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Monday, November 15, 2010

Immediate Separate Redressal Commission for Armed Forces : Supreme Court (Updated)

The Hon'ble Supreme Court today ordered the immediate constitution of a separate commission to examine the pay / pension anomalies and other grievances of the defence services.

The functioning of the commission would be directly monitored by the Supreme Court. The Commission would comprise of Justice Kuldip Singh, Retired SC Judge as the Chairperson and would have as its members Justice SS Sodhi, General VP Malik, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi and one person to be nominated by the Government of India.

The Commission would independently look into the grievances of members of the defence services and the Government would have no say in the same.

The Government of India, in its affidavit, had only consented to refer the rank pay issue to the proposed Commission and did not agree to any other term of reference. The Court disregarded the affidavit alongwith the stand of the Government and also ruled that the rank pay issue would NOT be referred to the Commission since the orders had already been passed by the Supreme Court. The Court also refused to recall or modify its earlier orders on the rank pay issue and instead referred the review application preferred by the UoI to the Chief Justice for directions that it be placed before some other Bench.

A historic step indeed for the Armed Forces of India.

The salient features for the said Commission, as laid down by the Supreme Court in its order, are as follows :

(1) The Commission shall be called ‘Armed Forces Greivances Redressal Commission’

(2) The Commission shall look into all grievances forwarded to them in writing or email by serving and retired personnel.

(3) Commission shall frame schemes for rehabilitation of soldiers who are discharged at young ages.

(4) The term of the first Commission shall be two years, renewable at the option of the central govt.

(5) The Commission shall be based at CHANDIGARH. Central Govt to provide adequate infrastructure for the same.

(6) Last drawn pay and allowances of the members to be protected.

(7) The Commission shall also recommend change of rules if in its opinion the same are defective or inadequate.

(8) All civil and military authorities to extend full co-operation to the Commission.

The complete order of the SC can be accessed by clicking here.


Harry said...

@ Everybody (and Ofcourse Maj Navdeep)

Bravo !! Much awaited judgement is finally out. Justice has been delayed alright but finally delivered. Now lets hope all outstanding issues ( concerning 4th, 5th and 6th CPCs and rank downgradation ) would be addressed on priority in a time bound manner!

s.Kanthiah said...

Dear Major Sir,
It is a very happy news you have published in your blog.My sincere thaks for this very important news. Let us hope that an early formatiom of our Pay commission.
Exwel Trust, Tirunelveli-Dist, Tamil Nadu.

Muthukrishnan said...

Dear Major Sir,

It is a great news for the veterans.We thank u for publishing most important part of the judgment like a flash news. Let us hope a Separate Pay Commission will solve all anomalies and grievances. Your services will always remembered by all the veterans. May the Almighty give u long life and good health.

Exwel Trust, Tirunelveli Dt.

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

Thanks a lot for the information.
Confusion still exists - will the MoD give instructions to the respective CaDA - O,N and AF - to make the payments of arrears or will we have to wait for the Bench constituted by the CJI to decide whether the order of 8-3-2010 stands or has to be recalled or re-heard etc

just said...

Dear Maj Navdeep.

would u kindly post the link of the Supreme Court Order.

Thank You

Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep,can you tell us why the court has referred the review application of UOI to CJI for placing it before some other bench ?
When one officer has already been paid the rank pay and the Hon'ble SC orders are pending,don't you think this will further delay payments ? Please clarify this point for the benefit of all affected officers.

ninihala said...

It may not be such a great idea. Till now, GOI was constrained to give us at least equal pay as to IAS officers. Now, it is probable that uniformed persons will be shortchanged by first holding Def Pay Commission and after giving them whatever, hold CPC and give them a whole lot more. We have to be careful against possibility of such mischief.

Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep,
Thanks for the news.

Any time frame laid down for forming up of commission and for the commission to submit the report and implementation by the govt?

What are the implications of referring the case to Hon'ble CJI for placing it under another bench in terms of time? Why could it not be decided today?

sunlit said...

This is an extremely lucid and comprehensive update. Kudos!
But it does appear more time will have to pass before the matter is placed before The Hon'ble Chief Justice and another bench hears and accords disposal on the Government application.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for announcing the good news. Your blog is really an eye opener for many armed forces issues. I salute you on behalf of all our serving/retired pers.

Atul said...

