Non grant of Service Element of Disability Pension to Disabled Personnel with less than Minimum Qualifying Service who are released from Service other than by way of invalidation: Status on the recommendations of the Raksha Mantri Committee
DEPARTMENT OF EX-SERVICEMEN WELFARE (DESW)
STATUS ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE OF RAKSHA MANTRI’s COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS CONCERNING DESW
2.2.11 NON GRANT OF SERVICE ELEMENT OF DISABILITY PENSION TO DISABLED PERSONNEL WITH LESS THAN MINIMUM QUALIFYING SERVICE WHO ARE RELEASED FROM SERVICE OTHER THAN BY WAY OF INVALIDATION
2.2.11 NON GRANT OF SERVICE ELEMENT OF DISABILITY PENSION TO DISABLED PERSONNEL WITH LESS THAN MINIMUM QUALIFYING SERVICE WHO ARE RELEASED FROM SERVICE OTHER THAN BY WAY OF INVALIDATION:
The Committee, in view of the foregoing, recommends that Service Element be released to all those individuals who are released with an attributable/aggravated disability, irrespective of the manner of exit/release from service since there is no minimum qualifying service required for earning this element. All appeals filed on the subject may be immediately withdrawn.
The issue was referred to office of CGDA for their comments. Comments received from CGDA vide their U.O dated 28.4.2017 reproduced as below:-
(i). As per Special Army Instruction 4/5/74, w.e.f 01.01.1973, there is no minimum service criterion for grant of service element of disability pension in invalided out cases. This benefit has been extended to Pre- 1973 invalided out pensioners vide GoI, MoD letter No. 12(28)/2010-D(Pen/Pol) dated 10.02.2014 circulated vide PCDA (P) Circular No. 527 dated 25.04.2014. However, in cases, where individual has been retained in service even after disability attributable to or aggravated by military service and subsequently discharged after fulfillment of term of engagement or at own request, 15 years of qualifying service is mandatory to earn service pension.
(ii). In case, where an individual is invalided out on medical ground being neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service, invalid pension is payable, provided, he has rendered 10 years or more but less than 15 years qualifying service. In the event of rendering 05 years or more but less than 10 years service, invalid gratuity is admissible. CGDA office is of the view that if an individual is retained on the basis of the recommendations of the Medical Board and subsequently opts for discharge from service, it may not be treated as invalided out from service and should be treated as discharged at own request.
(iii). Further, provisions of invalid pension/gratuity also exist in civil side, where invalid pension is granted after rendering 10 years qualifying service. In the event of relaxation in minimum qualifying service i.e 15 years in case of service pension and 10 years in case of invalid pension in respect of Armed Forces personnel, demand may also arise in civil side for invalid pension in less than 10 yrs qualifying service cases.
(iv). As the provisions for minimum qualifying service to earn pensionary benefits have already been made (as laid down in respective Pension Regulations for the Army, Navy & Air Force as well as CCS Pension Rules for civilians) with due consideration, therefore, this office is of the view that minimum criteria of qualifying service, to earn service pension/invalid pension should not be shaken. Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare may also be consulted in the matter since issue to civil servants/CPMF(Central Para Military Forces) pensioners also.
2. The Comments of DoP&PW to whom the matter was referred are as under:
(i) In Civil side, the provisions in CS(EOP) Rules are very clear. As per Rule 9 of CCS(EOP) Rules, if a Government servant is disabled due to service and if the disability is attributable to Government service, he shall be paid either disability pension or lump sum compensation.
Sub-Rule(2) of Rule 9 provides that if the Govt. Servant is boarded out of Government Service on account of his disablement, he shall be paid disability pension in accordance with the Rule.
Sub-Rule(3) provides that if the Government servant is retained in service in spite of such disablement, he shall be paid a compensation in lump sum (in lieu of the disability pension) on the basis of disability pension admissible to him by arriving at the capitalized value of such disability pension.
(ii) Therefore, in civil side, disability pension shall be paid only on boarding out cases. If the Government servant is retained in service in spite of that disability, he shall be paid only lump sum compensation. No option will be asked and there is no provision for any option. Only lump sum compensation will be paid in such cases. On his retirement, he shall be paid superannuation pension only as per CCS(Pension) Rules. If he opted for voluntary retirement as per CCS(Pension) Rules, then also, he shall be paid only normal pension as per CCS(Pension) Rules. It appears that there is difference in rules in Defence side on retained cases. In all boarding out cases and payment of disability pension, as per EOP rules, no minimum service is required for earning service element.
(iii) Under CCS(Pension) Rules, minimum 10 years of service is required for earning pension. A civil servant can apply for voluntary retirement after 20 years of qualifying service and entitled for pension. Under Rule 38 of CCS(Pension ) Rules, Invalid pension is also available for any mental or bodily infirmity, which permanently incapacitates a Government servant for the service.
3. Regulation 50 of PRA, 1961 bars payment of Disability pension to Defence Forces personnel who sought voluntary retirement. On the recommendation of 6th CPC, MoD letter dated 29.09.2009 was issued under which Defence Forces Personnel who were retained in service despite disability (due to attributable to or aggravated by service) & foregone lump-sum compensation were allowed disability element/war injury element on their retirement whether voluntary or otherwise in addition to retiring/ service pension or gratuity as per their length of qualifying service. This provision was made for post 2006 retiree. Vide MoD order dated 19th May 2017, this provision has been extended for pre-2006 retirees also.
4. As the Defence Force Personnel who are invalided out (only) from service due to disability attributable to or aggravated by service are entitled for service element of disability pension & there is no condition of minimum qualifying service required for service element of disability pension in invalided out cases. In view of CGDA comments there is no case for extending the benefit of granting service element of disability pension in other than invalided out cases viz. the personnel who seek voluntary retirement/ discharge at own request and found some disability at the time of discharge/PMR/VR which is assessed as attributable to or aggravated by Military service. It may also be seen from DoP&PW comments that there is no provision of disability pension in other than boarded out cases.
5. Since the CGDA does not support the proposal for grant of service element of disability pension in other than invalided out cases and no such provision exist in Civil side, the demand cannot be equated at par with those
Defence Forces Personnel who are invalided out with disability attributable to or aggravated by Military service. Further, this will encourage the tendency of proceeding on voluntary retirement/discharge at own request by the Defence Forces personnel and the Defence Forces, thereby, will lose trained and experienced defence personnel which also cause extra financial burden to the exchequer.
6. In view of above discussion, there appears to be no case for consideration of the proposal.