Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Veteran Welfare- Are we being cheated and then dishonoured?

Supreme Court Recalls ITS Directions to MoD in Pushpavanti Case
The Supreme Court has recalled its order given on 15 November last year in which it had directed MoD to set up a Commission to look into the grievances of serving and former soldiers of the Armed Forces. In the same order, the Apex Court had made a mention of Smt Pushpa Vanti’s case, a widow whose husband was an Army Major. The petitioner Smt Pushpa Vanti had claimed that she was getting only a meager amount of Rs.80/- per month as pension since the death of her husband in 1967 and her pension had not been revised since then. In the said order, the Supreme Court also alluded to the discontent among the serving and former members Armed Forces and their widows and family member regarding their service condition i.e. Pay Scales, anomalies regarding pension, inadequate pension etc. and directed the Central Government to set up a Commission called Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission to look into the grievances of serving and former members of the Armed Forces and their dependents.

Subsequently, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare of MoD verified the facts regarding actual pension drawn by Smt Pushpa Vanti and also considered the implications of setting up of such a Commission given the fact that an elaborate mechanism for welfare and resettlement of Ex-servicemen and their dependent already exists under the aegis of Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare.

On verification of facts it was found that Smt Pushpa Vanti is actually drawing a family pension of Rs.16360 and not Rs.80/- as incorrectly represented before the Apex Court. The factual position was brought before the Supreme Court on 05 July 2011 by the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare through the Solicitor General of India who also submitted before the Supreme Court that for looking after the welfare and resettlement of Ex-servicemen a comprehensive mechanism is already in place.

Following this, the Supreme Court recalled its order given on 15 November 2010. SK/ (Release ID :73300)
Supreme Court Recalls ITS Directions to MoD in Pushpavanti Case
The truth is bitter to swallow
Armed Forces Tribunal Orders are mostly defied; click here
Grievances of veterans have been ignored for years even when the Supreme Court has issued favourable judgments- click here

Veteran Woes
Things have come to a dangerous pass.
Appalling already was the scheme of events in our nation, with veterans and the government in a logjam and protests related to pensionary anomalies reaching the streets.
As most of us know, the Supreme Court had recently recalled its orders related to the constitution of the Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission. What follows is this official press release by the Ministry of Defence almost celebrating the recalling of the orders, commemorating the victory of the Ministry of Defence over veterans and stating that the poor widow in the case had ‘incorrectly represented’ facts before the Court, while actually there was no such observation of ‘incorrect representation’ by the Hon’ble Apex Court itself in its orders.
Does an official press release such as this behove a government agency? Is the recalling of a judicial order official-news material, if that be so, then all departments should regularly issue press releases every single day on the hundreds of cases decided daily involving them, this way or that way.
While on the surface, this press release may seem to be innocuous, but lying beneath is a thought process that is thoroughly and distastefully disgusting – the thought process that defence veterans are adversaries of the MoD. It is an MoD Vs Veterans state of mind. Otherwise, why would there be a celebratory official PIB press release on the recalling of an order that was so dear to the hearts of the defence community ? Can this be expected in any developed democracy ? Can we imagine the Department of Defence of the US or the Ministry of Defence of the UK issuing a press release celebrating the recalling of a Court order favouring veterans?
Click here to read full article of Maj Navdeep Singh: Sad Sign of the Times!

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