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Monday, April 30, 2012

Stark discrimination between disabled employees of the defence services vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts

The tragedy of our country is that while there is ample lip service and pseudo-respect available to the cause of defence veterans, theory does not translate into actual action on ground. While there are many in the nation who perpetually brag about the facilities and benefits provided by the government to defence personnel, not even a fraction can actually fathom how innocuous sounding provisos and exceptions have been carved out to the detriment of  the men and women in uniform.

The following paragraphs contain a self-explanatory letter endorsed by me to various addressees which would go to show how disabled defence veterans are unduly being discriminated vis-à-vis their peers in other government services. While some of the addressees have replied stating that the cause and the grievances reflected are genuine, again not much has moved except lips, symbolically speaking.

Following is the reproduction of the letter referred above. If you find the data a little heavy on your time, may just have a look at the table in the middle.

Addressed for independent action to:
A. The Defence Minister, South Block, New Delhi
B. Chiefs of the Army / Naval / Air Staff, New Delhi
C. Secretary, Ex-Servicemen Welfare, South Block, New Delhi
D. Law Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, New Delhi
E. Minister-in-Charge, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, New Delhi
F. Secretary, Department of Social Justice & Empowerment, New Delhi


1.     As you must be aware, Section 47 of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (Annexure-A) protects the employment of disabled government servants. This proactive and welfare oriented provision provides that the government shall not dispense with the services of a disabled government employee. The said provision also further provides that even in case a disabled government employee cannot be adjusted on any suitable post, he or she may be kept on supernumerary strength till the age of superannuation (60 years in case of Central Govt) and resultantly be paid full pay and allowances, and pension thereafter, even if the affected employee is unable to attend to any official duty. The Act is applicable to State Govt also.

2.     The Govt however, as per proviso to the above Section 47, can exempt certain organisations from the operation of the said section through a gazette notification. In pursuance thereof, the central govt has exempted combatants in the armed forces from the applicability of the protection under Section 47 (Annexure-B) and similar notifications have also been issued for employees of certain other security organisations. The issuance of such notifications and the exemption of such organisations from the scope of Section 47 is well understood and well appreciated in light of the fact that security forces have to retain a young and fit profile in order to perform the cardinal duties set out for them.

3.     The problem however is that this exemption, which was primarily undertaken to retain a fit fighting profile for such organisations, has unwittingly resulted in a grave form of injustice for the disabled members of such forces who suffer disabilities on accounts of reasons declared as non-service connected or neither attributable to, nor aggravated by service. While in all government services, the employment, pay, allowances and pension of a person who suffers any kind of disability (whether connected with service or otherwise) are fully protected due to the applicability of the above Act, on the other hand, in the armed forces, neither the employment, nor the pay, allowances nor pension are protected and such individuals are discharged or invalided out of service without any kind of pension/disability pension or protection which may be very much required for leading a dignified life. It may be important to point out here that as per the current pensionary provisions, a member of the armed forces who is discharged or invalided out with a disability attributable to or aggravated by or connected to service conditions is entitled to ‘disability pension’ irrespective of length of service, but the same is not admissible to those who are discharged or invalided with disabilities not connected with service such as injuries sustained on leave. It is common practice for persons with disabilities to be discharged from military service on account of disabilities and the minimum service requirement for earning an ‘Invalid Pension’ for injuries, diseases and disabilities due to non-service reasons is 10 years whereas civilian employees cannot at all be discharged on account of disabilities and can enjoy full tenure with full pay & allowances till the age of superannuation and pension thereafter.

4.      Non-availability of any kind of monthly financial assistance or pension to such disabled military personnel with less than 10 years’ service who are invalided out or discharged with disabilities directly infringes their right to enjoy a dignified life. Such personnel are unable to support themselves or their families while their civilian counterparts face no such impediment. In a common recruitable population, it is highly demoralising to experience a disabled military personnel fighting against odds to make both ends meet for himself/herself and his/her family while his or her peer in civil employment enjoys complete protection in this regard. A major chunk of such disabled personnel are from the category of persons who suffer injury while on authorised military leave – even such personnel are not entitled to any form of disability or invalid pensionary benefits on being discharged as per current provisions. It may not be out of place to point out that in all developed democracies, personnel suffering injuries on authorised leave are entitled to disability pensionary benefits but the same has been denied to Indian soldiers, sailors and air force personnel despite the passage of more than 6 decades of freedom. It may also be pointed out that the Pensionary Entitlement Rules of the Indian Military are modelled after the American provisions (and not the British Rules) and the American Rules fully provide for disability benefits for disabilities suffered on authorised leave (Title 38, United States Code). In Canada, there is an Accidental Dismemberment Insurance Plan (ADIP) for non-service related injuries suffered by members of Canadian Forces which involves payment of a monthly amount. Even in Bhutan, which has just embraced full democratic principles, a disabled member of the forces is paid full pay and allowances till age of superannuation in case of inability of performance of military duties. In other countries even where service benefits are not admissible to such cases, a handsome disability allowance is admissible which is adequate to ensure a life of dignity.

