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 Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained.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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Final closure to the agony of pre-2006 pensioners: Universal orders issued today for revision of enhanced pension from 01-01-2006 rather than 24-09-2012

Following the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal and the Central Administrative Tribunal, as upheld by a judgement of the Delhi High Court (which in turn was based upon a decision of the Punjab & Haryana High Court) and then endorsed by the Supreme Court, and further after various twists and turns, the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) has finally issued universal orders regarding revision of pension of pre-2006 pensioners with effect from 01 Jan 2006 rather than 24 Sept 2012.

All affected pensioners (and not just litigants) shall now be eligible for arrears from 01-01-2006 till 23-09-2012.

A big thank you to all stalwarts who were at the forefront of this fight, including Mr V Natarajan, Lt Cdr Avtar Singh and members of the Bharat Pensioners Samaj.

Thank You. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

“We the People” on NDTV, Kargil, OROP, Military litigation and more....

On Kargil Vijay Diwas, Barkha Dutt conducted a special episode of “We the People” on NDTV where I too participated in the panel discussion. 

The stories and the narratives can bring a tear to the strongest eye. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Naysayers, please relax on the Panel of Experts on Defence Matters!

Some disinformation is floating around on the Committee of Experts constituted by the Raksha Mantri. I would like to clear the haze on some issues.

Some myths and their replies:

That the panel has been setup to divert attention from OROP

Totally incorrect. The formation of the panel was first discussed by the Raksha Matri in February, much before the current scenario, and the orders have been issued in July. The two are totally separate issues and do not overlap. The Committee would not be touching upon OROP at all.

That it is an attempt to appease and silence the voices of those who are its Members

Far from the truth. If this is the level of trust expressed for the Members of the Committee, then it is not only unfortunate but it is also clear that persons making such loose statements are not aware of our conviction and sincerity. Also, I think I should make it clear to everyone that all Members are functioning in a purely honorary capacity without any monetary gain and that too after squeezing out time from their respective professions with the aim of service to the society in mind.

The Committee would be handling grievances of soldiers and veterans

Untrue. The Committee is not mandated with such an unwieldy task. The Committee is not supposed to look into individual grievances but is supposed to suggest ways and means to decrease litigation involving the Ministry of Defence as well as the Defence Services and also to increase the level of trust and goodwill amongst the stakeholders in this regard by suggesting broad institutional and progressive changes to the system of redressal of grievances. The Committee would be looking into pending cases related to service matters and pensions and ways to minimize litigation so that the officialdom can focus on areas of core governance.

The panel is recommendatory and its recommendations may never see the light of the day

It is true that the report is recommendatory. All such commissions, expert panels and committees are recommendatory. But keeping in view the fact that it has been constituted by the Raksha Mantri himself and in line with the PM’s focus on governance, it is certainly not going to be an empty formality. Almost all major policy decisions concerning the nation are taken by way of reports of experts and panel inputs. Moreover, it is quite surprising to hear some minority voices of pessimism which say that though it is a good move, it would not be able to achieve its aim. So what should be done? Should such a proactive move taken for the first time since independence be aborted just because a minority feels it would serve no purpose? I would only emphatically like to say that it is much better to have a body of experts viewing these issues with a sharp spotlight so as to iron out the creases than having nothing at all. Also I must place on record that the there has been no pressure on us from any quarter related to our functioning and we are lucky to have such a situation wherein we have been tasked by the apex level of governance to work in a free and independent manner with full support of the political executive without fear or favour.

So naysayers, please relax. The move is in the right direction and a very progressive initiative of the Minister with his full personal involvement under the aegis of the Prime Minister. Let us not spread negativity till the flowers fully bloom. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Committee of Experts constituted on the orders of the Raksha Mantri

You may read more about this historic decision through the following links:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Another landmark decision of the Supreme Court for pensioners

The Supreme Court has rendered another landmark decision on the subject of pension in a case titled State of Rajasthan Vs Mahendra Nath Sharma.

The Court, inter alia, has reiterated the following, tacitly and directly:

A. Pension is property and not a bounty based upon the sweet will or grace of the employer. DS Nakara therefore reiterated.
B. Arrears have to flow from date of inception of anomaly.

C. Employees who are not on rolls on the date of a subsequent revision of pensionary benefit(s) are also eligible for future revision of pension.

D. Govt should not perpetrate litigation.

The parting shot of the Apex Court:

“...It will be appropriate and apposite on the part of the employers to remember the same and ingeminate it time and again so that unnecessary litigation do not travel to the Court and the employers show a definite and correct attitude towards employees. We are compelled to say so as we find that the intention of the State Government from paragraph 5 of the circular/memorandum has been litigated at various stages to deny the benefits to the respondents. It is the duty of the State Government to avoid unwarranted litigations and not to encourage any litigation for the sake of litigation. The respondents were entitled to get the benefit of pension and the High Court has placed reliance on the decision of another High Court which has already been approved by this Court....”

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Transmission of Signals from the Supreme Court for Military Pensioners

Those who have followed the blog closely, especially this post of 27 May 2015, most of the verdicts on pension anomalies emanating out of the 6th Central Pay Commission stand decided in favour of pensioners by the Supreme Court, both for military as well as civilian retirees.

An update on the same is as below:

Removal of pension anomaly from 01-01-2006 rather than 24-09-2012 for pre-2006 retiree Central Government pensioners: Appeal filed by the Govt stands dismissed by the Supreme Court in March 2015. 

Removal of pension anomaly between Honorary Naib Subedars who retired prior to 01-01-2006 vis-a-vis those who retired after 01-01-2006: Appeal filed by the Govt stands dismissed in May 2015. An unfortunate saga indeed

Removal of pension anomaly between Viceroy Commissioned Officers and post-independence Honorary Commissioned Officers who retired prior to 01-01-2006: Appeal filed by the Govt stands dismissed in May 2015.

This invariably would result in multiple execution applications before the Armed Forces Tribunal since most of these verdicts had not been implemented by the Army HQ/Ministry of Defence as per the time prescribed even in those cases where there was no stay by any higher court.

It would be in fitness of things if the Army HQ (in conjunction with Record Offices) keeps lists of affected personnel ready so as to grant government sanction at the earliest to avoid complications as already experienced in the cases of disabled soldiers upheld by the Supreme Court. This is also a good opportunity to oil the implementation machinery well and bring it in line with the law of the land. Six years after the AFT was created, it is now clear that disregard of judicial orders may not be taken so lightly, as was the case till now.

Regular updates shall now also be available on my Facebook page.