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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Supreme Court rings the bell but would we ever wake up ?

“Why are you after disabled military personnel ?” was the query of a Division Bench of the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court recently while dismissing a Letter Patents Appeal (LPA) filed by the Union of India against a Single Bench decision awarding disability pension to an old veteran. In reply, the Central Govt Counsel very fairly informed the Hon’ble Court that though legal advice was tendered against filing of an appeal and the issue involved was a covered matter, the authorities still insisted on challenging the decision.

The very topical remarks of the Hon’ble Supreme Court hence did not come as a surprise to me at all. I have discussed it here on this blog before. It is time to tame these legal pundits in Delhi who are acting like raging bulls and filing mindless appeals against verdicts rendered in pensionary matters in favour of disabled veterans. These scheming legal minds work in a simple and rudimentary fashion – file appeals in almost all cases, take the cases to the Hon’ble Supreme Court - take a chance and in case of even one single verdict in favour of the govt, the same would be flaunted all over to introduce impediments in the system of grant of benefits to released and retired service-members. These old hands in the legal advisory system clearly know that poor veterans would not be able to (afford and) represent themselves properly before the Apex Court which in turn gives them a free hand to twist legal issues while articulating them before the Supreme Court which sometimes results in decisions that can hardly be labelled well-rounded. Two examples that come to mind are Lt Col P K Kapur’s case where the govt faultily, incorrectly and misleadingly informed the Apex Court that rounding-off / broad-banding of disability percentage for calculating disability element was introduced as a benefit to cater for decreased service tenure of invalided personnel and hence was not applicable to personnel who retire on completion of terms of engagement or superannuation. The retired officer concerned, who was arguing in person without proper legal assistance, could not rebut the contention leading to a verdict against him. Needless to say, broad-banding / rounding-off was actually introduced to counter medical subjectivity and mistakes & disagreements of medical boards and not to cater for shortened tenures on invalidation. In yet another case, the govt appealed to the Supreme Court against grant of disability pension for an injury sustained while on leave and contended that the verdict of the High Court was untenable since the person did not have the requisite length of service to earn a disability pension, again there was no proper assistance rendered to the Court and the decision of the High Court was reversed. But the decision of the High Court was reversed on the basis of a false statement again by the Union of India, since in reality, there is no minimum service requirement for earning a disability pension and disability pension in fact is even admissible to recruits under Regulation 181 of the Pension Regulations. Fortunately this false statement of the Union of India which was not rebutted by the poor veteran’s counsel (if there was any) is recorded in the order of the Apex Court and shall ultimately prove to be an albatross around the Union’s legal neck, mark my words.

