Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is the Law Ministry befooling and hoodwinking the Disabled Veterans?

Meeting with Additional Law Secretary
Being the President of The Disabled war Veterans (India) I have been getting all the credit for the efforts of our Senior Vice President Satnamjit Singh,who retired as Ambassador to Egypt. We have been working in close cooperation trying to ensure that the Disabled War Veterans receive their just dues.

One of the issues that was causing heartburn effecting morale was the unnecessary appeals by MOD on the issues hard fought and won in AFT or Courts and delaying the same further. Many appeals filed quoted out of date letters are facts were incorrect.
Please find attached a copy of issues raised with Mr Koli, Addl Secretary Ministry of Law and his response thereto. WE WILL HAVE TO SEE WHETHER THEY ARE ACTED UPON.

Today, I met with RL Koli (not Kohli), Additional Secretary in Ministry of Law. The meeting was further to my meeting with Legal Advisor (Defence) last week and a part of the ongoing effort to sensitise concerned officials to the need to adopt a sensible policy on the issue of appeals against Tribunal / Court judgments in cases relating to war injury pension, disability pension and family pension. You would recall, earlier I have met Secretary (ESW), JS (ESW) and JS (Pension) in this regard.

I conveyed DIWAVE's views on the lines of the enclosed note, a copy of which was also left with him at the end of the meeting. Last week's discussion with LA (Def) also were on the same lines.

Mr. Koli stated -
  • Since the adoption of the National Litigation Policy in June, 2010, the Ministry had given instructions to its Law Officers (who process judgments to decide whether they should be appealed against or not) not to file appeals against individual pension cases, as a matter of routine. However, he would give specific instructions in cases involving war injury pension, disability pension and family pension cases.
  • While the final decision regarding appeals would still lie with Ministry of Law, he would direct LA (Def) not to make such a recommendation in this category of cases. He also assured that he would not pass these cases to Law Officers, but handle them himself, return the files to MoD within a matter of days after getting Secretary's approval.
  • He has also agreed to write to MoD asking them to ensure that defence counsels are briefed properly, not suppressing facts and quoting only relevant rules. He suggested we should also request MoD accordingly.
  • He would also instruct Law Officers to take care that appeals are not filed in cases with settled legal position.
  • Koli assured that from now onwards you would see a marked improvement in the situation on the issues of our concern.
    Let's see!
    We can start monitoring the new appeal cases and if we find a case violating the above assurances, it can be brought to Additional Secretary (Legal)'s attention requesting for withdrawal. In this connection, legal eagles like Major Navdeep can play an important role.
    Col H N Handa (Retd)
    President Diwave

    Comment: Assurance of Bureaucrats is routine, nothing tangible will materialise and the ground reality is apparent from statistics! No eagles can untangle the Law Ministry's web/ wall of deceit. Only the courts can unravel the truth!
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