The 5th Central Pay Commission (CPC) had recommended the starting basic pay for the rank of Major @ Rs 12,800 including rank pay (Rs 11,600 + Rs 1200 rank pay to be counted as basic pay for all intents and purposes).
Since the integrated running scale in force till the 4th CPC was now changed into a fixed scale w.e.f 01-01-1996 by the 5th CPC, it was felt that Majors of the Army were at a disadvantage vis-à-vis their closest erstwhile counterparts, that is, the Non-Functional Selection Grade/Selection Grade officers of the Civil Services.
Accordingly, a High Level Committee was constituted which rendered its recommendations in July 1999 and which opined that though Majors could not be equated with the Selection Grade scale of Rs 14,300 – 18,300 (Now after 6th CPC, PB-4, Grade Pay 8700), there definitely was a requirement for parity with the Selection Grade of the Indian Police Service vis-à-vis Majors in the 14th Year of service which was historically enjoyed by the Defence Services. Accordingly, it was recommended that Majors and equivalent should get a start of Rs 13,125 rather than 12,800 so that they could attain near parity with IPS officers with 14 years of service.
Though the above was accepted, it was only made applicable from the date of issuance of orders, that is, 29 February 2000.
The prospective cut-off date was challenged by a group of Air Force officers who contended that since the anomaly in the scales had arisen with effect from the date of implementation of the 5th CPC, that is, 01 Jan 1996, the removal of anomaly also needed to be given effect from the date of inception of the said anomaly and not from a later artificial date.
The Hon’ble Principal Bench of the AFT has accepted the contention and allowed the Petition and directed the grant of the said enhanced start of basic pay with effect from 01-01-1996 rather than 29-02-2000.
It is also interesting to note that while the committee had accepted the near parity of the defence services with the IPS, the same has been totally ignored by the 6th CPC and also the govt thereafter. Civil services officers are now much better placed since under Non-Functional Upgradation, all Group-A civil officers retire with the pay and pension of a Lt Gen (HAG Scale) irrespective of their actual rank, grade or status.
With the self-defeatist ethos of the services and the sadism at play in the MoD, it could well be possible that even this well rounded and sound judgement of the AFT would be taken till the highest Court in order to wear out the litigants.
Only a very strong COSC and PPOC can check the slide of the services on the pecking order and the financial and social scale.