5.       The stark variance between a civilian vis-à-vis a defence employee in this regard is discernible from the following tabulation :-

Civil Govt Employee with 9 years of service who suffers a disability
Military Employee with 9 years of service who suffers a disability

Protection of Service

Full protection under Section 47 of the Act.

Will not be discharged on account of disability.
Armed Forces exempted from operation of Section 47. Hence no protection of employment available in case of disability. Employee can be discharged on account of disability.

Pay and allowances
Full pay and allowances admissible till the age of 60 even if unable to attend any official duty. Can even be kept on supernumerary post and paid all pay and allowances.

NIL admissible.


Entitled to full service length till superannuation and pension thereafter.

NIL admissible.

Right to life of dignity for self and family.

Full pay and pension and complete govt protection/cover with entitled  facilities admissible to dependants.
NIL. No facilities or protection for self and dependants.

6.            The above would show that it is only in our country where members of the armed forces who suffer non-service related disabilities are made to suffer the life of ignominy with no protection whatsoever. Equity demands that our disabled who are discharged from service due to reasons not under their control should be made entitled to atleast some minimum allowance, irrespective of their length of service, that may be required to lead a decent dignified life. The lack of any such protection is not only dispiriting but also demoralizing for persons joining the armed forces vis-à-vis their peers joining other services. This also is a great disservice for our youth and highly discouraging for the men and women in uniform. Lack of protection of Section 47 hence has not only resulted in guarantee of employment in case of disability but also denial of pension and a right to a dignified life for military personnel and their families, a viewpoint that may not have been taken into account earlier. As stated above, while the reason for exemption from Section 47 is much appreciated, it should not have a detrimental effect in other arenas which could not have been visualised.

7.           I hope that the above would be appreciated in a pragmatic light and a way out of this acute problem would be addressed. Since the protection of disability laws is not available to armed forces, either the requirement of 10 years of service for invalid pension should be abrogated, or disability pension (for which already there is no minimum service requirement) should be made admissible for non-service related disabilities also, except perhaps those disabilities that may have been incurred during any illegal activity. This would not only be a great service to our brave armed forces but also to the disabled population as a whole. I am confident of positive action in this direction with your intervention.

                                                            Thanking You

                                                                                                (Navdeep Singh)

Copy to:
1. Adjutant General, South Block, New Delhi
2. Chief of Personnel (COP), Indian Navy, Sena Bhawan, DHQ PO, New Delhi
3. Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel (AoP), Air Headquarters, New Delhi
4. Director, PS-4 (Legal), PS Directorate, Sena Bhawan, DHQ PO, New Delhi
5. Chairman, Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), New Delhi
6. President, Disabled War Veterans (DIWAVE)
7. Secretary, Department of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
8. Secretary to Govt of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi
9. Directors General CRPF, BSF, ITBP



(Legislative Department)
New Delhi, the 1st January, 1996 / Pausa 11, 1917 (Saka)
Section 47
47. (1) No establishment shall dispense with or reduce in rank, an employee who acquires a disability during his service.
Provided that, if an employee, after acquiring disability is not suitable for the post he was holding, could be shifted to some other post with the same pay scale and service benefits.
Provided further that if it is not possible to adjust the employee against any post, he may be kept on a supernumerary post until a suitable post is available or he attains the age of superannuation, whichever is earlier.
(2) No promotion shall be denied to a person merely on the ground of his disability:
Provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to the type of work carried on in any establishment, by notification and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such notification, exempt any establishment from the provisions of this section.


