Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ministry of Defence withdraws appeals against pre-1973 pensioners

MoD withdraws appeals against grant of ‘service element’
Pension to pre-1973 disabled ex-servicemen
Vijay Mohan/TNS

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 Prior to 1964, on disability decreasing below 20 per cent, the disability element used to be withdrawn, but the service element continued if the service rendered was more than 15 years.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.
Clicjk here for the Tribune Post
Click here for the earlier Blog Post
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.

Will the arms dealer and money launderer be ever nailed and convicted?

Income tax raids on arms dealer Suresh Nanda
TNN | Feb 25, 2012, 03.06AM IST

NEW DELHI: Income tax officials on Friday carried out searches at various premises of Delhi-based businessman and defence dealer Suresh Nanda, including at the Claridges hotel owned by him.

Nanda had temporarily shifted his residence to Claridges but on the day of the raid he slipped out in a similar fashion like in 2007 when a raiding party failed to lay their hands on him. Sources said he has left for London while raids continued late in the night on Friday.

Nanda's residences at Prithviraj Road, Defence Colony and his properties in New Delhi and Mumbai were searched. The I-T department refused to divulge details.

A close associate of Nanda, besides his family members, were the target during Friday's raids. Some of his transactions in London have been on the radar of investigative agencies. Nanda is believed to have purchased properties in UK among other places. Sources said he was in negotiations for a five-star property in Mumbai.

The I-T department had been keeping a close watch on Nanda's financial transactions as it had specific information about the defence dealer's earnings abroad and the money he had allegedly brought into the country through hawala.

Nanda is already facing a CBI case in the Barak defence deal in which he is alleged to have paid Rs 2 crore to former Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly at the then defence minister George Fernandes's official residence.

In October 2006, Nanda and three other defence dealers had come under investigation after the CBI raided their premises for their alleged role as middlemen in various defence deals, including the Barak missile deal.

This is not the Nanda family's first brush with controversy. Nanda, a former Navy officer and son of former Navy chief Admiral S M Nanda, is named in at least three different CBI FIRs.

In October 2006, CBI filed an FIR naming Suresh Nanda among others alleging huge kickbacks in the purchase of Barak missiles from Israel for the Indian Navy. In the same month, Nanda was named in another FIR, in the purchase of Armoured Recovery Vehicles. Nanda was termed an agent for one of the bidders, and was accused of accepting commission from the company.

Nanda and his son Sanjeev were arrested on March 8, 2008 along with their chartered accountant Vipin Shah and income tax officer Ashutosh Verma in an alleged bribery case. Verma was handling the income tax investigation against the Nanda family.
Feb 01, 2008 at 12:39am IST

Four years ago Feb 01, 2008 at 12:39am IST
New Delhi: Arms dealer Suresh Nanda's passport has been suspended for four weeks following a request by the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI). His father and former Indian Navy chief Admiral SM Nanda is also under the scanner.
Suresh is arguably India's biggest arms dealer and finally, after being accused of corruption charges, the CBI seems to have him in their net.
He is alleged to have received 10 per cent kickback in the Rs 1,100 crore Barak Anti-Missile System deal between an Israeli company and the Indian armed forces.
Investigations into the deal show that Nanda received Rs 400 crores from abroad in various banks accounts in India.
Sources have told CNN-IBN that Nanda's father, Admiral SM Nanda is also being investigated for receiving kickbacks in the Rs 7,000-crore deal with Russia for aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. (Sadly or luckily he died in May 2011 and hence escaped conviction)
While CBI refuses to comment, Nanda tried to defend himself after interrogations on Thursday evening.
"I think everything has come legally through proper banking channels," Suresh Nanda casually remarked.
CBI sources have told CNN-IBN that Nanda has used the kickback money to buy the Claridges Hotel in New Delhi, Searock Hotel in Mumbai, Land for SEZ near Mumbai and another hotel in Faridabad.
But what can put Nanda in a soup is his alleged British passport. He owns a company called Globetech in London and Interpol alleges that he has listed himself as a British national.
"I am an NRI for the last 24 years," Nanda replied when asked about his status.
But that is not true because Nanda's NRI status was revoked after income tax raids last year found documents pointing to crores of unaccounted wealth.
CBI closing in on arms dealer Suresh Nanda
Comment: CBI closing on the money launderer for the last 5 years without any tangible progress- It is likely the accused may vanish in a few days!