In cases involving disability pension, the central govt has been getting away by informing the Hon’ble Apex Court that ‘medical opinion regarding attributability / aggravation is supreme’ and that High Courts cannot brush aside medical opinion. There have been decisions by the Apex Court endorsing this view, but Hon’ble High Courts and the Benches of the Armed Forces Tribunal have subtly distinguished such Apex Court decisions by ruling that in order to have primacy, the medical opinion must be within the four corners of the rules, and that perverse opinion in contravention of rules and regulations would have no value in the eyes of law. For the uninitiated, for a person to be entitled for disability pension, a disability needs to be declared as either attributable to, or aggravated by service. The Hon’ble Apex Court has never been informed by the Union of India that ‘attributability / aggravation’ is legally not to be determined by the Medical Board but by the Entitlement Rules (1982) and the same is clearly codified in Regulations 48 & 173 of the Pension Regulations which provide that attributability / aggravation shall be determined under the ‘Entitlement Rules’ which form a part of the Pension Regulations under Appendix II. The medical board has to work within the rules and is not a body above law. Rule 5(b) of the said rules clearly provides that there would be a presumption of attributability in case the disease occurs in service and Rule 9 further provides that service-members shall receive the benefit of doubt and would not be called upon to prove entitlement. Rule 15 read with Annexure III of the rules lists out diseases which are usually affected by stress and strain of service, but still, military medical boards routinely declare even such scheduled diseases as ‘constitutional’ or ‘idiopathic’ and ‘not connected with service’. Now having said that, Rule 18 further points out that even if there is a constitutional disposition, still the disease can be attributable to service. Rule 19 clearly says that if any disease is at a worsened stage at the time of discharge, aggravation is to be accepted which in fact covers almost every single member of the military who is discharged as an LMC. Rule 20 (a) also points out that if nothing is known of a disease then attributability is to be conceded unless it is rebutted by evidence. The medical boards of the defence services are functioning without an iota of proper application of mind on the entitlement rules. Relation with service of disabilities is not purely a medical game but also involves interpretation and application of the Entitlement Rules. While military boards have been time and again rejecting diseases such as schizophrenia, psychosis and neurosis being ‘constitutional’ in nature, the same diseases are routinely being correctly held as ‘aggravated by service conditions’ by medical boards of the para-military forces. Moreover, military medical boards and adjudicating authorities have been rejecting claims of psychiatric diseases or even heart diseases by stating that the ‘onset was in peace area’ hence the disease is ‘not connected with service’. Even a child could tell that such diseases manifest over a long period of time and merely since these are discovered in a ‘peace area’ would mean nothing. There are official letters written by the office of DGAFMS which, in utter contravention of rules, direct medical boards not to grant ‘aggravation’ if the onset of disability is in peace areas, whereas the rules do not pose any such prohibition. Even otherwise, there may be instances wherein the stress and strain in a peace area may be much higher than in a particular field area, can there by a mathematical formula to determine attributability / aggravation as the office of DGAFMS would want us to believe ? Research shows that post-traumatic stress disorders can arise even after a period of 5 five years or more (‘delayed onset’) of the stressor / triggering event. Again, there is no such problem being faced by paramilitary personnel in medical boards convened by CPOs. Same diseases, similar service conditions but different opinion on attributability / aggravation ? Does the medical science differ for the Central Police Organisations ? One would rarely find an appeal before the Hon’ble Supreme Court filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs against decisions of High Courts granting disability pension to paramilitary personnel, but the Ministry of Defence alongwith the PS Directorate of the Army Headquarters have both made it their bread and butter of filing appeals with impunity. The Hon’ble Courts in the US have also since settled the law and held that medical opinion cannot be granted primacy if it is against legal principles or settled law. In Wagner Vs Principi (2004), the US Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit clearly opined the following :

“…When no pre-existing condition is noted upon entry into service, the veteran is presumed to have been sound upon entry. The burden then falls on the government to rebut the presumption of soundness by clear and unmistakable evidence that the veteran’s disability was both pre-existing and not aggravated by service…”

The natural parallel of the above with the Entitlement Rules as applicable to the Indian defence services seems strangely surreal. It has been hence held both by Indian and American Courts that to rebut the presumption of attributability / aggravation, the medical board has to present proper evidence and reasons backed with credible medical and pathological basis concerning the aetiology of the disease. Merely stating that the disease is ‘constitutional’ or ‘not connected with service’ is not enough. In yet another landmark decision rendered last week (Jones Vs Secretary allowed on 25-03-2010), the US Court of Veterans’ Appeals has re-iterated that while dealing with service related disabilities ‘medical evidence that is too speculative to establish nexus is also insufficient to establish a lack of nexus’ and that ‘the absence of actual evidence is not substantive negative evidence’. These decisions of the US Courts are in fact reflective of what the Hon’ble Delhi High Court had held in cases such as SS Gautam Vs UOI and Naveen Chandra Vs UOI rendered by a Division Bench which had as its senior member Justice Swatantar Kumar, now a Judge of the Supreme Court. The decisions also seem to have found a sounding board in the order rendered by the Principal Bench of the AFT in Nakhat Bharti Vs UOI and the decisions of Chandigarh Bench of the AFT in a series of recent judgements. The Courts have time and again distinguished decisions of the Supreme Court in Damodaran and Balachandran Nair cases based on the doctrine of sub-silentio since it has been authoritatively held, as explained in the preceding paragraphs, that medical opinion shall only be binding if rendered as per rules. A decision of the Supreme Court on any issue is anyway not binding on other Courts if a particular argument has not been discussed or deliberated in the said judgement [Raipur Ruda Meha Vs State of Gujarat (AIR 1980 SC 1707)].

