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Monday, September 30, 2013

Show on military veterans and disabled soldiers on CNN IBN – A must watch!

This has got to be one of the most neutral, concise and detailed documentaries on the subject, which captures the very essence of what has gone wrong.

CNN IBN has beautifully touched upon various topics in a succinct manner thereby rendering a bird’s eye view on the very topical debate on an ‘apolitical military’ as well as the travails of military veterans, martyrs and disabled soldiers.

A must watch for everyone.

Jai Hind.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Seventh Central Pay Commission (7th CPC) announced

The Seventh Central Pay Commission has been approved.

This time, the pay commission has been constituted three years earlier than due, of course due to obvious reasons.

The pay commission shall have effect from 01 Jan 2016.

Whether a separate pay commission for the defence services would be beneficial or not has been discussed threadbare in this earlier blogpost of 06 April 2013.

Thank You.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Supreme Court dismisses the appeal filed by the Ministry of Defence regarding implementation of Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP) scheme for military doctors

Good news for Military Medicos.

It may be recalled that the Cabinet had approved the Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP) scheme for all doctors serving under the Central Govt by way of an Office Memorandum issued on 29 Oct 2008.

Though the Ministry of Defence was not against implementing the same for military doctors, the then Principal Personnel Officers Committee (PPOC) and the Chief of Staffs Committee (COSC) of the time opposed it on the pretext that doctors would start getting a higher salary than others and that the implementation should be kept pending till other anomalies of the forces were resolved. The main opposition was from the Army while the Air Force, Navy and the office of the DGAFMS had fully supported the implementation of DACP. The factum as to how this approach of the services was self-defeatist has been discussed threadbare in earlier posts, here and also here.

The Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) however in its strongly worded decision rendered on 18 July 2011 had directed that instructions for implementation of DACP in the military should be issued within a period of 3 months.

But rather than implementing the judgement, the Ministry sought time on multiple occasions and then filed an Appeal in the Supreme Court. One of the grounds taken by the Defence Ministry was that even the Chief of Staffs Committee (COSC) was not in favour of implementing DACP, which in fact was not entirely true since by this point of time, the Services had realized their folly and supported the grant of DACP, though in my opinion the support was not an all-out support as was logically expected.

Anyway. The Civil Appeal filed by the Union of India against the judgement of the AFT was listed today for hearing in the Supreme Court and the Hon’ble Apex Court has dismissed the same thereby upholding the judgement of the AFT.

Besides bringing joy to the military medico community, the lesson that this chapter should bring home is that one should never ever be jealous of the benefits or progress of our peers and neither should such issues be held ransom to the though-processes of those who feel that others should not get their legitimate dues till they get what they perceive to be legitimately theirs.

Jai Hind. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rank Pay Case : Opinion rendered by the Attorney General supporting some points in favour of the Defence Services

As was discussed earlier on this blog on 28 Dec 2012 and also amplified in this Oped on Stratpost, the orders issued by the Ministry of Defence, implementing the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Rank Pay case, were hardly in tune with the letter and spirit of the decision.

The points under controversy were duly (and strongly) taken up by the Services Headquarters and also by the Chief of Staff’s Committee (COSC) with the Defence Minister when it was felt that elements of the bureaucracy were not inclined to see reason or to implement the orders in their proper form. Most of the objections were from the Defence Accounts Department.

The Defence Minister had then directed that the views of the Services as well as those of the others be placed before the Attorney General for his opinion.

The Attorney General (AG), it seems, has rendered his opinion, and it is in the following terms:

(a)   As in the above referred blogpost, while the Court had ordered re-fixation of pay 'with effect from 01-01-1986', Para 6 of the implementation order of the Ministry granted it to officers 'as on 01-01-1986'. The AG has reportedly opined that the benefits cannot be confined only to the officers whose pay was fixed as on 01-01-1986 and benefit is to be granted to all those officers whose pay has been fixed after deducting rank pay whether on or after 01-01-1986.

(b)   The AG has reportedly however opined that minima of scales need not be changed and that the ceiling for the rank of Brig/equivalent may also not be changed since it was not a subject matter of the said litigation.

(c)    As again highlighted in the above blogpost and also put forth by the Services, the Ministry’s implementation letter had also stated 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. The AG has however clearly opined that it is immaterial that the in the Rank Pay case only the 4th CPC was involved, the principle of law would have to apply to 5th and 6th CPCs also and the same action (non deduction of rank pay) would need to be corrected for other CPCs also and that officers cannot be expected to again approach Courts on same lines.

With this, the points of law postulated by this blog and also by the Services Headquarters on many important points involved in the case, stand solidified.

Any fresh letter issued by taking into account the opinion of the Attorney General on the subject would lead to further financial benefit to affected officers.

Now the ball is back in the Raksha Mantri’s Court.

(Note:- Please do not send individual queries through email to me on the rank pay issue. Such mails would not be replied to. You are most welcome to place your comments on the comments section of this post)

Thank You. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

And while you wait, comes this…….

As discussed in this previous blogpost of 25 August 2013, issues related to pay of serving personnel, including Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) were to be addressed by the Committee of Secretaries constituted on directions of the Prime Minister, which was supposed to submit its report by 08 August 2012, that is, August of last year.

Of course nothing moved.

Then the environment was informed about the positive inclination of the Committee in addressing the issues but the reality was different than what was conveyed, including to the top brass of the three services.

Now comes another reality.

Keeping the services in the dark all these months, it has now been confirmed that the Committee, rather than addressing the issues as directed by the PMO, has in fact recorded in its report that all pay related issues should be referred to the next pay commission for consideration.

Well, if even the PMO’s directions can be taken so lightly, then the future does not seem so bright.

Also, some bright minds have asked me as to what would faujis stand to lose by reference of the issues to the next pay commission.

Nothing much, you only stand to lose about ten years of pay and allowances. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Warning: Misleading email floating around!

Please be warned that there is a confusing email doing the rounds, purportedly authored by me and referring to the rank pay case.

The same is just a copy and paste job of an old blogpost of last year, dated 04 September 2012, when the said judgement was rendered by the Supreme Court, and which can be accessed by clicking here.

Somebody has knowingly or unknowingly edited the date to read as 04 September 2013 and has just floated it around.

Please ignore it. It is old news of last year.

I also do not understand why and how people fall prey to such pranks. Don’t we all know that the judgment was pronounced by the Court last year?