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Rank Pay Matter: IAF Chief seeks Antony’s intervention on re-fixing pay scales

IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has sought the Defence Minister’s intervention to ensure proper implementation of a Supreme Court order asking the Centre to re-fix pay-scales of armed forces officers affected by the fourth pay commission.

The IAF chief, who is the Chairman, Chiefs of Staffs Committee, has written two letters to Defence Minister A K Antony between January and May this year suggesting that the SC order of September last was being implemented selectively by the Ministry.
In the letters, it is learnt that the IAF chief has told the Government that the feeling among the Service officers was that the delay in implementing the Supreme Court order may be intentional.
Browne is also learnt to have told the Minister that the matter of implementing the order could be resolved in the Ministry itself and the forces were being “unnecessarily” taken to the courts.

The particular order of the Supreme Court was expected to benefit a large number of officers in the three Services in the rank of Captain and Brigadiers who had joined the service between January 1,1986 and January 1,2006, according to the counsel of ex-servicemen.
Had the order been implemented as the per the interpretation of the ex-servicemen, it would have entailed a cost of Rs 1,600 crore to the Government.
In the Supreme Court, the ex-servicemen had contended that there was wrong fixation of rank pay awarded by the fourth pay commission in which the element of rank pay was introduced for all the ranks from Captain to Brigadiers in Army and their equivalent in the Navy and Air Force in addition to pay in the integrated scale.
However, at the time of fixation, the rank pay was first deducted to arrive at the total emoluments and thereafter added after fixation in the integrated scale.
This ensured that final fixation of the total pay of the officers became at par with their civilian counterpart.
Read more on : Business Standard

Another News in this regard published by India Today

Rift between Armed Forces-Defence ministry over selective implementation of SC verdict on Rank pay case widens
New Delhi, June 7, 2013

Over the last six months, the rift between the uniformed services and the civilian leadership of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has widened, right at the top over the maltreatment of the veterans and widows.

Leading the charge is Air Chief Marshal (ACM) NAK Browne, who as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) has sought the Defence Minister AK Antony’s attention for resolving the issue, but to no avail.

The genesis of the spat lies in the MoD’s ‘selective’ implementation of the Supreme Court order of September 2012 in the Rank Pay case, which the ex-servicemen community won after battles in the Kerala High Court as well as in the apex court from 1996 to 2012.

After the anomalies emanating from a ‘faulty’ order were pointed out, the ministry has been unable to rectify its stand.

Letters accessed by this correspondent, written by ACM Browne to Antony written on January 18 and May 27, 2013 show the utter disappointment of the uniformed services at the MoD’s conduct.

Both these letters were written with the intention to get Antony to make the bureaucrats fall in line. However, there has not been much progress.

In his latest letter, ACM Browne writes to Antony, “The present approach the infirmities has caused a inordinate delay which has given rise to apprehensions in the environment that the delay may be intentional… the beneficiaries to this verdict include many of 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.”

ACM Browne went on to state, “It is with a deep sense of regret that I convey to the honourable Raksha Mantri about a growing feeling that cases involving Armed Forces personnel are unnecessarily being dragged to higher courts whereas the same could so easily be resolved in the ministry itself.”

In fact in his previous letter to Antony on January 18, ACM Browne had specifically pointed out three major anomalies arising out of MoD’s implementation order. Towards solving that, Browne had made four recommendations.

In that too, ACM Browne had stated, “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.”

Lt. Col (Retd) BK Sharma of the Retired Defence Officers Association (RDOA), which fought the case in the Supreme Court said, “It is very strange. We met the Defence Minister twice, the last time we requested him to ensure implementation of court orders. While he was positive, his ministry does everything to negate that. If this is how they treat veterans, which youngster will want to join the armed forces?”

His colleague, Lt. Col (Retd) Satwant Singh added, “I squarely hold the babus of the MoD responsible. What they are doing to our morale is indirectly aiding the enemy!”

The RDOA, it was learnt is planning on filing a contempt petition in the SC against the MoD as soon as the vacation ends.

Despite repeated requests made to the Directorate of Public Relations (DPR), MoD’s public relations wing, there was no response.

Even written requests made at the office of the Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW) for a response did not elicit a response.

What is the case all about?

The Rank Pay case is also known as the Major Dhanapalan case.

The Supreme Court had envisaged re-fixation of pay for all officers of the Army, Navy & Air Force who were eligible for Rank Pay with effect from 1.1.86, the date of implementation of the Fourth Pay Commission.

However, the MoD implementation letter of December 2012 changed it to ‘as on 1.1.86’.

The SC order had also sought the re-designing of the minimum basic pay in the integrated pay scale of IV pay commission to avoid different basic pay to similarly placed officers.

Also, the subsequent amendments in the pay and pension orders issued towards fifth and sixth pay commissions.

Where is it stuck at present?

Meetings were held in the MoD on January 30 and March 6, 2013 following ACM Browne’s letter which were attended by officials from MoD Finance, Expenditure and other departments.

It was later learnt that the services were asked to make a statement of case which would b circulated among all and forwarded to Solicitor General for his comments.

But, for all this, the MoD had time till May 31 2013 as per SC orders. According to RDOA, only a handful of officers have been given their due that too partly, within this deadline even as a majority remain waiting.

Mystery over ‘change’

ACM Browne’s letter stated, “Despite the efforts of AS(A) to arrive at a consensus, representatives of CGDA continued to maintain that their version of the interpretation of the court orders needed no review… there has been no explanation as to how and why ‘with effect from 1.1.86’ was changed to ‘as on 1.1.86’ despite specifically documented by the apex court in its judgement. It has not bee established as to who had authorised this change since this arbitrary change has now become the root problem.”

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in
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  • Anonymous 11 years ago

    SO that is it..! The CGDA's adjudication on the Hon Supreme Court's Judgment to re-fix armed force officers' pay & allowances with effect from 01 Jan 1986 "needed no review" according to the CGDA! Are we a constitutionally governed country or something turned Banana? Where else will you find an organisation originally mandated to merely keep accounts of defence finance assumed itself an all encompassing authority to make rules, approve pay & allowances in accordance with norms it devised on its own pleasure to Army, Navy, Air force & Coast Guard, and also audit its own rules, norms, procedures, approvals and accounts in its sweet will. Where are we heading…???

  • Anonymous 11 years ago

    No body is speaking about JCO cadre. Why they have been denied the benefits of revised scale?