Thursday, September 23, 2010

Disability Pension- Anomalies Broad Banded by MOD

Wednesday, 22 September, 2010, 6:03 PM
Dear Raman,
I am sorry I could not revert to you till now. The following is a detailed answer, so that it can be given wide publicity, perhaps through the "Report My Signal - Blog" of Chander Kamboj.

There are anumber of anomalies in the war injury pay / disability pay as applicable to pre Jan-2006 personnel and post Jan-2006 personnel. The two most important are:
  • Lump sum approach for pre-2006 and percentage of pay for post-2006 disabled / war injured persons. This is patently wrong and adopted by the MoD arbitrarily, as the Sixth Pay Commission had recommended the percentage of pay approach for all, as is applicable to civilian disabled personnel since the Fourth Pay Commission. In the lump sum approach all affected personnel tend to lose out.
  • The anomalous situation of Broad banding, for which the MoD again created two classes, viz. those who were invalided out soon after their war injury / disability and those who opted to serve and went home on superannuation or on completion of pensionable service.

    I wrote to the Raksha Mantri on both the above aspects. However, when no action was taken by the MoD, I filed a case against the anomaly of Broadbanding with AFT, Chandigarh Bench and won the case. It is a very detailed judgement of 30 pages, but the crux of the judgement, dated 04-08-2010, is as under:

    "it is held that the persons including the petitioners, being discharged on attaining the age of superannuation, or on completion of tenure, or being retired etc., if found to be suffering from disability to the extent of 20 % or above, and being attributable to or aggravated by military service, would be entitled to the benefit of rounding off / broad banding, at par with the persons, who are prematurely invalided out.

    The respondents are directed to make calculations, and make payment of the amount becoming due, in consequence of this judgement, within a period of six months from today, faiing which the amount shall carry interest @ 8% w.e.f. the date the amount became payable till actual receipt of the amount by the respective petitioners."

    The judgement is for all affected cases and not just for me. The MoD has two options now. Firstly, appeal against the verdict and fight in a higher court or secondly, accept the verdict and issue an implementation letter before the time stipulated by the AFT. So far, the MoD has taken no action. My gut feeling is that the MoD is unlikely to challenge the verdict.

    Now, coming to the second and bigger anomaly, viz. lump sum versus percentage dispensation. Again, I had requested the Raksha Mantri for rationalisation. No action has been initited by the MoD on this either. It is on this that Col Kahlon now wants to go to court. I have already filed my case in AFT Chandigarh and I hope to win this too, for all affected personnel. Col Kahlon must have come to know of it and hence his offer.

    My suggestion is that there is no need for everyone to file individual cases and waste money, as my case has already started and the AFT has asked the MoD to file their comments.

    To answer your specific query whether litigation is the only answer? It seems to be so as many overtures made by different individuals and organisations have not borne fruit with the MoD. Some people are even trying for ‘Modified parity", which in my view is a weakening of the case, as our case is very strong.
    I am endorsing a copy to Chander.
    Warm regards.
    Vijay Oberoi
    Former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)
    Former Director Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
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