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)