Though the SC directions mark a new begining, those bureaucrats sitting in MoD and treating this as a personal loss will come up with some antics. They may even involve the politicians and taint this action as a direct interference of Judiciary in the functioning of Executive. These Babus will only begin to toe the line if the court moves contempt proceedings against a few of them

Anonymous said...

RANK Pay and separate pay Commision. Bravo Bravo. Fantastic NEWS. Thank you Major Navdeep. Pl tell whether RANK Pay arrears will be applicable for 1996 or 2006 commisioned officers also? Thank you once again. Jai Hind.

ABC - Simply said...

Dear Maj.Navdeep,
I am as confused as some of the others. What victory are we celebrating if the Central Govt (read MoD) can ignore the Commission's recommendations? Like one of the Learned Judges said Is it "only a pressure cooker, to let off steam?"

If the Review Application has been referred to the Chief Justice of India for another Bench then what have we achieved? We still will not get our arrears till that Bench hears the case(s) and decides in our favour.

Anonymous said...

The Hon’ble Court also refused to refer the issue of rank pay fixation to the Commission since it has already been settled in favour of the officers by the order of the Hon’ble Supreme court itself dated 08.03.2010 in T.P. (Civil) No. 56/2007. The Application for modification and recalling the order dated 08.03.2010 has been referred to the Chief Justice of India for placing the same before another Bench.

Anonymous said...


Is there actually any reason to rejoice ? Perhaps time will only tell !!

It is like one of the good advertisements we come across. You come to terms only when you read the fine prints. So what are the 'conditions apply' in this case ?

Or the entire thing is to delay the process.

Let them address the issues of the veterans who should get their dues, and lead a more well deserved dignified life.

Possibly then it may then take up the issues of the musch-awaited DCAP due to the docs, followed by NFFU.

Let there be parity with the civil counterparts, for all ranks.

Anyway it indeed is a landmark issue.

Aditya said...

Um... as a person with some experience of the world... and also, as someone who is currently undergoingt training in THE LAW, alongwith his current responsibilities, this judgement leaves me... awestruck. Its historic. I dont know if anyone understands what it means. But its amazing in its scope. Its.. incredible. Now lets hope that it manages to fix the defence disaster.

Col A K Sarkar(Retd) said...

Dear Navdeep

I feel net result is zero. Recommendations of the commission is upto the Govt to accept or reject .No gain. Rank pay case refered to another bench.It will take years to get final verdict. No gain.There is nothing to celeberate .Our fight to continue through IESM.Thanks Navdeep for giving us latest info. We are proud of you.

just said...

It appears another body (read commission) has been formed whose recommendations would be brushed aside by the government. What purpose does it solve ? I hope things are not as negative as I sound.

Anonymous said...

More info on Armed Forces Redressal Commssion:



Lt Col G K Mohan Rao said...

Referring the rank pay issue to CJI for constituting another bench is a retrograde step as it may drag the issue for some more time. I hope CJI will view the issue in a practical way and desist transferring the case to another bench

Anonymous said...

The rank pay has been paid to one officer who went to the court first, after the court identified the mistake made by the babus in the calculation.The cases of officers who went to the court later were heard by the Hon'ble Supreme Court and orders issued for payment of arrears along with 6% interest.
Delaying payments to these officers is a clear case of contempt of court.
The officers who haven't gone to the court can now go to the commission and get their dues free of cost.
Maj Navdeep,can you advise further course of action for expediting the payments of officers whose cases have already been heard and orders issued as mentioned above ?

Anonymous said...

Uncongenial Area Allowance to ITBP personnel
The Union Home Ministry is considering a proposal to give Uncongenial Area Allowance (UAA) to the personnel of Indo-Tibetan Border Police deployed at 26 border outposts and import quality clothing for them.

ITBP Director General R K Bhatia said an amount of two crore has been sanctioned by the government for procuring sophisticated equipment and gears for the newly deployed battalions in Chhattisgarh for operations against Maoists.

In the advent of the force's golden jubilee year, he said efforts are on to provide adequate accommodation to the troops personnel and their families at various locations under public private partnership.

The DG, who visited forward posts of Tame Chung Chung and Taksing in Upper Subansiri district yesterday said the only demand of the jawans in the forward posts was provision of adequate sorties to bring in ration and equipments.