Super Power Bureaucrats of India

Dear All,
In his Book "SUPER POWER-'The Amazing Race between China’s Hare and India’s Tortoise' Raghav Bahl gives this very apt description of how Indian bureaucrats function, by and large!
Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh (Retd)

The Indian civil servant is enormously intelligent. He is amongst the brightest in the land. He gets it quickly. He is usually articulate and accessible. He can see thru a problem and understand solutions. His instinct is to push a decision, not take it. But he often lacks the gumption to ‘just do it’. He is trained to see the glass as half empty, never half full. His instinct is to push a decision, never take it. He is a champion of the ‘middle route’, the ‘golden mean’. He stays clear of anything that is even remotely controversial, breakthrough or bold. He uses ‘consensus’ and ‘consultation’ as a shield to ‘protect his backside’. His favorite phrase is that ‘government decisions are a process-not result oriented’. Of course there is that exceptional officer who goes against the grain, who innovates and takes risks, but to borrow another favorite phrase, ‘by and large’ these guys like to hedge their bets to the point of inaction.

Friday, February 24, 2012

IFS officer indicted for slavery and fined heavily

US court recommends $1.5 mn for Indian diplomat's maid
Press Trust of India, Updated: February 23, 2012 21:01 IST

New York: In a setback to an Indian diplomat accused of indulging in "slavery" by her maid, a US judge has recommended that she be awarded nearly USD 1.5 million for her "barbaric treatment" at the hands of her employer.
The proposed award includes USD 500,000 for the "emotional distress" inflicted on Shanti Gurung by Neena Malhotra and her husband Jogesh, The New York Post said.
Neena Malhotra was then the Consul at Consulate General of India here.
The Malhotras clearly induced their ex-maid to "work without pay by seizing her passport and visa, restricting her ability to leave their apartment, and constantly warning her that if she travelled on her own without their permission, she would be arrested, beaten, raped and sent back to India as 'cargo'" Manhattan federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas was quoted as having written in his recommendation.
His recommendations are subject to approval by Judge Victor Marrero, who is overseeing the case, the daily said.
Last year, Marrero granted Gurung a default judgement against the Malhotras, who returned to India before they could be served with their ex-maid's suit that was filed in 2010, the report said.
The External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi had then said the media reports containing allegations against the senior diplomat "do not appear to be in conformity with facts".
US court recommends $1.5 mn for Indian diplomat's maid
Contradiction: India protects the accused: click here to read more
The Hindu Report: Ms Neera absconding- unable to serve legal notice through MEA- Is UOI conniving with the accused?
Comment: Sad commentary on the MEA and the indisciplined IFS Officers. The method of selection of diplomats need to be revised to enhance the image of India. Similar slavery cases in India hardly gets noticed or the accused convicted or if fined it is peanuts. We need to enforce anti slavery laws and make an example of the culprits instead of protecting them. Neena Malhotra must face the law of Justice and she must be removed from service the least the MEA can do to salvage its image.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Combined Defence Services Examinations: Final Results

Combined Defence Services Exam (I) 2011 Final Results Announced
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has announced the final results of Combined Defence Services Examination (I). A total of 356 candidates (272 Men + 84 Women), have finally qualified on the basis of the results of the Combined Defence Services Examination (I)-2011 conducted by the UPSC and interviews held by the Services Selection Board of the Ministry of Defence for admission to the (i)Officers Training Academy, Chennai for 95th Short Service Commission Course (for Men) and (ii) Officers Training Academy, Chennai 9th Short Service Commission Women (Non-Technical) Course, commencing in April, 2012. The list of 95th Short Service Commission Course (for Men) also includes the names of the candidates who were recommended earlier on the basis of the result of the same examination for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Naval Academy, Ezhimala, Kerala and Air Force Academy, Hyderabad (Pre-Flying) Training Course(s).
The number of vacancies as intimated by the Government, for (i) 95th Short Service Commission Course (for Men) is 175 and for (ii) 9th Short Service Commission Women (Non-Technical) Course is 25.
The result of Medical Examination of candidates has not been taken into account in preparing the merit list. The candidature of all the candidates is Provisional. Verification of date of birth and Educational Qualification of these candidates will be done by Army HQ.
Result is available on PIB website i.e and also on the U.P.S.C. website i.e. However, marks of the candidates will be available within 15 days from the date of declaration of final result on Commission’s web-site and will be available for 60 days.
UPSC has a Facilitation Counter near Examination Hall Building in its Campus. Candidates may obtain any information/clarification regarding their examination on working hours in person or over telephone No. 011-23385271, 011-23381125 and 011-23098543 from this Counter.
Click here to see list of candidates *** RS/SR
(Release ID :80459)
Click here for the PIB Webpage