While dealing with disabilities of military personnel, the much argued comparison with an ordinary person on the street by medical authorities is also incomprehensible. There are times when it is remarked that such a disease may also have arisen had the particular person not been in the Army and that the Army is one of the most stress-free organisations in the country. The question arises that here is a man who is 24 hours / 365 days on call, sometimes under the shadow of gun, mostly away from his family, in a strictly regimented routine, can he be simplistically compared with say a civilian employee who goes to office at 9 in the morning returns at 5, only five days a week, lives with his family, in his hometown, enjoys his gazetted holidays, retires at 60 ? !. It won’t take an expert to reply in the negative. Wouldn’t common ailments such as hypertension or IHD or minor psychiatric illnesses or psycho-somatic disorders get aggravated by even seemingly insignificant incidents at the home front such as non-performance of children in school, property disputes, sarkari red-tapism in other spheres, family problems etc ? The answer would be in the positive. To top this, the provisions of Section 47 of ‘Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995’ are not applicable to the armed forces – the direct implication of this is that if a civilian employee gets disabled whether on duty or off duty, whether due to service or otherwise, whether due to his own negligence or not, in whichever circumstance, his or her service is protected under the ibid Act and if the said employee is not able to work, still he or she is to be kept on supernumerary strength and paid all pay and allowances till the age of 60. While on the other hand, if similarly placed service-members get disabled, then what to talk of full pay and allowances or even pension, it is ensured by the system that most are discharged on medical grounds without even a disability pension. The very non-applicability of Section 47 of the Act should have ideally resulted in liberalising the rules or liberalising the approach in determining attributability and aggravation but with the current mindset of internal and external bureaucracy, the same seems unlikely and the Hon’ble judicial fora seem to be the only saving grace in this myriad imagery of officially-sponsored (paper) violence. The rules are being interpreted ‘literally’ and not ‘liberally’, the letter is being followed by dumping the spirit. The concerned authorities defend their decisions of jumping on to the ‘appeal’ bandwagon saying that the ‘rule-position’ does not allow them to disburse such benefits, but instead of appealing, why don’t we change these damn restrictive and otiose rules themselves ? Rather than putting up a noting sheet recommending appeal by saying how a particular High Court or Tribunal has erred in interpreting law, why can’t a noting sheet be moved to amend the particular rule which has given rise to a plethora of litigation ? There are no winners in this vicious circle of obstinacies.

As this letter written by an ex-servicemen organisation and its enclosure would show, even legal advice rendered by the office of Solicitor General asking the MoD not to file appeals has been brushed under the carpet by lower level officers of the Ministry. The Army Headquarter has in fact pointed out in certain specific instances that the govt is defending cases in Hon’ble Courts despite fully being aware of the settled position of law in favour of disabled soldiers. In such actions, it is not just perversity but also sadism at play because anyone who opts to go in for his or her constitutional remedies by approaching Hon’ble Courts is viewed as an ‘enemy of the system’ as rightly pointed out in the ibid letter.

The buck stops there, at Delhi, at the offices of the Legal Advisor (Defence), the Director (Pensions) and to an extent the Director PS-4 (Legal). Mr Antony should instill a sense of judiciousness in these authorities. By filing frivolous and mindless appeals and by tacitly misleading Hon’ble Courts, they are not showing any loyalty to the Indian State or the Auditors but on the contrary are displaying a sense of insensitivity and disregard to this great nation and its even greater protectors. The disparaging remark of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is landmark in the sense that it signifies that from now on frivolities may not be accepted. There is a requirement of a shriller alarm bell, I see it coming round the corner, but would we still wake up ? Beggary is illegal, ban it here too !.


Unknown said...

Bravo, Maj Navdeep. A brilliant expose of the AMC that has somehow functioned as a law to itself. Many a times when the lower rungs of individuals take up the matter, they are conveniently shifted to places where they would be of less trouble. It is the sycophants, the individuals who have served their field areas in places like Ambala and Bareilly who have a negative mindset of denying the soldiers their legitimate rights. Was the hearing loss attributed or aggravated? And who was the President of that board? QED

Veteran said...