Anonymous said...

The only saving grace in referring the MoD's review Petition to the CJI is that the CJI was in the Bench that rejected the SLP filed by UoI in 2005. So probably the CJI knows what the case is all about.
I hope so!

IndianACE said...

Well, on reading the judgement, it appears to be quite well drafted and comprehensive.

And Maj Navdeep's comments also seem to suggest that the long awaited change is round the corner.

It is also good to know that the commission will be located at Chandigarh.

But still, reading the comments of brother officers, it appears that there is a lot of apprehension. Brought about by past letdowns- Perhaps.

Kudos for your efforts, Maj Navdeep.

Col NR Kurup said...

I do not consider this propossed Commission is of any consequences due to following specific terms of reference :

"The Commission is only a recommendatory body and not an adjudicatory body. Hence it is open to the Central Government to accept or not to accept its recommendations, though of course since such recommendations will be coming from a high powered body the Central Government must give due weight to the same."

I think we have enough experience to know the futility of such a commission. Does anyone has an ioto of confience that a government who is not abiding by HC Orders, Orders of SC and opt to go for a SPL will ever bother the recommendations. For example if the ongoing case of 4th CPC rank pay is referred to this commission and the commission strongly recommend, will the government care a hood ? Have a heart

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep

Please clarify whether rank pay issue is applicable to officers commissioned after 1996.

Harry said...

@ Anonymous above at 3:25pm

The Ans is NO and YES!
NO, because the case pertains to 4th CPC which was applicable between 86 and Jan 96.

YES, because it proves that the base for fixation of Rank Pay by 5th CPC was WRONG (as was the case during 6th CPC as well) so it needs to be refixed. Remember post 5th CPC new Basic Pay was arrived at after multiplying old Basic Pay (Rs 2300 at the start of scale) by a factor of 3.58 (and thus new Basic Pay was Rs 8250 i.e. 8250/2300 = 3.587) whereas the Rank Pay was merely doubled (as if it was an allowance and NOT treated as part of Basic contrary to Govt's own SAI.)

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep singh,

Regarding Majors pay : filed by Cdr Avtar Singh and well fought and won by by Cmde Sukhjinder Singh.

There are not many old majors and equivalents of vintage before the 4th pay commission of 1986.

To those few ones are there any benefits due, if so, have they been accepted by the govt for implementation?Or does it also have to be decided by the bench appointed by the CJI?

Shall be thankful for your opinion.

sunlit said...

The judgement, a link to which is given in the main post relates to the case of family pension. The court order relating to T.P.(Civil) 56/2007 regarding the rank pay case can be seen here.

Anonymous said...

To Harry, if post 1996 commissioned officers not affected (which I think it should),will Officers commissioned in between 1986-1996 be affected?

gentle said...

We were all eagerly awaiting for the D Day of 15 Nov to learn about the decision on the Rank pay issue which had been lingering for a long time in the minds of pre-1996 retirees like me. After reading the disposal of the case as brought out in the attachment made available by Sunlit on 16 Nov at 801PM,all the speculation on the issue can be laid to rest that the matter is left undecided by the honorable judges dealing with the case.To a lay person like me , it is beyond comprehension as to why the matter has been transferred to another bench for consideration ! What are the contentious issues left to be resolved ? why it could not be transferred earlier during the deliberations by the concerned bench? Finally one is dejected to conclude in a sense of frustration that "Justice delayed is Justice denied". May be perhaps a more enlightened legal personality like our Major Navdeep Singh could throw more light on the matter to be understood by not so bright ordinary persons of my age (74)!
Sushil Kumar Sudan
Retd ( Wing Cdr) 1989

ABC - Simply said...

@Sunlit and @Gentle,
UoI/MoD (US) has submitted in the additional affidavit amongst other things -"order dated 8-3-2010 passed by this Hon'ble Court if implemented would lead to the following difficulties: - (a) (it) would mean re-fixation of pay of not only the officers entitled to Rank Pay but of other personnel above and below such officers.. to be revised w.e.f. 1.1.1986 firstly, and then 1.1.1996 and 1.1.2006, (b)Grant of this UNINTENDED benefit would place a heavy burden on the exchequer (calculated by the High Power Committee to be Rs.1623.71 crores.)
2. It also cites that enormous efforts will be required to collate information "relating to promotion, annual increments etc" as if these are not audited by the respective CDA before approving PPOs.

