MoD withdraws appeals against grant of ‘service element’
Pension to pre-1973 disabled ex-servicemen
Chandigarh, February 24, 2012
Bringing succour to hundreds of disabled ex-servicemen pensioners across the country, the grant of “service element” to whom had been challenged by the government in the Supreme Court, the Defence Ministry today informed the apex court that it had decided to withdraw appeals in all such cases that were bunched and listed yesterday.
The veterans concerned, many of whom belong to this region, would now be entitled to get their dues and arrears in accordance with existing rules and court rulings. Lawyers associated with the cases said some of the affected veterans were in their nineties now.
Disabled personnel are entitled to a disability pension consisting of a “service element” commensurate with the length of service and a “disability element” that depends upon the quantum of injury. Prior to 1964, on disability decreasing below 20 per cent, the disability element used to be withdrawn, but the service element continued if the service rendered was more than 15 years. The service limit for service element was brought down to 10 years in 1964 and 5 years in 1968.
With effect from 1973, the qualifying service requirement for service element was totally abrogated and persons with even one day of service became eligible for service element. Even after 1973, the MoD refused to extend the benefit of service element to earlier retirees with lesser length of service, leading to a spate of litigation. Ultimately, various high courts ruled in favour of disabled ex-servicemen, asking the govt to release service element irrespective of length of service to pre-1973 retirees.
Though the appeals filed by the government against HC decisions were time and again dismissed by the SC, the MoD continued to file SLPs against its disabled veterans, leading to multiple litigation. Sources associated with the issue said the Adjutant General’s Branch and the Army’s Personnel Services Directorate repeatedly requested the MoD’s Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare to resolve the issue, but the requests were not acceded to.
Sources say the current Secretary DESW Samirendra Chatterjee, however, saw reason in the Army’s proposal and played an instrumental role in withdrawing all such appeals and conceding the matter.
On the last date earlier this month, the Supreme Court Bench hearing the case had asked the MoD to “seek instructions” if it did not want an adverse order. The veterans have welcomed the government’s move to withdraw the said cases.
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Comment: We need to thank the Media, Maj Navdeep and Ajai Shukla for taking on the "MOD Bulls". I hope similarly MoD finds sense in the two decade Rank Pay litigation case dragging on and release the arrears of pension entitled under the 4th Central Pay Commission to the Officers who were cheated of it.
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