Yes, well done Navdeep! I can never cease to marvel your ability to convey so much in so few words. Logically, this SC order should be a boon for the various ESM organisations sprouting out of nowhere. If they seize the moment and unite then OROP may be back in the spotlight, else continue to fight amongst themselves and keep the babus smiling....

Mach22 said...

Can AFT solve some of these problems? I wish that,,n I wish that our leaders,both political and military,,,become more sensitive to the causes of the soldiers,,,,who are like holy cows,,,,,doing their duties anywhere,anytime and without asking anything in return,,except their dutiful rights..........

Pokar Ram said...

Dear Major Navdeep Sir,
Extremely logical, truthful,factual and unbiased statement. Kodos to you for having spared your valuable time in this selfish and agoistic world. May the Almighty give you strenth and conviction to espouse the cause of the disciplined force. Thanks

Zahl Tantra said...

I am totally overwhelmed by the contents which only you, as always, put across in such a remarkably clear manner ! There is a requirement to sensitise the environment on an issue which has tremendous medical and financial implications to anyone serving or veterans .

Anonymous said...

Dear Major,
I am not an LMC and have no disability claims.However a No of my friends and couileges are. I have seen they being denied their rightful entitlements.You have said so much and so clearly.I am sure that they will benefit from your write up as we the armed forces freternity have at large been doing for long. Keep the good work on ,please.

Col P B

Rajababu said...

Dear Navdeep,

Thanx for a nice, exhuastive and legally loaded blog. though mere mortals like me will not understand the legal jargon used, the message of the blog is loud and clear, namely,


Are any one of our seniors and men who matter listening??? or are they busy in ur own races(like the one in 3 idiots) to the top and forgetting the people u met on ur way up????

In the words of the army chief, its time to improve our own internal health. But sir, will it be only lip service/soundbytes? I feel that health should improve across the board including our own AFMS. They are filled with only two categories of offrs:-

(a) One who have only precribed Paracetomol/Ampicillin all their lives and in Hospital Adm business.

(b) The other being specialists who beleive that they are working for a pittance and have Inflated egos. They beleive that with their superior qualifications they should not be serving under an under-qualified offr like an Army commander!!!. They seem to forget that they have obtained their specialist/super specialist qualifications only due to services and owe everything to it.

It is these breed of officers that are spoiling a fine service like AFMS. Why blame the lower rung Govt offrs/legal eagles when there is enemy within??. The lower rung govt officials/legal minds only get emboldened by the support offered by our own people.

Its high time to take strict Administrative action against erring AFMS officers. Make one Namoona/Murga and Others will fall in line.

Raxas said...

Maj Navdeep,
I remember the sad case of a IInd Lieut who had frostbite while in Siachen. The guy was transferred to CH Chandigarh. It was freezing winter and the wards were COLD as hell (sic). The simplest thing would be to transfer the guy to someplace warm like Bangalore or Chennai and his chill blains would have been cured. But no! After all Chandigarh had to show its bed strength.(They kept me there for a week for a recat board that should have taken a day). So they kept him there, soaked his feet in luke warm water twice a day in the morn and evening. His feet had to be amputated and he was discharged from Army (pensionary benefits anyone?). Two other cases I know are too sad to be posted in a public forum. Both resulted in deaths of my friends (pilots). Sheer negligence due to silly rules framed by bureaucrats. Both deaths would have been avoided if our Armed Forces were run by Officers and not Babus.