3. Let us wait - we have waited 25 years as on 1.1.2011.The amount to be paid to each of us is increasing daily @6% annual interest.

4. The MoD seems to be living in a world of its own - Rs 1,76, 000 lakh crores in 2G Scam and Rs 6000-7000 crores in the CWG scam! If only 1% is used to pay Armed Forces officers, there will be enough even to outsourec things to TCS or Infosys or WIPRO for putting in the "enormous efforts."

Harry said...

@ Air Marshal Savur (retd)


The following part of the question posed by Wing Cdr Sushil Kumar Sudan (retd) remain unanswered (I had the same querry too) :-

...it is beyond comprehension as to why the matter has been transferred to another bench for consideration ! What are the contentious issues left to be resolved ? why it could not be transferred earlier during the deliberations by the concerned bench?

could you pls clarify on this Sir?

Brig SK Sharma said...

You are doing good service to the cause of citizens of this country who have been made to feek, all along that they are aliens.

But we must not forget that it is us to blame for this sorry state. Large number of us pander to the bureaucrats. Indeed.


Brig SK Sharma.

Anonymous said...

Now the time is to look ahead and fwd recommendations and issues to the Commission.

In my view, we must highlt the issues of rk downgradation and the equivalence being imposed by the CPOs/PMF and the civ appts.

How can we fwd the issues to this

Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep,

To me, this judgement seems way out of place and reality. Will all cases of grievances pending in various courts be now heard or pended as this commission is to be set up. The right solution at this time should have been
(1) dismiss the UOI review petition for rank pay case as it has already been settled at Hon'ble SC and give a timeframe of 2 months for its implementation (2) give a timeframe of say 4-6months for maj anomalies in 6th pay commission incl OROP to be solved (3) Thereafter, other grievances to be taken up by the commission.
Nothing like this has happended. instead, rank pay case which was taken to be resolved has been put into a loop.
Well, faujis are worth this only ?

Air Martial said...

The order of the Bench, provided in the link by sunlit, has one important statement - Justice Katju has asked the CJI not to include him in the Bench that will consider the Revision Petition.

As per email from Gp.Capt. (retd) K.K. Rohatgi, a litigant and Supreme Court lawyer, the UoI has stated in the RP that it was never heard. It is a bit shocking because the best of legal minds represented the UoI from the OP stage in 1998 till the present case heard/disposed on 15.11.2010.

To conjecture on the questions is, in my opinion, inappropriate and perhaps only Justice Katju can provide the reasons.

sunlit said...

@ABC - Simply and @Harry

"...The amount to be paid to each of us is increasing daily @6% annual interest......"

Sir, it would not be out of place if after considering the recalcitrance exhibited towards the 8 October judgement of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Hon'ble Chief Justice imposed a penal interest in double digits in order to curb the litigious tendencies of the applicants (for recall of order) in this case.

Harry said...

@ Sunlit


That (penal interest in double digits) would be an icing on the cake ! So what if Indian growth rate still stays in single rate, atleast our dues will see double digit growth !! Wonder how would respondents (Read UoI/Babus) feel with so much egg (that too rotten) on their faces and nowhere to hide!

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, in the absence of any professionally qualified comments by Maj (retd) Navdeep, I venture to ask a few questions/doubts: - (1) Armed Forces Crievance Redressal Commission (AFGRC)"shall look into grievances related to pay etc" and then do what? (2)AFGRC will make recommendations to the Central Govt (UoI). (3) This is the clincher "it is open to the Govt to accept or not accept its (AFGRC's) recommendation(s). So what is the euphoria all about?

Anonymous said...

You have hit the nail on the head, sir

Anonymous said...

It is of no use when breaucrat (Govt Rep) Ex-Chief/Vice Chief etc are on board. Most of the grievances will be against these members. Once they could not redress them while in uniform, what will they do now. All members should be SC/HC judges. Senior defence Officers if at all required to be members of commisions, They should only be for forcing the implementation of recommendations of the commission in the Armed Forces.

Air Martial said...

My doubts (and no more on this topic from me) - by ordering the formation of (as anon @9.41 put it) AFGRC, a channel to let off steam has been provided; but effectiveness of the AFGRC depends on the sustained continued response of the UoI/MoD.