ECHS catching up with the digital era and networking

Finally ECHS has its own website. Please click link below:
ECHS Live Website Feb 2012
It includes email ids of Region Centres and tele numbers of ECHS functionaries. There is also a click on for Claim status. This should be a Great help.
Please send in your suggestions for improvement to ECHS, with cc to me if you wish.
Its really a GREAT site. DO visit. You will find answers to all your queries. Cheers. And lots of Good Health.
With Warm Regards,
Col RP Chaturved

ECHS Helpline. Now call 080-4300-4300 or 1800-103-8666 for any ECHS query. You can also SMS your ECHS query on 09741494300.
Click here for ECHS Newsletter

Comment: What is lacking is an online complaint and suggestion facility which can easy be incorporated.

India's Arab Sprint

The Indian Express
Sanjaya Baru : Wed Feb 22 2012, 03:23 hrs
Riyadh and Delhi are quietly drawing closer, acknowledging their many shared concerns

Amidst last week’s focus in the Indian media about a coming conflict between Iran and Israel, not much attention was paid to a historic visit to Saudi Arabia by the defence minister, A.K. Anthony.

Several interesting facts marked Anthony’s path-breaking travel across the Arabian Sea. First, the visit was the first ever such official visit by an Indian defence minister to the epicentre of the Arab world. Second, it came in response to persistent invitations from the Saudi government. Anthony was unable to make the trip on two earlier occasions when an invitation had been issued, but finally made it after a third call from Riyadh. Third, the defence minister was accompanied not just by diplomats and civilian officials but by three senior defence officials — the vice chief of army staff, the deputy chief of naval staff and an air vice marshal. Fourth, Anthony had one-on-one talks with his counterpart Prince Salman and an extended audience with King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

At the end of what has been described as “wide-ranging” talks, India and Saudi Arabia have agreed to set up a joint panel of officials who will together draft a defence cooperation agreement and a “road map” for defence cooperation that would include joint exercises between the three services of the two nations, training and co-production of defence equipment. The militaries and navies of both countries will undertake joint patrolling of the Arabian Sea, fighting sea piracy and disruption to maritime traffic.

India’s main concern is energy security and the security of the Indian community in the region. Already, rising tensions have pushed the price of oil up. Even if hostilities were not to break out, the persistence of raised risk levels will keep oil prices high. Finally, if Iran were to lay mines in the sea as a pre-emptive or provocative act, this would seriously disrupt the movement of oil tankers. Any sustained rise in the price of oil will hit the Indian economy hard.

King Abdullah has, it is reliably learnt, offered cast-iron assurances to Anthony that Saudi Arabia would step in and help both in making more oil available to India and in assuring the safety and security of Indian expatriates in the region.

An interesting aspect of the bilateral understanding reached between Anthony and Prince Salman is that India and Saudi Arabia would also undertake joint research and projects in the field of hydrography, exchanging information on nautical cartography and hydrographic surveys of coastal areas, ports, harbours and designated sea areas. In the near term this would also facilitate de-mining!

The people of India and Arabia have interacted across the waters between them for thousands of years. Omani and Gujarati seafarers were among the earliest and Arabs reached the Kerala coast as traders and teachers, not conquerors. In fact, among all the Muslim communities of the Middle East and Central Asia it is only the Arabs who never sought to conquer India. The Turks, the Persians, and the Central Asians came by land to plunder or rule. The Arabs came by sea to trade and teach.