Appearing on Page Nos. 3489-3490
Date: 13.4.2002

New Delhi, the 28th March, 2002

S.R.O. 1179.- In exercise of the powers conferred by proviso to Section 47 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (1 of 1996) the Central Government having regard to the type of work carried on hereby exempts all categories of posts of combatant personnel of the Armed Forces from the provision of the said section.
(No. 16-27/2001-NI.I)


Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
Thank you so much for the letter to various ministers on the plight of disabled All Rank. To my mind cause of justice can be served by keeping such disabled military persons/ officers in service to the age of normal superannuation applicable to their rank and deploy them in identified vacancies. After all suc people can very well serve on the staff or administrative job in a static organization.
Best regards

n p singh said...

I think you are doing salutary service to the services by raising such issues.My compliments.

Anonymous said...

Navdeep sir
your blog is a eye opener for all. Your blog should be read by all the young boys willing to join indian army so that they can understand what they are going to do to their life.


Dear Navdeep
I will request you not to publish the comments from anonymus. If their guts are so weak dont commit on their behalf.My heart bleeds to see Rank and File of Indian Armed Forces from Top to Bottom are so confused they fail to express as per the precedence favourable to us. Still Do and Die for the Country will never
be diluted. But the strugle to sort out the Black Sheeps and Infidels to us must continue. God Bless

rk said...

Every soldier should know all these

Anonymous said...

Navdeep will it be possible to send it to leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha plus the Parliament committee on the subject. May be we should also reveal it some people who are sympathetic to armed forces cause in the media

JUSTIN said...

hats off 2 maj navdeep for excellent presentation.
sir, i feel i m a partial victim of xpressed views.
really maj navdeep u have spoken on behalf of all disable soldiers. - t.q.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame , how our three service head quarters have been sleeping all these years especially all had special cells for the various pay commissions . Its for a guy like Maj Navdeep who take upon himself to wake these people from their slumber.


Navdeep many thanks for exposing the grey areas in subjectivity of disabilities. There are many who have been denied any form of benefit due to the malicious words ‘attributable / aggravated’
When a person joins the AF he is SHAPE-1. Over the years some sort of disability sets in and the person gets invalidated without any disability pension which is highly discriminatory towards any AF person as compared to his civilian counterpart.
There are many who have been marginalized at 19.5% disability so that they do not get disability pension. Some of them have got the disability in ops areas. Very pathetic for the AFMS system on deciding on the percentage as well attributability/aggravation.
Hope your efforts wake up the people concerned and such disabilities get addressed.

Anonymous said...

i hope the eyes of our top brass opens a wee bit, and instead of thinking of their next rank as priority no. 1, they address this issue at the earliest. kindly get this published in all national dailies. we are willing to donate if newspapers want payment to publish this- even as an advertisment!! Kudos to you, Maj Navdeep!!

Lt col manjit Singh said...

Give it a media coverage.

Rajesh said...

Thanks Navdeep for this eye opener.As a lawyer,cant you file a PIL in supreme court-the last link in justice in this country.Atleast,the govt will be forced to reply to SC and hence there will be fresh look on these issues.

Anonymous said...

Navdeep the entire AF's community is indebted to you for HIGHLIGHTING such issues. Wish U contest in elections and represent AF's in parliament.As ARE JARNAILS are not going to speak.

Anonymous said...

let all the people of this country know how a fauji is treated and exploited by the civilians. its fundamentally violation of the constitution of India. it seems its crime to join army, navy and airforce. one should only try joining a civil govt. job by any means and be secure for life even doing no job.

Anonymous said...

Such cruel attitude of the Govt towards the sole saviors of this country is shameful and should be rightfully fought in the AFT/ Supreme court.

Anonymous said...

My dear Maj Navdeep,Sir

1. You are NAV DEEP not only by name but your actions, guts, knowledge and willingness to espouse the cause of armed forces personnel in most matured manner lights a naya deep in everyone's heart. Kudos to you. May the Almighty bless you !!!


The welfare of the defense forces will always be neglected unless a sizable representation is available to the veterans in the Parliament.

Beniwal said...

Dear navdeep, this discrimination and injustice can be removed by getting the two words attributable and aggaravated deleted in the pension regulations. also the section 47 suitably amended. in the name of keeping the fauj young and fighting fit, the government can not throw out a fauji without any pension once he is retired due to disability. when a civilian continues to get pay and perks till age 60, despite doing perhaps nothing, atleast a fauji be retired with pension when declared unfit for military job or be retained like a civilian for office jobs. the more youth comes to know about this discrimination less will offer to join. but the politicians and babus know there are plenty unemployed youth available to get exploited. hence the only remedy is legal and only Navdeep can get this done and not the service HQs alone for very obvious reasons.