The more substantive issue of the validity of the 1998 orders of the Single Judge of the High Court of Kerala, the 2003 orders of the Division Bench of High Court of Kerala, the 2005 dismissal of the SLP by a Bench of the Apex Court and the 8.3.2010 orders of the Bench of the Apex Court is now sub-judice. When the hearing(s) before another Bench would take place will be keenly watched.

I don't know (1) why the same Bench did not or cannot hear the Review Petition; (2)if as reported in RDOA's blog, the Judge refused the request of the UoI to refer the orders 8.3.2010 to the AFGRC stating that orders have been passed, it is neither mentioned in the Apex Court's orders in Pushpa Vanti vs. UoI or UoI vs. N.K. Nair & others of 15.11.2010cas.

sunlit said...

@Anonymous: I too had felt the celebration was a wee bit pre-mature.

Kaps said...

We have already seen how the govt doesn't listen to agencies even set by itself, like the TRAI or even CAG. A commission which doesn't have any fangs (judicial, quasi-judicial) is going to be ineffective in the babudom. As and when pay commissions are set up, whether or not their recommendations will be accepted, only time can tell. With all due respect, it would look as if the judiciary doesn't want to burden itself with grievances anymore and has delegated the responsibility to a body with no power to solve such grievances. As much as I would like to see the glass as half full, this looks like a black hole to me.

Col NR Kurup said...

I could not understand the present ordersat all. It is not a review petition as no error apparant on the face of records brought in.UOI had filed an application for modification and recalling of the orders dated 8-3-2010 and for rehearing of the matter.

During he hearing of 15-11-2010 the UOI had filed an additional afidavit The SC has held that this affidavit as contemptious and has disregarded the same

The Hon'ble SC refused to refer the isue of rank pay fixation to the Commission as pleaded by UOI since it has already been setled in favour of the officers by the orders of SC itself datged 8-3-2010 in TP(Civil)No.56/2007

Ultimaterly it is seen that the application for modification and recalling the order dated 8-3-2010 has been referred to the CJI for placing the same before another Bench. Can the additional Bench set aside the above orders of 8-3-2010, I doubt. It may just examine the pleading of the UOI in its affidavit for formalities sake. I doubt existance of any provision to review the orders of 8-3-2010 as such.

As regards the interest of 6% is concerned, it is applicable to the arrears outstanding upto 9-3-2010 only. If we are smart enough we can plead for penal interest or market rate of interest for the period from 8-3-2010 till date of actual payment.

Air Martial said...

Sorry for not keeping my word, but today's The Hindu item was too good not to be shared.

Gp Capt (retd) K.K. Rohatgi, a Supreme Court lawyer and litigant in the Rank Pay case, stated in an email of 16.11.2010 that the SG settled Review Petition of May/June 2010 avers that the UoI/MoD was not heard.

The Hindu of 19.11.2010 states
'A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly told the SG that it was better an affidavit was filed "so that tomorrow you may not say that opportunity was not given to place the records and documents."

Coincidence? Your guess as good as mine!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone with copy of Review Petition and relevant portion of 4th Pay Commission report?

Anonymous said...

Rank pay update: 03 Jan 2011 next hearing hopefully something will come out concrete:
...."The case had come up for hearing today-06 Dec 10.The next date of hearing has been fixed for 03 Jan 2011"....

sunlit said...

An adjournment was sought and granted in the matter. Please follow the links for an update .

Anonymous said...

RANK PAY UPDATE: wait for 03 jan 2011, maybe new year will bring in good NEWS.

sunlit said...

In another blog, there was a query about an additional affidavit. My reply, though published there was subsequently removed for some reason. Is it not correct that the additional affidavit had been disregarded as reported in yet another blog? Could someone shed some light on it?

Anonymous said...

Anybody any update on RANK PAY CASE HEARING on 03 January 2011? Hopefully New year will bring in some good NEWS for fauzis.

sunlit said...

For those who might missed the news, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has fixed 24th February 2011 as the date for a "final disposal" of the case. The record of proceedings can be accessed here

Anonymous said...

Dear Major,
Anything on the Rank Pay issue? The Supreme Court Bench was to review the earlier decision.

Anonymous said...

Recently there was a news about withdrawal of certain order issued by the SC.Does it pertain to this particular judgement?Can anyone throw some light?