The Full Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has finally allowed the petition by pre-2006 pensioners seeking modified parity with post-2006 retirees. The CAT has inter alia held that the term ‘minimum of pay in the pay band’ would mean minimum of pay within the pay band corresponding to the scale held at the time of retirement and not minimum of the pay band itself as interpreted and implemented by the government through a clarification.
However, it is the following extract which specially merits mention on this blog being a subject much discussed by us here :-
“On the basis of the recommendations made by VI CPC, which stood validly accepted by the Cabinet, it has been argued that principle for determining the pension has been completely altered under the garb of clarification. According to the learned counsel for the applicants on the basis of the aforesaid resolution/modified parity revised pension of the pre-2006 pensioners shall not be less than 50% of the minimum of the pay band + grade pay, corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired.
15. Applicants in para-11 of the Additional-Affidavit have explained how the Note prepared by a junior functionary (at the level of an Under Secretary) in the Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare in regard to para-4.2 of the OM dated 1.9.2008 has been given a go-by to the resolution dated 29.08.2008. The Note so prepared has been extracted in this para, which thus reads:
X X X
16. It is pleaded that first the need for such a doubt being raised is not clear as both the formulation of the CPC in para 5.1.47 as well as in Government Resolution dated 29.8.2008 (Annexure A-7 of the OA) is clear that the fixation of pension will be subject to the provision that the revised pension in no case, shall be lower than fifty percent of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay thereon corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. (emphasis added). The use of words sum of, and thereon leaves no doubt that both the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay have to correspond to the pre-revised pay scale. Second, without bringing out merits or demerits of either formulation, the lower functionary in DOP & PW incorporates in the clarification against item 4.2 in the OM dated 1.9.2008, the first option about minimum of pay in the pay band (irrespective of the pre-revised scale of pay). What is worse is that there is no application of mind even at the level of Director and Secretary who merely sign the note and the clarification is issued after obtaining finance concurrence and approval of MOS (PP), without going back to the Cabinet for such a modification.
17. The learned counsel has further argued that the resultant injustice done to the pre-1-1-2006 pensioners had even been recognized by MOS (F) and MOS (PP) in their letters to the PM and MOS (F) respectively, copies of which are at Annexures A-11 (page 169) and A-12 (page 170) of the OA. A formal proposal was also sent by DOP & PW to Department of Expenditure seeking rectification but was not accepted by the latter. It was also incorrectly mentioned that the earlier provision in para 4.2 of OM dated 1.9.2008 has been issued in pursuance of the approval of the Cabinet granted to the Report of the Sixth CPC and any change would entail substantial financial implications and this was done only with the approval of the Secretary (Expenditure) without putting up the note to MOS (F) who had himself supported the change. A copy of this Note dated 2.1.2009 is enclosed as Annexure 5. “
Proof enough how misleading notes by lower level functionaries can wreak havoc for the public at large.