Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rank Pay: NDTV Special Report

Armed Forces win long standing pay battle in Supreme Court
Written by Nitin Gokhale, Edited by Abhinav Bhatt | Updated: September 04, 2012 20:27 IST
New Delhi: The armed forces won a landmark victory in their long standing battle to get an anomaly in fixation of pay scales for commissioned officers noticed in the 4th Pay Commission.
The Supreme Court today ordered payment of rank pay arrears to all affected officers estimated to number over 20,000 with effect from January 1, 1986.
The government had been told the pay the arrears within 12 weeks. According to sources, the total outgo to government in making this payment will be over Rs. 1500 crore.
Military lawyers told NDTV that historically the most important litigation involving the military has culminated today.
The Supreme Court decided not to interfere in its earlier decision granting the cumulative benefits and arrears of Rank Pay with effect from 01-01-1986 to all affected officers.
It said the benefits shall be released to all officers irrespective of whether they had approached a judicial forum or not.
According to Major Navdeep Singh who specialises in military cases, this matter was carried over from the 4th Central Pay Commission (CPC) when an integrated pay scale of Rs. 2300-5100 was implemented for officers from the rank of 2/Lieutenant to Brigadier. In addition, rank pay was authorised to officers from the rank of Captain to Brigadier ranging from Rs. 200 to 1200 which was to be added into the basic pay for all intents and purposes.
However, while fixing the pay in the new scales, an amount equal to the rank pay was deducted from the emoluments resulting in financial loss to all affected officers. Hence all officers holding the rank of Captain to Brigadier as on 01-01-1986 suffered cumulative losses, Major Navdeep Singh says. The Kerala High Court in a case filed by Major AK Dhanapalan had termed illegal this deduction of rank pay.
Soon thereafter, many similar petitions were filed in various High Courts all over the country which were clubbed together and transferred to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had on March 8, 2010, upheld the Kerala High Court verdict and granted relief to all similarly placed officers.
Things were, however, not to end there since the government constituted a committee to look into the amount involved and went back to the Supreme Court by filing an application for recall of the order dated March 8, 2010 on the grounds that the monetary outgo will be a big burden on the exchequer and also stating therein that many more issues on the subject were not taken into consideration by the Court and hence the order needed to be recalled, Major Navdeep explained.
The biggest credit, he says should go to Retired Defence Officers' Association (RDOA) who had been unflinchingly following up the matter with great zeal in a very objective and balanced manner.
Armed Forces win long standing pay battle in Supreme Court

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