While history has its limitations in shaping contemporaneous and forward-looking strategic choices, it does shape popular perceptions. What is, however, driving the India- Saudi relationship today is not this benign history but shared concerns about stability and growth in the Arabian Sea littoral and the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia is as concerned about events in Iran as it is about trends in Pakistan. Riyadh’s outreach to New Delhi is also an indicator that the Saudis are worried about what is happening in Pakistan. In this “arc of instability” Riyadh hopes India would be a reliable and credible guarantor of stability.
The writer is director for geo-economics and strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and honorary senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research
India's Arab Sprint: click here to read the full article

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Transforming India

Ministry of Rural Development 21-February, 2012 18:43 IST
ASHA workers will be roped in to create awareness on sanitation, says Jairam
The Union Minister of Rural Development Sh Jairam Ramesh has said that issues like Sanitation and Drinking water should become the main national agenda to ensure a healthy national outlook. Addressing the second meeting of National Drinking Water and Sanitation Council here, the Minister said, he is hopeful of 40 to 60 percent increase in the budgetary allocation for drinking water and Sanitation, which stands at Rs 10,000 crore at present. He said, health, sanitation and water supply should not be treated as separate issues, as they impact on each other and should be seen in a holistic framework. Shri Ramesh said that nearly eight lakh ASHA workers working in the health sector will be roped in for creating awareness about sanitation issues in rural areas and appropriate incentives will be given to them. He also informed that the allocation of Rs 3,000 for creating individual toilets will be increased to about Rs 7,000, but at the same time added that the focus will shift from individual toilets to community ones, where the Gram Panchayats will be the sheet anchor of the programme. SNC (Release ID :80441)
Create awareness of Hygiene and Sanitation

Comment: We need to applaud Jairam for his vision and bold initiative in transforming India of garbage, open defecation, public urination, filth, open sewers, contaminated drinking water and abysmal sanitation. A small step in the direction of a major and a gigantic challenge. The funds allotted is peanuts- Civic sense must be imparted, administered and cultivated in the schools and colleges. A great opportunity for all veteran organisations to get into the act of nation building instead of withering away our organisational assets.

Farewell to Welfare: New Mantra of the Ministry of Defence

The raging bulls of the Ministry of Defence strike again
Read more about the treatment meted to our war-injured and disabled soldiers:
Ajai Shukla / New Delhi Feb 21, 2012, 00:26 IST
Instead of safeguarding the welfare of retired soldiers, ministry effectively holds off payment until an ex-serviceman claimant is either dead or broke.
Ajai Shukla’s Opinion in Business Standard : MoD’s farewell to welfare

Report in ‘The Tribune’
This action of MoD was also considered against rules since defence pensionary provisions provide that all personnel released in low medical category were to be deemed as ‘invalided’ for purposes of disability pension.
MOD files plea against rounding off disability

Report in ‘The Hindustan Times’ Click here

It is crystal clear that while the higher echelons of the Ministry of Defence are sympathetic to the needs and requirements of veterans, it is the lower level appointments which twist and turn everything that may otherwise be going in favour of former service-members, and unfortunately the top brass tends to over-rely on such staff and cannot look through the game.

With a new Secretary Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW) at the helm who seems to be genuinely sensitive and is taking much more interest than his predecessor, let us hope for a better future. Though I would not like to sound pessimistic, but it’s nothing short of a mini-revolution that may ultimately be required to make the system accountable and to weed out the sadist elements from appointments at the cutting edge level. Be braced for tumultuous times ahead...
Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 10:15 PM

Comment: Maybe MOD needs to post poems in their offices to inspire their negative attitude!

A tribute To The Wounded Soldier
In unity we stand on the battle field
With one common goal
We fight side by side every day
We are attacked but we stand strong
We are tried but true
We will stand
Many people have fallen in battle
It is our duty to reach out to them
To pray for them
To love and provide them
And let god restore them
To fight once again
by Jonathan Poland

A Heroes Deed... Selfless acts of valor
He’ll give his life to save a world that treats him like a failure
A Heroes need, Is not lost in battle
He knows he strives for truth and nothing else will matter
He has a vision, an unending sense of pride
His motivation, born of something deep inside
He sees the news from home; they’re carrying their signs
He wonders if they know they have that right
Because of what the signs decry
by Aaron Letrick

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No More Panic Button

Get Eyewatch for free on your Mobile Phone
1. In a bid to reach out to veterans to provide support to those who are staying all alone, a signal service through SMS has been thought of by DG Signals and had approached M/S “Eyewatch’ who have developed a free of cost, easy to use ‘Emergency Alert Application’ that can be easily installed on certain mobile phones which are GPRS activated.
2. This application can be very useful in any emergency situation. The application can trigger emergency alert via SMS and Email to your trusted contacts instantly informing them of your emergency situation. The application is also capable of tracking your location, recording an audio and video (or photos) of the situation automatically and displaying this information to your trusted contacts on a secure webpage. Important features of this application are:
  • Emergency Response Contacts
    You can register your trusted contacts as your Emergency Response Contacts (ERC) to be contacted at the time of any emergency situation by Emergency Alert activation by press/click of a button.
  • Location & Live Tracking
    The application instantly notifies your contacts of your current location, if you are in an emergency situation.
  • Audio and Visual
    The application automatically records a 30 second pre- alert emergency audio and a 20 second post alert video or 5 photos and displays these to your trusted contacts on a secure webpage.
  • Auto Connect
    The application instantly connects you to your contacts by calling them in a sequential manner.
  • Safety Confirm
    The application informs your contacts of your location when you are safe, without raising any emergency alert.

