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Saturday, February 19, 2011

If the state of affairs of pensioners in Punjab has opened up a “Pandora’s box”, what can be said about Defence Pensioners ?

The problems being faced by pensioners in Punjab is zilch when compared to the millions of pensioners, disability pensioners and family pensioners at the receiving end of the MoD, PCDA(P) and our Record Offices. Despite serious and laudable efforts by the Services HQrs, the problem, at the moment, appears unmanageable.

But it is worth reading how the Hon’ble Supreme Court has castigated the State of Punjab on the subject as reported in the Indian Express today :

Denial of retiral benefits to a Class III employee by the Punjab government seems to have opened a Pandora’s box. The Supreme Court has not only dismissed Punjab’s Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict allowing retiral benefits to the aggrieved retired employee Karnail Singh but also called for the complete details of the status, period and reason for delay in all those cases of government employees, who have not been given retiral benefits even a long time after their attaining superannuation.

Complying with the Apex Court’s January 28 order, the state government admitted that as many as 2,790 government employees of different ranks and 66 departments were still awaiting pension and other benefits after their retirement.

As per admission, the government was sitting on retiral benefits of its employees for as long as 22 years and also many retired employees had already died without getting pension and other benefits.

Citing various reasons like pending court litigation, criminal cases, departmental inquiries and various objections, the government admitted that employees of Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner’s office and Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management were awaiting pension for 22 years, those of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for 19 years; Food, Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs for over 17 years; Dairy Development for 16 years, several teachers for over 15 years and hundreds of employees from various departments who were not paid retiral benefits up to 15 years after retirement.

In a comprehensive affidavit annexed with 244 pages, Secretary to Punjab Department of Pensions and Welfare of Pensioners, HIS Grewal, submitted that the matter is being given top priority, utmost seriousness and strict directions have been issued to all the Administrative Secretaries to decide the pending cases expeditiously. The affidavit will come up before the Supreme Court on February 21, the next date of hearing in the case. On January 28, the SC division bench, comprising Justice GS Singhvi and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly, had taken on record an affidavit filed by Secretary, Personnel, BS Sudan, which was not found satisfactory.

Earlier, the SC had also sought similar information from Punjab and Haryana High Court Registrar General, who had submitted that as many as 766 writ petitions and 106 regular second appeals were pending before the HC in relation to the claim of employees for grant of retiral benefits. Two such cases were of 1989 while a few were of 1990 and 1999.

It was on November 26 that the SC had dismissed Punjab’s SLP while observing, “Punjab is known for indulging in frivolous litigation involving low paid employees. This SLP is one such piece of litigation in which legality of the order passed by HC single judge directing payment of pension to respondent has been challenged.”

“We regretfully note that employees and officers of different cadres are forced to litigate in the court by spending their hard earned money for vindication of their legal and constitutional rights for payment of retiral dues,” the SC Judges had noted.


Anonymous said...

We all know the truth behind the Punjab Govt ...

They are absolute jerks ...

Harry said...

@ All

I have posted the following comment under the news item in Indian Express as linked by Maj Navdeep. Since I am not sure if it wiould be published so I am reproducing the same here for the benefit of everybody.

Dear Mr Shekhar Gupta,

I hope you now realise how the Sarkari machinary works especially in matters of employees' pay and pensions. Hope next time you won't pontificate to Service Chief's like you did when Admiral Sureesh Mehta stood his ground to represent against 6th Pay Commission award for Defence Forces. Hope you recall dubbing his 'bounden duty' (to look after the welfare of his officers and men) as trade unionistic blackmail. By the way, 5th Pay commission anomalies are stil outstanding, leave aside 6th Pay Commission anomalies for which National Anomalies Committee met nearly after 1 year of it's last meeting merely to 'understand the viewpoint of staff side'! Now what do you have to say to this Sir?

Lt Col (retd) Dr. G Kameswara rao said...

The Babus in the Government, whether Central or State, are thick-skinned. The judiciary's strictures won't move them out of their attitude of CCL (Couldn't Care Less) towards firstly NOT CREATING a Problem and thereafter NOT SOLVING that Problem. Any amount of castigaing them is like Rainfall on a Buffalo - those animals enjoy the rain on them and donot seek a shelter from the rain.

Anonymous said...

@ Harry
Perhaps as they say SILENCE IS GOLDEN.It is not only better but without any doubt the person you are referring to in all fairness, and maintaining dignity should accept that Pensioners (Defence or otherwise ) are suffering for years on,hoping and hoping for some favourable results , which appear to be so close yet beyond reach generally.And all this because of our elite BABUS class sitting in one place all their life in AC offices with tinted ( read TAINTED occupents ) glassess without any concern as to what is happening outside.

rsrawat47 said...

The matter that ESM at Uttarakhand are exasperated about is a plethora of reasons why the PDAs are not paying them their correct dues. Often it is not the bank but the Records & CDA(P)that are issuing the PPOs with correct entitlements. Banks can only pay what is contained in the PPO. So, to a large extent banks cannot be blamed. If the latest entitlement of Families of Lt Cols is erroneous - obviously, how the bank pay Rs 15420 to them!
Approx over a year back we had started to get the date of birth of our wives endorsed in the Corr PPOs. The AHQ has taken all action but to date most of us have not received the Corr PPO. What is holding the CDA - are they overworked???
Interestingly, Subedar pensioners 2006 onwards are getting less pension than their counterparts pre 2006. Why so? Pre 2006 Subs are getting Rs 11970!! Wow! The New Pension scales issued lately has not only given OROP - they have given far more! Great!! Can offrs too expect similar treatment by the GOI to get higher pension than their post 2005 pensioners?? Who knows?

Anonymous said...

All those who are at any position today, have to retire some day....
so all present BABUS have to fall into the category of retired personnel.....
Can we not remember this simple fact of life ?
I am yet to hear any case of such apathy for any central government emloyee ,what to talk of Defence
I personally feel proud to belong to the Defence Forces, where, we take care of our Jawans ,even after their death, by sending teams to their home places and ensuring payment of thier dues ASAP.
Yet, a lot needs to be done .Things like Rank pay, Grant of disability pension on percentage basis to all pre 1-1-06 retirees etc are required to be addressed .
Hope the top brass of Defence Forces will push their way through and ensure timely action for addressing concerns of veterans as even the present Chiefs have to be ESM one day.........................

Anonymous said...

There is every reason for a soldier of the Armed Forces to be proud of his/her professional career and that I too am even as a bonafide exserviceman!We have been taught to be obedient,submissive,
loyal,reliable,respectable to the senior officers as well as to hold the highest degree of tolerence and that we,by and large, maintain in our retired life also.Now the question is what do all these ultimately pay?The exservicemen are continuously being ignored in various ways, facing dishonour time and again and shockingly, when
authentic claims,for which orders are in existence,do not receive any attention of the deciding authorities.Hindrance is one-BUREAUCRACY.We write in the blog(s)to express our views and do not really know as to whether there is any agency/machinery who could extend a sympathetic look towards grievances of the exservicemen and provide them with TIMELY JUSTICE.

Anonymous said...

i wonder if allthese observations/strictures of courts are shown to the concerned minist ers at all. it is time all such verdicts are published in a book and circulated to every M P, MLA,MLC, Ministers and political party functioneries (with a preface by some great man ). i am sure such a book will also sell well among general public .it will definitely help the voters of this country to assess the performance of the individuals and the govts that they have elected and will be a good guide for them when they go to vote next time .