A well articulated article.People at the helms should take note of to improve the sys esp when it comes to attributability/aggravation.
Mindless appeals which take time of the court and increase work load must stop.Medical boards must update on knowledge posted in the article.The apex court has indeed given a wake up call in terms of Kautilya.

doctor_Apollo_retiredAMC said...


u only asked that guy to be sent to south india. thank god u didnt say he would have done better had he been sent to south africa which is hot area...

my dear the rules of command divisions are set up by army and not by AFMS officers... u cant do intra-command transfers of medically ill cases.

and by the way frost bite over a period of time develops a period of demarcation of dead tissue and after a wait and interval of few weeks amputation is done.. hot or cold area nothing helps..

when u have no knowledge of medical treatment better keep your mouth shut . Do u find any AFMS officer asking u or directing u hot to fight a war or drive a tank.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Navdeep for bringing things out in the open. I have had a long service in the army and have seen how things work or not work. Previous COAS was diagnosed as having 'Attributable' hearing loss and disability, several months after he went to US. Will the medical board ever declare same for an artillery or armoured corps officer of he reports loss of hearing months after a field firing? The jawans are the worst sufferers. Yet I see a glimmer of hope. I've even seen a medical specialist write to me, when I was CO, on what lines to follow so the injured jawan got his due benefits. May their tribe increase.

Anonymous said...

do you know that cda officers dont even meet army officers of rank junior to him,even if the matter is grave and effect national pride.IFA will meet officer of the rank of maj gen only.degrading isnt it.you can verify this and will be shocked.

Doctor said...

Whenever anything remotely connected with the AFMS is discussed, the compulsive AMC bashers like Rajababu and Raxas can be relied upon to make sweeping generalizations and absurd accusations.
Rajababu finds ALL the AMC officers to be erring. In his world there are only two categories of AMC officers (Paracetamol prescribing GDMOs and specialists with bloated egos). And he wants to make "namunas" out of the AMC officers. This kind of language and attitude is pathetic.
And for his info I would like to point out that attributability and aggravation is decided by a MEDICAL BOARD and not by the specialist writing the opinion (specialist opinion can be and frequently is overruled by the Medical Board).
Raxas's comments have been factually and adequately responded to by doctor_apollo_retired AMC.
The real villains here are not the AFMS doctors but the executive cadre who insist that the cases be dragged upto the Supreme court (this has been pointed out by Maj Navdeep already).
Guys, we are on the same side as you. By making us the villain you are barking up the wrong tree.

Anonymous said...

"Doctor Apollo Retired AMC", what do you mean rules are set by army guys and not AMC officers? Are you now claiming that AMC is not army?

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


No service bashing please.

The issue being discussed is not AMC but filing of mindless appeals by govt authorities plus the system of attributability / aggravation. One may understand that lack of knowledge or proper application of mind can create chaos in any service or organisation and not just AMC. It happens everywhere. It is just that the subject being discussed is closely related to the functions being performed by medical boards. Please do not paint anyone in bad light. Personal or disrespectful comments would be strictly monitored.

Anonymous said...

Dear Major Navdeep,
A very vociferous and "down to earth" presentation of the facts!. Who will tame the "raging bull-scoundrels" in the corridors of power? Even the Apex Court is not able to control the "babu-giri" in the Rtd Maj Gens case where 8 contempt hearings have gone waste- loss of huge amount of Nation's money and the valuable time of the Courts!- Till now it has not produced the final outcome? Who allows all these? As you have made out earler, the lower-echelons decide the fate of millions/ lakhs of pensioners - by whims and fancies- without rhyme or reason and aganst principles of "natural justice" pronunced by the Hon Courts, which are treated with utmost disregard and contempt. File Notes written even on tissue-papers by the "lower-most" in the heirarchy become the RULE of the CENTURY! Role of the Ministry dealing with Law and Justice and their counterparts elsewhere act exactly opposite to the much publicised views/ wishes/ pronouncements of the Hon. CJI/ Law Minister etc that "Govt" would be the "most reluctant litigant"!. Post SCPC times in recent months. we have a dozen cases (Civil/ Military) on a simple issue of "Modified Parity" inspite of the fact the discrepancy had been pointed out by several authorities (like even the CAG, Office of the Cab Secy- routed thru PMO etc) as we can learn from RTI and other sources of information! WHO IS STANDING IN THE WAY TO DO JUSTICE BY SIMPLE EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE METHODS? I can only conclude that the practice of ADMINISTRATING AND EXECUTING decisions against accepted/ "just" principles of NATURAL NORMS OF JUCTICE IS NOTHING SHORT OF "GOONDAISM"! Goonda's Act needs a relook and reorientation!

