Grant of Rank Pay
The 4th Pay Commission had granted Rank Pay in addition to basic pay for officers up to the rank of Brigadier. There was no ambiguity at all. However, while fixing pay in the integrated scale, an amount equal to the Rank Pay was deceitfully deducted by the concerned bureaucrats from the total dues, thereby causing heavy financial loss to the officers. It was an act of betrayal of the trust of the armed forces. No other country in the world is known to have conspired and connived so blatantly to deprive its own soldiers of their rightful dues. Even DA, pension, gratuity and other related entitlements of the affected officers were adversely impacted. With one clever stroke, the Government had nullified the recommendations of the Pay Commission.
As all equivalence of appointments in the Government is based on pay scales, bureaucracy employed this stratagem to keep the comparative status of officers down. All pleas to the Government fell on deaf ears. Major Dhanapalan approached Kerala High Court for justice in 1996. The Hon’ble Court ruled in favour of the petitioner and directed the Government to refix his basic pay with effect from 01 January 1986. Instead of accepting its mistake gracefully and ordering refixation of pay of all eligible officers, the Government appealed against the award to a larger Bench of the same court. The appeal was dismissed.
However, the Government was not done as yet and brazenly filed an SLP in the Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court found no merit in the appeal and dismissed it. MoD grudgingly refixed the pay of Major Dhanapalan and sanctioned payment of arrears. Although the issue had wider application, the Government failed to show required magnanimity to extend the same dispensation to other affected officers under the specious plea that the Court orders pertained to the applicant only. Dismayed by the apathetic attitude of the Government, many officers knocked at the doors of various courts in the country. The Hon’ble Supreme Court admitted a petition for transfer of all the writ petitions pending before the various High Courts in 2007. The matter was heard and finally disposed of by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 08 Mar 2010. The Apex Court held that the judgment of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court was correct and reasonable and as such the benefit of this judgment be extended to all eligible officers of the Armed Forces. Additionally, the Hon’ble Apex Court awarded 6% interest on the amount due to the officers.
The level to which the Government can stoop can be gauged from the fact that it has recently moved an application in the Apex Court for directions seeking modification/directions/recall of the said order of 08 March 2010. It is obsessively resisting grant of overdue arrears to its officers despite clear-cut court directions.
When the Government Becomes an Adversary of its Ex-servicemen
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