Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rank Pay liable since the Pay Commission came into force in 1986

Pay rank pay liable since ’86 to armed forces: SC to Govt
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to re-fix the pay of defence personnel retrospectively from January 1, 1986 including the component of rank pay that was wrongly denied to them since the Fourth Pay Commission.
A three-judge bench of Justices RM Lodha, TS Thakur and AR Dave directed the Centre to pay the rank pay liable since the Pay Commission came into force in 1986. In abiding by the court order, the exchequer could face a financial liability of close to `1,500 crore as the court even asked the Centre to award annual interest of six per cent to be calculated from January 1, 2006. This order would apply to roughly 20,000 officers of the Army, Navy or Air Force, both serving and retired, irrespective of whether they filed petition in court or the Armed Forces Tribunal. The court even fixed a time-period of 12 weeks for the Centre to comply with its order.
The order is sure to boost the morale of the defence forces, who were denied the rank pay despite being entitled for it since 1986. The matter was first raised by Major AK Dhanpalan before the Kerala High Court, which detected the anomaly and found no justification with the Centre’s decision to deduct the rank pay. The rank pay, as the name suggested, was a sum fixed for each rank beginning from Captain to Brigadier, and the corresponding ranks in the Navy and Air Force. For Captain, an additional amount of `200 would get added to his monthly income as rank pay, it followed an ascending order as per the ascension in rank. For instance, Major rank officer was to get `600, Lt Col and Colonel to get `800 and Brigadier to get `1200 per month.
With Dhanpalan’s case serving as the basis, several officers approached the High Court, causing the matter to come up till the Supreme Court which too decided in favour of the defence forces through its order of March 8, 2010. The court not only directed re-fixation of pay from January 1, 1986 but burdened the Centre with six per cent interest from that date onwards. For this reason, the Centre moved an application seeking recall of the order.
Solicitor General RF Nariman impressed upon the bench that granting rank pay with interest would cause a huge financial burden on the Government. But the court went by the purpose behind the rank pay provision that was to encourage persons to join the Armed Forces and provide parity in their salaries with their civilian counterparts. The denial of the same was seen by the court and by the defence officers as ill-treatment of armed forces by bureaucrats.
The Retired Defence Service officers, who were represented by senior advocate Mahabir Singh, Aishwarya Bhati and BB Trikha, informed the court that the Defence Ministry had pursued the application to modify the March 8, 2010 order despite opposition from the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the three Service chiefs.
Pay rank pay liable since ’86 to armed forces: SC to Govt

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