Anonymous said...

i am an iaf pilot and had to accept hospitality of medicos for 10 weeks due to an air mishap. though whatever may all my men-at-arms may feel about doctors of armed services, i have a few..or may be many words of praises for them.

1. it was winter of November and while in hospital i could not wear clothes due to my injuries. i was given a room with 24 hr heating facility.

2. AOC-in-C visited me twice as a courtesy call. second time with his wife. now what can i say of my morale.

3. all possible assistance was provided to keep my family and me comfortable by AOC of both hospital and neighboring station.

4. sqn was always there as expected.

5. i am still undergoing treatment and all doctors that i have met have been polite, accommodating and helpful. though i did meet some of them who were on the opposite end of spectrum but hey!.. it takes all kind of people to make this world.

6. please don't do doctor bashing. they are doing a good job and some of them are exceptional also. it is a noble profession with limitations which we need to understand.

7.on what i agree is that we must improve the system. the information given by maj navdeep must be passed on to the people who are in decision making chairs. even if one of them listens we just might improve the system for better.

Unknown said...

Dear Sir,

Where can I get the latest pension tables for all the ex-servicemen for all the ranks as per latest 2010 pensions.

Anonymous said...

Sure. After all, AMC docs often face dangerous working conditions, just like any other soldier, and are on the frontlines, working to save lives under fire. I dont think anyone is contesting that! As a corollary, AMC officers are also at risk of disability, and danger to life.

The villain of the piece is not any one cadre, but the attitudes of a select few, who sit in positions which have an impact on the lives of pensioners, and then use their positions to do harm. This breed can exist in any org, and can be from any branch/cadre!

I dont think anyone would EVER condemn the brave physician soldiers of the Army out of hand, and to do so would be injustice in of itself.

Lt Col A N Ramachandran(Retd) said...

My dear Maj Navdeep,
The eloquence and forcefulness of your post demands praise in superlatives.It is an incisive and in-depth study of the malaise.I hope your wake-up call will be heard by those who are in a position to act and do justice to the Armed Forces personnel.

Rajababu said...


My dear friend i am not an AMC baiter nor a basher. The fact is I write about every thing thats wrong in the system. Pse find time to read my other blogs before passing remarks.

When u tell that i should not pass biased opinions without knowing the facts, dont u feel twenty plus years of service is enough to understand the AMC??? Whatever is written is purely from personal experiences and not cooked up potboilers.

There are a very few docs(in a minority i dare say) who are professional and caring. Most of them and especially the younger lots are an arrogant and highanded. They dont have any service etiquettes and manners. This clearly evident when they deal with ladies of offrs and men

Anonymous said...

Good or bad one have to live with it, but ofcourse one should always make an endeavour to improve with healthy suggestion and implementation and not sticking to bashing AMC or vice versa.
First as in an earlier Maj Navdeep blog he has told that even during AL we all are on duty, so any occurence be in peace or field, be on duty or on CL or AL should be attributable to service, except hereditary disorders missed during commisioning.
Concept of Mulitispeciality Hospitals in peace stations is another new trend emerging with help of MES construction.
From AMC side please inplement DACP, which is stuck up for no rhyme or reason, even after President's sanction.

AS said...

It is difficult to comprehend as to why is the MOD against disabled veterns!!Evident from the issue of NOT sanctioning disability pension on %age basis to pre2006 military retirees,when ALL civilians of ALL vintage are getting DP on %age rates.Can the AFT intervene in such matters sou moto & issue directions to the MOD?

kmpods said...

Dear Maj Navdeep
Kudos to you for the yeoman service hat you are doing for our fraternity. I have a fair amount of service but I sheepishly admit that I had never read the pension regulations. I wonder how many of us have actually done it. No wonder the so called legal pundits at Delhi get away with it.
A medical problem like diabetes is not attributable but aggravatable. just that it has been diagnosed in peace areas cannot be the reason for non aggravation. You have very aptly pointed out the same. I wish , rather I hope, that the decision makers also read this blog.
The American cases you listed are very informative. Thanks for the same.
I would also take this forum to point out to all my younger fitter brthren that the value of AFMC is known only when you leave the Army. Almost all the specialists are snapped up by hospitals as they know the worth of these people. They are doing a wonderful job.
Thank you for listing out issues so lucidly. I will now update myself on the same so that one can be of service to others.

