Union Defence Minister A K Antony has convened a meeting of the defence top brass on June 14 to consider the issue of anomalies in implementing a Supreme Court order on rank pay for military officers, following a stinging letter from Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne.
“The Defence Minister has called for a meeting on June 14 to discuss the pay anomalies issue,” officials from the Union Ministry of Defence (MoD)said.
The Supreme Court verdict in favour of the armed forces personnel had come on September 4, 2012 in the Major A K Dhanapalan case that was first heard by the Kerala High Court which ruled in his favour in 1998. The 12-week time to implement the latest order given by the court to the MoD ended six months ago.
As reported by Express on January 2, 2013, the ministry orders on implementing the SC order were issued on December 27, 2012. However, the Armed Forces found flaws in interpreting the court verdict.
And these flaws were raised by Browne in his two letters to Antony, first on January 18 and the latest on May 27, pointing out that the “present approach” of the bureaucracy to the infirmities in the December 2012 implementation order was causing “inordinate delay” in the aged ex-servicemen getting their due before their time was up.
This, Brown noted, “has given rise to apprehensions in the environment (read ex-servicemen and serving armed forces personnel) that the delay may be intentional.” “The beneficiaries to this verdict include many such officers, who retired decades ago and do not have a long time left to wait for their dues. It will be a grave injustice to these veterans if they pass on without getting their rightful arrears,” he added.
Around 50,000 defence personnel are expected to benefit if the MoD sees the point raised by the Armed Forces with regard to the flaws in the implementation order.
“The implementation order suffers from unprecedented disparity. It falls much short of expectations and I fear it will fuel further litigation and may enhance the feeling of alienation among veterans,” Browne said.
In its implementation order, the MoD had refused to revise the pay scales of officers, who joined the force post-1986, despite the Fourth Pay Commission anomaly having been carried over to the 1996 Fifth Pay Commission and 2008 Sixth Pay Commission too, as a result of the pay scales being fixed on the basis of the 1986 pay scales.
The apex court verdict had also directed the Centre to pay the affected officers arrears of pay along with a six per cent interest calculated from January 1, 2006.