As mentioned on this blog on 20 September 2010, recruits who are boarded out with a disability pension are also to be treated as ‘Ex-Servicemen’ as per a clarification issued by the Ministry of Defence in the year 2006.
However since the definition of ‘Ex-Servicemen’ is basically promulgated and regulated by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), many organisations, such as Rajya Sainik Boards, were not accepting the clarification issued by the Ministry of Defence and also not issuing them with Ex-Servicemen identity cards or allowing them to avail various facilities including age relaxation and reservation.
In the year 2012, the DoPT finally issued a fresh notification for the definition of ‘Ex-Servicemen’ and this time explicitly included boarded out recruits to tide over the initial ambiguity.
After the issuance of the DoPT notification which included within its ambit boarded out recruits also, most organisations started providing the said benefit to boarded out recruits but some were still reluctant to cover those who were released prior to the issuance of the DoPT notification dated 04 Oct 2012.
The MoD has now clarified the issue in conjunction with the DoPT vide its fresh letter issued on 18 March 2013 wherein it has been ordained that all recruits boarded out on or after the issuance of the earlier MoD letter dated 01 Feb 2006 would be covered under the said definition.
Though the subject has been clarified in the above terms, in my opinion, boarded out recruits in receipt of disability pension would ipso facto be included in the pre-existing definitions in force prior to 01 Feb 2006 too since unlike officer trainees, recruits are entitled to pay and disability pensionary benefits as applicable to regular Sepoys and are also under the purview of the Army Act and hence cannot treated differently than others. Even otherwise, the MoD clarification issued on 01 Feb 2006 did not contain any cut-off date for the applicability of the clarification which has now been superimposed through back-door.