Dear Maj Navdeep, request take a lead and form a group to get this major aberration corrected through due process of law.I am willing to contribute towards the lawyers fees. How can the law makers be so anti jawans and a shame on the service HQ also who never notice such major lapses and take up cudgels to have them corrected.This is similar to the rank pay case, no service HQ was willing to take up the issue,Maj Dhanapalan fought and won upto SC.Now Retired officers have asked the SC to extend the application of the said judgement to all officers retired or serving.Next hearing in Sept 12. Govt has been able to block it with the process of law for last three years and may even go for amendment like Vodafone case to block this judgement also.Service Hqs are watching on the sidelines, though serving officers are also to receive the benefits of this judgement.Thanks Maj Navdeep for bringing the issue to the notice of envoirnment.

Anonymous said...

That was really an eye opener, Maj Navdeep. This post was really disturbing. I'm afraid, your blog will become a must read for all new recruits.
Word of advice for all officers commanding men- please be cautious while filling up the injury report of your man . The form is so cumbersome that officers tend to cross over all options and the result is "not admissible". It is very easy to attach proofs, copies of orders to the report and make the injury admissible. And it is always better to regularly issue orders prior to nominating men for sports.

Muthukrishnan said...

Dear Sir,
Excellent presentation. Thank u very much for your dedication to the armed forces community. How this discrimination has not been referred in our AFTs in a number of disability cases ? Your postings should be translated first in Hindi and published to create awareness among veterans. May God bless you with good health and energy to serve the veterans.
Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,

Anonymous said...

Does person of ITBP, CRPF and BSF also not get benefit of Sect 47 ?. sir, please clarify.

Anonymous said...

We need to unite for well considered, concurrent and sustained action at legal, political as well as social front to sensitize people on:
1. Equal opportunities for soldiers vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts in terms of age of retirement, ACP and service protection in case of disabilities which occur during service.
2.Pay parity with civilian counterparts based on length of service in each class of service, eg, Class A, B and C.
3. Extension of NFU and similar steps to armed forces.
4. Linking of ECHS with CGHS in terms of facilities.

RH Sharma said...

I think the day is not far away when this anomally will be rectified and article 47 will be ammended due to the effort of major Nav deep singh. You should fight election and should go to parliament to address such issues otherwise our buerocrats will carry on sleeping.

Tukaram V Manerajurikar said...

Glad I read it. I am an exserviceman ( 15 years in IAF) and now re-employed in Central Govt. since Oct, 1990. Now I am a Superintendent of Central Excise ( Group B Gazetted Officer) due to physical health problems thinking of giving voluntary retirement in 2013, whereas I am supposed to retire on superannuation in Jan, 2018. Please guide me about Section 47 of the Act, 1995 suitably. I ahve a family wife, 2 daughters and oldaged mother dependant on me.

Lalit said...

although the concern about those disabled is agreed and accepted..

i'm left with one question..
can a field Army be burdened with disabled people? or probably the govt should come-up with guaranteed equivalent employment schemes so that the Army has all fit personnel and the disabled from the forces may be employed elsewhere..

but one thing for sure.. a soldier worth his salt will not like to be burden to his commodes or to his organisation

mahbis said...

I fail to understand that when the responsibility of a Fauji towards his job is unlimited then why the Govt has limited liability towards him once he gets disabled. And, as the Parliament passed “The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995” to remove discrimination against disabled in jobs and public life then why discriminate between the people working in defence forces / para military forces(PMF) who are most vulnerable and prone to become disabled in service and those in civil services. There are thousands of desk jobs available in defence forces / PMF to accommodate such unfortunate disabled of theirs within the organization till their superannuation age. Few hundred of such disabled won’t affect the efficiency of defence forces / PMF whose strength is in lakhs but if this job security is not given to them why someone would join the forces. At present people are joining the forces because they are not aware of the facts. Yet, if at all Govt of India doesn’t wish to accommodate disabled in defence and PMF due to job requirements then it can side step them to civil sercices and give guaranteed equivalent employment to them but should not discriminate between disabled of defence / PMF and of civil services in giving protection under the Act as it defeats the very purpose of bringing the “The Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995”. Just for knowledge sake, people should know that this Act was passed by the parliament under Congress Govt in 1995 and exemption to defence / PMF forces was given from the provisions of Section 47 of this Act by parliament under BJP Govt in 2002.

msc said...

please read

Anonymous said...

You are Great and a true fighter
Salute to you

Anonymous said...

god bless you