The officialdom has reached nadir.
Such is the state of affairs that judicial verdicts are overridden by administrative egotism. So sad is the situation that executive pride overtakes what is logical, prudent or just. And the political executive remains a rudderless rubberstamp.
As many would know, there were anomalies in the fixation of pension of pre-2006 central govt retirees with effect from 01 Jan 2006 and the question was whether pension was to be calculated based on the minimum of each grade/rank within the newly introduced pay-bands or on the minimum of the pay-band itself. The said anomaly was resolved by way of judgements of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) as well as Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) which inter alia ruled that pension would be calculated on the basis of minima of each rank/grade within the pay-band. The judgement of the CAT was challenged by the Govt before the Delhi High Court. In the meantime however, the Govt itself removed the anomaly but granted the benefits from 24 Sept 2012 rather than 01 Jan 2006 which was the date of the inception of the anomaly. The verdict of the AFT was challenged by the Govt before the Supreme Court.
Hence the exact controversy now stood narrowed down to whether the benefits of the correct pension were to flow from 01 Jan 2006 which was the date from which the 6th Central Pay Commission recommendations were implemented or from 24 Sept 2012 which was when the Govt had decided to remove the anomalies in the pension structure after the said Pay Commission.
The controversy was resolved by the Delhi High Court which directed that after removal of the anomaly, the pension arrears were to flow from 01 Jan 2006 and not from the future artificial date of 24 Sep 2012. Never to respect well-rounded judicial verdicts, the Govt challenged the decision of the High Court before the Supreme Court, however the Supreme Court was pleased to dismiss the SLP filed by the Govt in July 2013.
Ego-fuelled highhandedness is what the system is known for though. They were not to rest. How could the Courts hold the hands of old pensioners? The Govt is always right. Govt policies are sacrosanct and sacred, or so the system believes. And hence they went in for a Review Petition before the Supreme Court urging the Apex Court to review its order dismissing the Union of India’s SLP. Meanwhile, without properly disclosing the dismissal of the SLP, the Govt filed many more similar petitions before the Supreme Court and got them tagged with the military pensioners’ matters which dealt with the same subject.
Things were not again smooth for the mighty Union of India and the Supreme Court was pleased to dismiss the Review Petition filed by the Govt against the pensioners.
In any democracy, this would have meant closure to the agony of litigating pensioners. But no, that is not how things work in our country, now the great Union of India, our very own Central Govt, has filed a Curative Petition against the same verdict. Hence, three rounds of litigation before the Supreme Court itself.
The Curative Petition has already been docketed in the Supreme Court and is numbered as Curative Petition (Civil) No 126 of 2014. It has not yet been listed for hearing.
The Curative Petition is not an ordinary remedy and is usually meant to cure ‘gross miscarriage of justice’, but then for the capable and worthy officers of our Central Govt, the grant of correct and legal pension to its military and civil pensioners is ‘miscarriage of justice’.