Anonymous said...

AMC bashing or for that matter casting aspersions on our own ilk will negate the very purpose of this blog which Navdeep has brilliantly conceived. Yes, there are AMC officers who interpret rules "literally" so that they are not hauled up by their superiors. This "cover your arse" syndrome is common amongst many in other arms and services and to single out the AMC is being a trifle too harsh on them. The greater question which defies logic is why our senior officers (Maj Generals and above) dont do anything about this anamoly. They are in the winter of their lives and the least they can give back to their comrades-at-arms is JUSTICE.The need of the hour is not finding fault with the system but for HEROES who can change it. Navdeep is one of them and I hope a few more "Navdeeps" are born in our armed forces

Raxas said...

@ Doc Apollo & Doctor,

Please accept my apologies. I have nothing against doctors. In fact two of my fast friends (16-18 yrs now) are doctors. I have full regard for their mental acumen and their duty schedules.
But, I have a major problem with "Medical Officers" (Paracetamol variety). I hate the guts of "Annual Medical Examination" variety. I hate the guys who lay down fixed percentages for "attributablity to Service" and wrongly put down "not aggravated by service".

When I refused to sign the (blank) Medical Board once, saying that either they put the attribution and aggravation correctly or I don't sign, the Commandant thundered and glowered. I stuck to my guns and rattled out six cases of the same symptoms and disabilities in guys posted to hard areas (peace stations now) after Leh & Siachen and the Commandant reluctantly gave me a full fighting medical category.The causative factors were always known. Nothing against the Commandant either. He was bound by the rules laid down (BY WHOM?). We expect something from those who have taken the Hippocratic Oath but the few who were found wanting always rankle and are remembered.
Unfortunately we are also ingrained never to fight the whites (laid down rules) or the great personalities (babus) who write the whites. Silly rules get implemented when they should be shoved back to the idiot who signed them.
PPS. If Gandhi had fought according to the Whites (smile please - pun intended), we would have still been under the British Rule.
We have to go beyond the Whites and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

Doctor said...

@ Raxas,
No offence taken Sir. I fully agree with you on the need to apply mind (more aptly put in Hindi as "dimag lagana") on policies.
I have had numerous run ins with the adm guys of AMC over this issue. Many of them want to only go by the "letter of the law" and give the "spirit of the law" a complete go by. The standard excuse is "para ii (b) of regulation number 417 (A) says that this cannot be done".
Sometimes this stupid interpretation of these laws leads to financial loss to the state ("why are you concerned about loss to the state?") or loss of a career for an otherwise motivated and actually fit soldier/pilot ("why are you taking extra interest in this case? What is your personal interest in this?")
Of course, not all the Adm guys are like this, many are exceptionally good and give tips on how to help out people.
If we only needed to follow what is written in a 300 page manual, we can run the organization with matriculate babus only. What an officer is meant to do is to interpret these rules so that they are in the BEST INTEREST of the ORGANIZATION.
And contrary to what many people believe, the interests of the organization and interests of the individual are not at cross-purposes. At least most of the time

sunny said...

I see both side of the coin and will not call any names. AMC docs do dictate terms once in a year when people like me go for AME/PME. Officers are made to take rounds of the hospital when finally he misses the dates for submission of the Bd in time.
But the other side of the coin is that I have personnaly observed the Specialist doing their worth in Sri Lanka. It was not for any commendation or pat, but for the image of India as a whole. I acn write the details about it if people are interested.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


My friend, do not get brainwashed by the official word.

The idea of rounding off / broad-banding of disability percentages for calculation of 'disability element' was not conceptualised to cater to 'premature termination of services' on invalidation as put out by you.