    3. The Eyewatch application presently works on Symbian (Nokia), Blackberry and Android Smartphone with an active GPRS connection. The application can easily be downloaded by the following means:
    (a) Through SMS: SMS “Eyewatch IA” to 53030 from your mobile phone. You will receive a download link: Click on this link and select the application build which works on your phone. This link can also be obtained from the website by entering your mobile number in the “Download Eyewatch” section.
    (b) Through Internet On the internet, go to, click on the download eyewatch’ section on top right corner, select your mobile phone operating system and download the application on your computer/laptop and then use your USB cable to transfer the application to your phone. This is an exclusive link created for the Indian Army Veterans, Families and Ex-servicemen. Once downloaded, each user is requested to create an Eyewatch account either from within the application or from the website You can choose a username and password of your choice and fill in your relevant details to create an account.
    4. For more information, please visit EyeWatch
    5. Veterans are encouraged to use this service.
  • Demise of the National Carrier: Parting kick by Praful Patel

    Praful Patel's family flew business class after Air India called in big planes
    NDTV Sandeep Phukan, Sidharth Pandey, Updated: February 21, 2012 00:47 IST

    New Delhi: Air India has been forced to reveal that Praful Patel's family was able to fly business class after last-minute changes were made to pull in a bigger plane for their journey last year, ensuring they were able to fly business class.
    Mr Patel was then Civil Aviation Minister.
    The details of his family's travel have been released because of a Right to Information application filed by activist Subhash Agarwal.
    On April 25, Mr Patel's daughter, Avni, her husband, and relatives of her in-laws were to fly from Bangalore to the Maldives. The plane usually reserved for that flight - an Airbus 319 - has eight business class seats. Seven of them had been booked for other passengers. On April 8, instructions were emailed from the airline's Mumbai headquarters to the Bangalore station manager asking for an Airbus 320 to be used on April 25 and April 28 - the days on which Mr Patel's family members would be flying into and out of the Maldives. As a result, more than 50 seats were vacant on both routes (the A320 has many more economy class seats than the A 319).
    Air India had refused to part with the information citing commercial secrets, but last month, the Central Information Commissioner ordered the carrier to make the information public in larger interest.
    NDTV Report

    Praful Patel has graduated and grounded to Heavy Industries for more kickbacks
    Comments by vish 11 hours ago
    In other parts of the world, small accusations of someone politicians going for a lavish dinner or for some sort of perfectly legal loans from government banks - make the concerned politicians be inquired and finally most of the time they are required to resign. In London one minister resigned since he was accused of dodging to pay a speeding fine some 8-10 years back. Compare this to India - these shameless guys do everything wrong possible in this world and do not even blink eyes are accused. This Praful Patel has amassed huge wealth and now owns huge tracts of properties in Maharashtra and Mumbai - can he show how he amassed this wealth in all these years (except for sure sucking of Air India). Its easy for Income Tax and Enforcement authorities to get the details in just few days but obviously with Congress in power this would never happen...
    click here for more comments

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Ministry of Defence treats disabled war heros in disgust

    Disability pension: Govt drags ex-Vice Chief of Army to SC
    The Tribune by R Sedhuraman
    Legal Correspondent
    New Delhi, February 19

    The government has dragged Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, who retired as Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, to the Supreme Court over a dispute involving a difference of just five per cent in the disability pension.

    Gen Oberoi lost his right leg below the knee during the 1965 India-Pakistan war when he was Captain.

    Subsequently, his disability was assessed at 70 per cent. He was retained in service and he rose to the rank of Lieutenant General before his retirement in 2001.

    The war hero claimed 75 per cent disability pension under a February 3, 2000 government circular on rounding off of benefit. Under the circular, personnel assessed at 20-50 per cent disability would be entitled to 50 per cent disability pension.

