Feel free to contribute on burning issues concerning the armed forces. Contributions would be acknowledged - Use the 'Comments' tab or email navdeepsingh.india[at]gmail.com. No operational/business/commercial matters to be discussed please. Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained. Information on this blog is opinion based and is neither official nor in the form of an advice. This is a pro bono online journal in public service related to issues, policies and benefits, and the idea behind it is to educate and not to create controversy or to incite. Be soft in your language, respect Copyrights.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mr Derek O’Brien takes up the issue of disabled soldiers in Parliament, just as Ms Smirit Irani did last year

Close on the heels of a similar issue raised by Ms Smriti Irani in the Parliament last year, Mr Derek O’Brien (TMC) has raised the subject of irresponsible litigation by the Ministry of Defence against its own disabled soldiers.

The Defence fraternity should be thankful to both Ms Irani and Mr O’Brien for taking a stand for our soldiers.

August, 2014

It is a cause for alarm that 90% of the Ministry of Defence’s cases pending in Courts are against pension claims of its own disabled soldiers. The Ministry has been denying pension claims of soldiers on shallow pretexts like the disability occurred in peaceful conditions and not in an active war zone. Military boards have also been rejecting diseases such as neurosis and schizophrenia for being ‘constitutional’ in nature and not aggravated by service conditions. In contrast, pension claims for such diseases are routinely allowed by medical boards of Central Armed Police Forces under the Home Ministry.
Even though the Supreme Court has rendered a series of judgments in favour of the soldiers’ claims, the Ministry of Defence has continued to files appeals against claims at all stages. While the Income Tax Department does not go to the Supreme Court till the amount involved is more than Rs 25 lakhs, the Ministry of Defence has been dragging wounded soldiers to the Supreme Court for amounts as small as a few thousand rupees. Most soldiers cannot afford the costs of protracted litigation and are forced to abandon their claims.
It is shameful that tax payers’ money is being used to field top lawyers and pay exorbitant legal fees in an attempt to deny our soldiers their rightful dues. I strongly urge the Government to ensure that bureaucratic hurdles in the release of pensions are removed at the earliest. The Ministry must cease filing frivolous appeals and grant our soldiers the respect they deserve.

August, 2013

Though the rules of granting disability pension are inherently very liberal and also endorsed as such by the Supreme Court in the recent judgement of Dharamvir Singh Vs Union of India, yet many cases of disabilities arising during military service are restrictively and hyper-technically declared ‘neither attributable to, nor aggravated by military service’ by the MoD leading to denial of disability pension to disabled soldiers. Also military personnel with non-service related disabilities discharged with less than 10 years of service are not entitled to any form of pension leading to denial of the right to live a life of dignity, whereas the employment of civilian employees on being disabled is protected under Section 47 of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 enabling them to earn full pension. Majority of appeals and SLPs filed by MoD before the Supreme Court are against their own disabled soldiers on the specious ground that Courts and Tribunals have granted relief against Defence Ministry’s policy.
More than one lac retired defence personnel have been affected.
Ironically, far from safeguarding the welfare of retired soldiers, sailors and airmen, many of them disabled from battle injuries or the bleak conditions of service, the DESW stonewalls and holds off payment until an ex-serviceman claimant is either dead or broke
In view of the above, I urge the Government to intervene in the matter to resolve the issue and ensure that soldiers who made sacrifices for the Nation get their rightful and respectful due.

The Prime Minister must also take immediate steps to rein in the staff of the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW), which till date, has been able to misguide and mislead the political executive on this very important subject.


a k sethi said...

askMs SMITI IRANI a minister now had no effect -- what can Mr DEREK do - when the command is shameless - pray you must have seen the chaterroll of KALRA of TODAY -- UOI has asked for extension from 3 months on arrears and has said they will pay only the litigants -- this is the result of being obsessed by OROP and RANK PAY and NOT making the issue of ARREARS all ENCOMPASSING-- only NATARAJAN & AVTAR singh will benefit -- god bless UOI

AMC DOCTOR said...

The history is getting repeated because politicians when come to power get "disabled" by IAS BABUS.

dajay said...

It is brought to your notice that Minister of Defence vide Govt Of India letter DO No6(01)/2005/Edu/II/D (Res)/3362-F/RM dated 12 June 2007 and DO No7(137)/2012-D (AG) 3767L F/RM/12 dated 13 Aug 2012 had requested all Chief Ministers of all the States and Lt. Governors of UTs to consider for doing away with the domicile restrictions because of uncertainty of duration of tenure due to requirements of service in National interest. This case of waving of domicile restrictions for defence personnel is recommended by Standing Committee on Defence in para 24 of its tenth report but till bate nothing has been done states as well as MoD even though it does not have any financial affect but it solves the biggest pressing problem defence personnel.This issue needs to be taken at all levels to resolve this issue at the earliest.

Unknown said...

You cant blame the people sitting in DESW. They have never experienced a War. I know we cant create a War to sensitise them to the happenings in a War. They only know Files &Archaic Rules. The least that can be done is to take them for a trip to Kargil(TA/DA PAID),make them spend a night in the Bunkers and make them try(in Peace Conditions) what our soldiers did in Kargil war, and show them video clippings(with Audio) of how war was fought, show them the photos of People who perished and the photos of people who lost their limbs,and how they/their dependents are living now. Show them also War Films like D-Day,Guns of Navarone,Great Escape etc.And then give them the Statistics of Pending COURT CASES thrust upon them over years & Decades. May be, they will learn how to deal with such cases.

Unknown said...

I have a STRONG feeling there is a strong nexus / syndicate operating with the babudom as stakeholders. IT IS FUNNY THAT EVEN MIN. OF LAW IS NOT CONSULTED IN SLP/ RP STAGES AS I CAN MAKE OUT FROM THE RTI REPLY I HAVE RECENTLY RECEIVED FROM THE itially, CPAIO OF MOLAW. The "multiple SLP _RP fling technology" is a big racket as it appears. My analysis of cases from 2010 todate shows in general: 1.MOLAW/DLA is consulted at TRIBUNAL/ HC stages 2.Therafter, its appears to be the GOVT COUNSELS & BABUDOM calling the shots at SLP & RP (hsc)stages without taking any advice from the MOLAW. 3.Therafter when in deep in trouble, ADVICE IS SOUGHT FROM THE MOLAW FOR FILING THE "CURATIVE PETITION" (at HSC) only to get the final kick!. WHAT A SHAME?. WASTE OF PRECISOUS COURT TIME- SQUALNDERING OF TAX-PAYERS' MONEY- HARASSING CIVIL AND MILITARY PENSIONERS- and the PERPETRATORS ARE THE LOWER ECHELON OF EMPLOYEES who appear to be either helpless murgas or they enjoy outing up notes to harass Old Pensioners.... They forget they also shall become pensioners one day.....(System must corrected soon...we must hammer...)

Anonymous said...

Post these comments on www.mygov.nic.in for PM reading.

Ranjay said...

thanks Ms Smriti Irani , Mr Derek O’Brien & others with likes of Mr Chandrashekhar....who have been speaking about apathy towards Armed forces...

But I would like to draw attention of Ms Irani, a Cabinet minister that she should go one step ahead & ensure that her government does something concrete. Cases

Unknown said...

I things are likely to take a turn towards a long drawn struggle if even court decisions are not implemented by these babus and the political executive looks other way . And I am sure this struggle in all probability may turn violent and create a worst security situation which will prove to be detrimental to National Security. The babus will be responsible for this. It's high time that Govt pays attention to the genuine grievances of serving and retired soldiers.Afterall they are not asking for moon, they are only struggling to get their legitimate dues.