Please read the relevant para of 5th CPC report on the subject. Broad-banding was introduced to curtail medical subjectivity since it was felt that different medical boards were awarding variable percentages for the same kind and extent of disability. To take care of such mistakes by boards, broad banding was introduced. The official line (as reproduced by you) as put forth by the govt is totally incorrect on the face of it since the basis of broad-banding can be clearly made out in the 5th CPC report itself. Moreover, shortening of tenure is taken care by the 'service element' of disability pension and not by disability element which is restricted only to the percentage of disability suffered. To take your side of the story would mean that medical boards are subjective and mistake-prone only for invalided personnel and not for superannuated personnel!

For your kind information, in case of civilians who were governed by the same para in the 5th CPC report, no such inhibiting stipulation has been laid down, and after the Presidential sanction was granted, this prohibitory stipulation of restricting rounding-off to invalided personnel was added in MoD letter dated 31-1-2001 in Para 8. Did anyone even try to go to the bottom of things and attempt to dig out as to why broad-banding was recommended at all in the first place ?

The govt while defending PK Kapur's case also did not have the innate fairness to articulate to the Court the provisions of Pension Regulations 179 and 53, which provide that superannuated and invalided personnel would be treated at par for the purposes of determining disability pension. Already the Punjab & Haryana High Court has differed with the decision of the SC in PK Kapur's case.

And I do not write just for the heck of it, I only write if I feel strongly about a particular issue and if there is a basis in what I say.

The officers at the PS Directorate can surely disagree with their imaginary 'masters' in the MoD on file, but we never see that happen. It's unfortunate but this 'ghuggi culture' on files without application of mind is spoiling our democracy.

Unknown said...
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Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


My friend, Regulation 179 is para-materia and absolutely similar in language to Regulation 53 which is applicable to Officers. So if a case is decided for officers by quoting an earlier case which had 179 as its base, it does not matter, for both regulations are the same in words and spirit.

When these cases reach your desk, you are sure to mislead the Court by saying that Regulation 179 is not applicable to officers but only to JCOs hence the decision of the Hon'ble Court is not correct in law. But this statement of yours is faulty on two accounts - one, that Regulation 179 is para-materia to Regulation 53 which is the Regulation dealing with officers, and two, that it is a misconception that 179 is only applicable to JCOs, it was extended to all other ranks vide AI 95 of 1962 and was further amended in the year 1967. But for obvious reasons, you would not like to even inform your own CGC or the Hon'ble Courts about this, would you ? Or worse, you have also not been informed about the same by the mandarins who control you and others like puppets and who brainwash you into thinking the way they do without going into proper depth of various issues. It is not just out of nowhere that the Hon'ble SC has compared disabled soldiers with beggars, we all, including you and me, are to blame my dear Sir.

Don't go by what the officers of the AFHQCS feed you, think, ponder, apply and then act !!!

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


BTW, you have referred to lawyers as 'cunning' when they seek relief for disabled soldiers, what about your own very govt counsel and their blatantly incorrect statements in judicial fora as reflected in http://www.indianmilitary.info/2010/04/more-contd.html ?

I would like to continue this conversation with you in greater interest of us all but not in this public forum, you may write to me on my email ID instead, under your actual name :-)

amar said...

Sir I want to ask a question before you. i am an Ex Airmen with only two years service.. i was discharged due to a psychiatric case adjustmenent disorder with deliberate self halm. the disability pension was rejected by telling that my sisease come under NANA. I have seen a direction from Defense tribunal Cochin to evolve a scheme to rehabilitate
service personnel who are discharged on account of mental illness and has not completed 10 years of service. So my question is that how many time will require to come this scheme and also whether this scheme will be helpfull to me. plzzzzzzz reply

bloggerindian652 said...

I m a casualty in a grenade blast during grenade firing at ranges. The accident was caused due to faulty ammunition termed serviceable by Ammunition Technical Officer.Is this a Physical Casualty,Battle Accident or Battle casualty???? Any one can Help.

Anonymous said...

Any activity which is either actual combat our trimming for actual combat is treated at par. Hence you should qualify as battle casualty.