The letter can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Inputs from the ‘bottom’ create chaos at the ‘top’

The toxicity of file notings & minute sheets in the Indian context has been discussed on this blog umpteen number of times. A flashback can be viewed




here, and


Now comes the clincher. In a scathing order, the Principal Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal has come down heavily upon reports presented by lower staff to the PM resulting in an incorrect decision. The Hon’ble CAT was dealing with a case of a RAW officer who was removed from service after her ‘identity’ became ‘public’. The CAT also commented that the anonymity of RAW personnel was more myth than reality.

My friends, again, beware of the note maker. One may be lurking in your very own office.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Punjab announces slew of benefits to faujis

The Finance Minister of Punjab, the London educated Bar-at-Law, Doon School & St Stephan’s alumnus Manpreet Singh Badal, has magnanimously announced many benefits for the defence community in Punjab.

The annuity and award amounts have been increased by 40% across the board.

Every Punjabi getting through any military academy would be granted a cash award of Rs One lac.

Rs One crore has been announced for setting up an academy to provide training to Punjabi youth both for the UPSC written part and the SSB.

Rs Two crores have been allotted to the defence services welfare department for upgradation of Sainik rest houses.

A popular and proactive officer of the Sikh Regiment, Brig I S (Injo) Gakhal heads the defence welfare establishment in Punjab

Monday, March 15, 2010

Compliance of new pensionary benefits to be time-bound

Notwithstanding the lethargy shown by our Record Offices, PAOs, PDAs and PCDA(P) in revising pensionary awards whenever announced, the Govt has made it clear in no uncertain terms that the new pension tables would be implemented within a period of 3 months from date of issuance.

It may not be out of context to point out that some post-2006 retirees are till date waiting for revised pension in accordance with 6th CPC implementation letters. In fact, many of our post-2006 retirees are still drawing pension in accordance with 5th CPC scales which speaks volumes of the inertia on part of the authorities involved in the process. The delay is inexcusable in this time and age of computerisation.

Pre-2006 retirees may also send in a complaint to the concerned PDA with a copy to the Records Office and PCDA(P) if the pension is not revised by 10-06-2010.

Also be very careful in perusing the tables since there are 135 in all. I would request officers and other lettered personnel to kindly facilitate the circulation of these modalities amongst the masses especially in areas where the passage of information is not very smooth.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Full text of the Rank Pay Judgement and some other important news

Three things :

1. The improved pensionary benefits for PBOR as per the CoS report expected to be notified today (10 March 2010).

2. It's a big day for our country today. The Civil Services Examination is all set to undergo a (welcome) sea change. Officers now to be recruited on the basis of a Civil Services Aptitude Test which shall replace the Prelims.

3. The full text of the rank pay judgement now available.

The full text judgement on the Rank Pay issue can be downloaded and accessed by clicking here.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rank Pay is a part of basic pay : SC upholds verdict in Dhanapalan case

As many would be aware, after the 4th CPC, an integrated pay scale of Rs 2300-5100 was implemented for officers from the rank of 2/Lt to Brig. In addition, rank pay was authorised to officers from the rank of Capt to Brig ranging from Rs 200 to 1200 which was to be added into the basic pay for all intents and purposes.

However, while fixing the pay in the new scales, an amount equal to the rank pay was deducted from the emoluments resulting in financial loss to all affected officers. Hence all officers holding the rank of Capt to Brig as on 01-01-1986 suffered cumulative losses.

The Hon’ble Kerala High Court in a case filed by Maj AK Dhanapalan had termed illegal this deduction of rank pay. The SLP filed by the Union of India was also dismissed, albeit not on merits but on technical grounds of limitation. Soon thereafter, many similar petitions were filed in various Hon’ble High Courts all over the country which were clubbed together and transferred to the Hon’ble Supreme Court to be heard alongwith an SLP of similar nature which had arisen out of a case that was allowed on the basis of Dhanapalan judgement.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has yesterday (08 March 2010) upheld the said verdict and granted relief to all similarly placed officers alongwith an interest of 6%. I shall officially confirm the judgement with all details once I get the copy.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The level of decision making

The spat between the PM and the Leader of the Opposition again shows how lower echelons of bureaucracy continue to rule the roost.

This has been discussed here before. The PM was made to understand by ‘file initiators’ that the report of the Committee of Secretaries has been implemented in toto. But that, in reality, is not the correct position. While the minor recommendations stand implemented, the most important of them all, that is, improvement in pensionary benefits of pre-2006 PBOR retirees is still in the mix.

This is what ambiguous notes in those caustic noting sheets can do to us - misguide even the PMO. No offence meant but the government is being run by the army of desk officers, section officers, under secretaries and deputy secretaries.

