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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Divine Justice for Naval personnel not placed on reserves due to change of policy in 1976

This is a case wherein the Indian Navy tried its hand in enthusiastically getting the reservist pension granted by the Chennai Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal to an old sailor set aside by the Supreme Court but ended up with an order for grant of ‘Special Pension’ in favour of all similarly placed personnel, irrespective of whether they have approached Courts or not.

The Navy had a system of 10 years active service followed by 10 years in the fleet reserve similar to the colour + reserve scheme of the Army & the Air Force. Reservist Pension was admissible to such personnel after 15 years of combined active and reserve service. In the year 1976 however, the system of placement on reserve fleet was discontinued and all those who were on rolls (even those who had joined before 1976) were released after 10 years thereby resulting in non-grant of pension to some of such sailors.

The Chennai Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal however held in the case of one such sailor that such sailors were entitled to reservist pension since it was not these personnel who had opted out but it was the Navy which discharged them on change of policy. But on the other hand, the Principal Bench of the Tribunal dismissed such claims by similarly placed sailors. The claim for ‘Special Pension’ which is granted to personnel with 10 years of service who are released on ‘reduction in establishment’ was also not accepted for the affected sailors.

Thereafter while the Navy challenged the order of the Chennai Bench of the Tribunal against the grant of Reservist Pension, the sailors led by TS Das whose cases were dismissed by the Principal Bench, also challenged the denial of pension.

The Supreme Court in a detailed order has agreed that such sailors are not entitled to Reservist Pension essentially for the reason that even under the erstwhile system, placement on fleet reserve was not mandatory and was only to be effectuated ‘if required’. However, on threadbare examination of the issue, the Supreme Court has reached the conclusion that discontinuing the system of active-reserve service amounted to reduction of establishment and such personnel would definitely be entitled to ‘Special Pension’. Consequently, the Court has ordered that Special Pension be released to all such affected sailors, not just limited to those who had filed cases before the Tribunal.

One ideally would have expected the top Naval brass to come to the rescue of such sailors, some in extreme old age, who had been denied reservist pension due to sudden change in policy by convincing the Government to come up with a scheme to help such sailors tide over difficulties in the twilight of their lives, but instead, they chose to fight tooth and nail against benefits granted to one such sailor. It can also be said with due certainty that the Navy would have not even informed the Supreme Court that a Committee of Experts constituted by the Raksha Mantri had already rendered a positive recommendation for such personnel as far as their pension is concerned.

But then, divine justice by the Court wherein not just the litigants, but all such affected sailors would now have a comparatively comfortable life in the few years that they are left with. One can only hope that the few such personnel who are now living are identified at the earliest by the Navy and the decision given effect to without posing any further hyper-technical impediments.

3 comments:

Narinder Kumar said...

Indian Navy also choose to deny promotion to Captain by timescale to earlier Commanders promoted by time scale despite the fact that Army and Air Force promoted them in legally correct manner. The Regs Navy Part III, regulation 144 and 208 clearly define the seniority of the officers in the substantive rank. Navy first reduced the substantive seniority of all the earlier Commanders by timescale to 16 Dec 2004 and then placed them even below substantive Lt Cdrs( Ag Commanders). They told many lies in the Supreme Court and never disclosed to the court the provisions of the statuary provisions of Regs Navy Part III to correctly reach the judgement in the case of Cdr Khirsagar versus Indian Navy. This was despite the fact that as an organistion the onus of providing correct rules and regulations lies with them rather then individuals who at time are not in position to have all the policy letters. Even now another case which is there in the supreme court to challenge this reduction of substantive seniority of erstwhile Commanders to 16 Dec 2004 is being fought tooth and nail by Indian Navy to deny Justice. We hear only Civilians as anti soldiers, but here Indian Navy wants to harm its very own about 800 Officers including about 400 Commanders by timescale to loose their pension by reducing their substantive Commanders seniority to 16 Dec 2004 in some cases almost by 10 to 11 years. In 7 CPC pension matrix these officers will be looser. I dont know how those Commanders by timescale seniority in the rank of substantive Commanders will be fixed by Navy for those who retired before 16 Dec 2004. Despite clearly understanding this aspect Navy still is denying and fighting tooth and nail to deny these officers their dues under the garb of Res de Judicata of Cdr Kshirsagar judgement. This is what we are today ,why blame civilian bureaucracy only.

Peru said...

Sir,
What is special pension ? How much will be given by month. I couldn't get the relevant details anywhere.
Thanks
Ki

Jeyaprakash Gopalswamy said...

divine justice granted by s.c.will definitely light of naval persons in their old age &in their evenings of life. sir, what about other 2 service veterans similarly placed. i am air veterans completed my regular service of 9 years &retained for 9months &9 days sent out as on completion of regular service&at own request before fulfilling the conditions of enrolement. this was challenged in chennai AFT .WHICH REJECTED MY O.A. IN THE ADMIISSION STAGE.I HAVE GONE TO MIDDLE INCOME GROUP LEGAL AID SOCEITY TO FILE ON APPEAL.YOUR COMMITTEE REPORT IS TO BE IMPLEMENTED. I WILL BE GRATEFUL TO GET SOME SHORT OF PENSION ,AS I AM 72 YEARS OLD, HAVE 2 NO 100% DEAF MUTE DAUGHTERS.EX CPL G JEYAPRAKASH JEYAPRAKASHGOPALSWAMY@GMAIL.COM 9443812903