Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rank Pay:: Too little, too late!

Too little, too late!
P M Ravindran | 05-Sep-2012
After outrageously denying justice to Gen V K Singh in a simple matter of his date of birth the apex court now mocks at soldiers with a pretense of justice. Let us get this straight- no citizen goes to courts seeking charity. He goes to courts demanding justice, which is a fundamental right; all those addressing the judges as Lordship and cloaking their demand in terms like Prayers, not withstanding. And in this case justice has been done apparently but falls much short of it.
Firstly Maj Dhanapalan's case was decided more than a decade back. The court did not cover all affected officers in its order then.
Secondly, now it has taken 10 years to decide this case when the precedence had been set and the facts, laws and precedences of the issue had already been established through a long drawn judicial process itself.
Thirdly, the rate of interest is just the barest minimum and not even enough to compensate for the losses incurred by the soldiers, forget about being penal.
And lastly, the date of its applicability is only from 1 Jan 2006- a date that has no relevance in this case. Usually the courts consider the date of filing the petition for the applicability of its orders, though even that is questionable because natural justice demands that it has to be the date of occurrence and especially so in cases like this where all other options have to be exhausted before approaching the courts!
Just to highlight the contrast look at the case of compensating a judge to the tune of Rs 100 Crores in a defamation case and the apex court refusing to entertain an appeal unless Rs 20 Crores is deposited by the media channel which had in any case tendered an unconditional apology for the genuine mistake that had occurred in displaying the photo of the judge which was similar in name to another judge who had been implicated in a crime!
And it also needs to be highlighted that the rank pay was not introduced to give any advantage to the armed forces officers over their civilian counterparts because the fact is that there has never been any such advantage then nor is it there now. It was actually another ploy to keep these officers at a lower station because the rank pay was to be considered part of basic pay only for calculating the allowances and not status!
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