As everyone would know, the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 08 March 2010 had decided the rank pay case in favour of commissioned officers of the three services and had ruled that rank pay was not to be deducted from the pay scales of defence officers. The application filed by the Defence Ministry for recalling the order was also not accepted by the Court and the final judgement was rendered by the SC in September 2012.
Clearly knowing that the crude bluff played out on the pay and status of military officers ever since the 4th Central Pay Commission (CPC) no longer remained sustainable in view of the judgement of the Apex Court, the Union of India quickly constituted a committee to look into the financial implications of the judgement, and then in an unprecedented move, approached the Court again with a prayer for recalling the order and hearing the matter afresh.
The above was submitted to the Hon’ble SC through a detailed affidavit filed by the Ministry of Defence which inter alia stated that the implementation of the judgement would involve rehashing of not only the 4th CPC scales but would affect the 5th and the 6th CPCs. It was also pointed out that it would alter payment of all consequential and resultant benefits of officers and their families wherever applicable. Further in a recently filed affidavit seeking extension of time for implementation of the judgement, the Defence Ministry stated that the implementation of the judgement relates to three successive pay commissions, that is, 4th, 5th and 6th CPCs and also affected the benefits of officers who had retired prior to 1986. All this is on record. Notwithstanding the above mentioned affidavits, even logically speaking, naturally the pay-scales needed to be upgraded through the three pay commissions leading to enhancement of the pay and status of defence officers since the deduction of rank pay from the pay scales had been declared illegal.
As is known to all, the contentions of the Defence Ministry were not accepted and the Court stuck to its earlier order of March 2010 with the only modification that the interest component on the arrears would be granted from 01 Jan 2006 instead of 01 Jan 1986.
However brushing all of the above aside and in contravention of the spirit of the judgement and also in utter breach of their own affidavits and statements before the SC, the Ministry of Defence has issued the final letter of implementation today, which basically, in effect, only grants the below mentioned :-
“….and to re-fix the initial pay of the concerned officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force in the revised scale (integrated scale) as on 01-01-1986 as per Para 6 of those instructions without deduction of rank pay appropriate to the rank held by the officer on 01st January 1986….”
The above stipulation of implementation also has an innocuous looking variation than what was decided by the Court and which becomes clear from Para 2 of this letter itself. While the Court had ordered re-fixation of pay 'with effect from 01-01-1986', Para 6 of the implementation order of the MoD grants it to officers 'as on 01-01-1986'. Subtle variation which makes world of a difference. The judgement which was to have cascading effect on fixation of pay and pay-scales after 01-01-1986, that is with effect from the 4th CPC, continuing till date, has been effectively rendered applicable only for those persons who were in receipt of rank pay as on 01-01-1986.
The MoD letter also states that no changes would be made in the instructions issued after 5th and 6th CPCs except to the extent of re-fixation necessitated due to fixation as on 01 Jan 1986. This simply means that there would be no upgradation of scales or change in the implementation instructions except that for those affected officers as on 01 Jan 1986 who remained in service as on 01 Jan 1996 or 01 Jan 2006, their re-fixation within the existing tables based on the fitment formula would be affected while switching over from 4th CPC to 5th CPC and then from 5th CPC to 6th CPC tables, but within the same scales. This of course is a natural consequence of the stipulation of fixation as on 01 Jan 1986 and nothing additional.
The final implementation order issued by the Govt of India issued today can be accessed by clicking here.
So there you have it. The Defence Ministry totally ignoring the character of the judgement as well as its own commitment before the Court, and perhaps also the draft instructions that may have been submitted by the three defence services to the Ministry for implementing the judgement in letter and spirit. No change in pay scale, status or even the scales after the 5th and 6th CPCs has been notified.
The victory has been rendered redundant.
Are the defence services not a part of this nation, or do they need to continually hanker after their own government for what is rightfully theirs, time and again, while in service and then after retirement and then even after death?
Now over to how the Services HQ react to this sacrilege.