Beware of the note maker. And long live the Reverse Pay Commission.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Own graves !!!

Have you heard of the idiom aa bael mujhe maar ?

Good !

In the recent past, the Intelligence Bureau was looking for staff for manning some of its Group-B (Class-II) Non-Gazetted posts. For some of these appointments, they sought ex-servicemen and also resultantly the IB initiated a tie up with the Navy, and for others they floated a vacancy circular all over.

Consequently, the Navy rightly asked for released Chief Petty Officers (CPOs) who are equivalent in pay to Naib Subedars of the Army for the said IB posts whereas the Army internally floated the IB vacancy circular for posts of almost the same level wherein it was mentioned that serving/released officers of the rank of Major could apply. And even civilians could apply for the same appointment, of which level you may ask !, well, from the civil side, employees of the level of UDC/Assistant were eligible.

Yes you saw it right in the foregoing. A circular was indeed circulated by our own staff seeking Majors for Group-B Non-Gazetted appointments which are junior in rank and status to even Naib Subedars. Things were set right (or were they ?) only after one of our branches released a strongly worded protest note on the circulation of such a circular.

I would urge all our uniformed friends to please apply due mind before issuing letters concerning re-employment and deputation. In fact there should be a proper 'equivalence cell' in Delhi which should be manned by experienced uniformed officers exclusively and which should deal with all deputation and status issues. I think it is difficult for the MS Branch to effectively handle this. Most of the actual work is being done by civilian staff on this subject while we continue implanting our initials on minute & noting sheets prepared by them without an iota of mind or passion. Not going deep into such issues is like placing ourselves virtually on a time bomb which shall explode six years down the line when after the 7th CPC Section Officers start demanding the salary of Majors.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Q & A (9)

Readers may send in their Questions through email for a Q & A session with ‘Q&A’ as the subject. For rules, please read this post.

Record Offices have been rejecting claims for grant of enhanced pension to Honorary Naib Subedars on the pretext that the pension of proper Nb Sub for Hony ranks as announced by the 6th CPC has only been granted to those Hony Nb Subs who have retired post-2006. Is this correct ? (Ex-Hony Nb Sub Ravindran)

Hony Nb Subs have been granted notional pension of Nb Subs. There is nothing in the govt sanction letter which states that only post-2006 retirees are covered. The letter simply says that the new orders shall take effect from 01-01-2006 meaning thereby that the pension in accordance with the new scale would be released only w.e.f 01-01-2006. The negative interpretation as pointed out by you is a figment of imagination of our internal (eternal ?) babus.

Is it true that SEs in Border Roads Organisation are now equivalent to full Colonels of the Army in status as per a notification issued by the MoD ? (ABC)

The Hon’ble Delhi High Court has already ruled vide a Division Bench decision dated 22-01-2010 that the said notification is restricted only to disciplinary powers to be exercised under the Army Act and that the said notification has no one-to-one bearing on status. The controversy thus stands settled. If we go by such notifications of the purposes of status, then the DGBR should be equated with GOC-in-C in status since a similar notification equates the two for disciplinary purposes.

RTO/RTA staff in some States has been harassing defence personnel for having ‘outside registration’, what is the solution ? (Col S R Patil)

There are States who have been troubling defence personnel and other central govt employees for ‘outside registration’ and non-payment of road tax in that particular state. Most of such complaints are from Maharashtra, West Bengal and some southern States. Many states however have exempted central govt employees from the operation of such rules, it may hence be worthwhile visiting the local transport office and asking them pointedly if there is any exemption in operation in the State in question. If you are unable to get a specific answer then please use the RTI route with the Head Office of the Transport Department in the capital of the State. If there is no such exemption available, then take up the issue with the Command / Area for consideration in the next Civil-Military Liaison Conference (CMLC). We would have to be proactive, mere cribbing would lead you nowhere !.

A Reservist from my Regiment has been denied his reservist pension on the ground that although he had completed 15 years of combined colour-reserve service, he is barred from pension because he had sought discharge at his own request. What is the rule position on this ? (Lt Col Kuljit Singh)

There used to be a stipulation [Para 155(b) of the Pension Regulations] for pre-1968 retirees which provided that reservist pension would be refused to those who had sought voluntary discharge even if the condition of combined 15 years of colour-reserve service was met. But the said stipulation was held to be bad in law in 2008 by the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court in case of Harjinder Singh Vs UOI. The Hon’ble High Court had directed the govt to release reservist pension to those who had sought voluntary discharge also.

My Pension Disbursing Agency is keen to deduct tax on my disability pension, what should I do ? (Col N S Grewal)

Ask your PDA to go through Para 88.3 of Pension Payment Instructions, 2005, issued by the PCDA (P) to all PDAs in the country including DPDOs and Banks.