    Similarly, the extent of disability from 50 to 75 per cent would be rounded off to 75 per cent and 75 to 100 per cent disability would be treated as 100 per cent disability.

    Subsequently, the Defence Ministry issued a letter on January 31, 2001 disqualifying those retiring on superannuation from getting the rounding off benefit. Another letter on January 19, 2010, clarified that rounding off would be done only for those who were prematurely released from service.

    Gen Oberoi challenged the two letters before a regional Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Chandigarh, at Chandimandir, which allowed his claim for 75 per cent disability pension on August 4, 2010, directing the government to make the payment within six months. Any delay in the payment would entail an interest of 8 per cent.

    The government has, however, moved the SC after a delay of 429 days, challenging the AFT’s judgment. Opposing the petition on behalf of Gen Oberoi, counsel Aishwarya Bhati contended that the matter had very serious ramifications as about 2,000 such cases were pending for adjudication.

    After a brief hearing on February 17, a Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad tagged the petition with other similar cases and sought the response of Gen Oberoi.

    In the appeal, the government contended that the AFT’s ruling was in violation of several SC verdicts, holding that there was a clear distinction between those invalidated out of service and those discharged from service on completion of tenure for the purpose of pension benefits. Further, the AFT had no power to strike down government orders.

    This case has come to the SC close on the heels of the apex court resolving another high-profile dispute involving the age of Army Chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh. The SC had rejected Gen Singh’s plea that his date of birth should be taken as May 10, 1951 on his service records and not as May 10, 1950 as directed by the government.
    Disability pension: Govt drags ex-Vice Chief of Army to SC

    Military Promotions: Bureaucrats want a say in the command structure

    Once bitten, Defence Ministry cautious on promotion policy
    K. V. Prasad of The HINDU
    Refers to Law Ministry issue of discretionary evaluation marks to Army officers

    Once bitten — following the controversy over the age of Army Chief V.K. Singh — the Defence Ministry is cautious on the issue of promotion to Army officers. It has sought the opinion of the Law Ministry on the Army awarding discretionary evaluation marks under a promotion policy to officers being considered for senior ranks.

    Defence Ministry sources said the decision was taken after the Army sent a list of officers for promotion from Brigadiers to Majors General and Majors General to Lieutenants General based on the promotion boards held during October last with grading that includes discretionary marks.

    Army sources said they were awaiting a decision which had been pending for over four months amid the possibility that some recommended officers would be entering the zone of retirement. As per rules, a Brigadier would have to retire on attaining the age of 56 and a Major General on reaching 58.

    As per the evaluation marks policy, the collegium consisting of the Army Chief, the Vice-Chief and Army commanders has the discretion of awarding up to 5 marks to a candidate being considered for promotion while the rest 95 are quantified on the basis of work and achievements and other parameters during the service period.

    Army sources said that while the evaluation marks had been in place for the last few years, including in the other two Services, the Defence Ministry had sought to question it. However, Ministry sources said that in the light of how the controversy over the date of birth of the Army Chief played out, the government is keen to ensure that everything is in black and white and there are no grey areas leading to litigation
    Once bitten, Defence Ministry cautious on promotion policy

    A military succession plot fine tuned by bureaucracy

    How Can Great Oaks Sway With The Wind?
    When he was a lieutenant general, V.K. Singh gave it in writing that he had faith in his army chief. This cannot be construed as ‘acceptance’ of a wrog DoB. Mrinalini Singh

    An error had been made regarding the date of birth of my father at the time of filling up the UPSC form when he had applied for admission to the National Defence Academy (NDA). This was detected instantly and certain steps were taken to correct the year of birth even before he joined the academy. In fact, he reported 13 days late to the NDA as the date was being sor­ted out. This was obviously taken due note of, for all NDA records then showed his year of birth as 1951. Three years later, when he moved from the NDA to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), he was told to write the date of birth as in the UPSC form. He pointed out that this had been corrected and was told that this would be verified by a board of officers. The pre-commission advisory board checked and verified his particulars; his IMA ident­ity card and his record of service duly sta­ted that he was born in 1951. For the next few decades, ever since his commissioning into the army, his year of birth in all records, whether in the military secretariat or the adjutant general’s branch, was 1951. The only exception was the Army List, which is published keeping the original UPSC form as reference point. Even in this case, as the date of birth had to be verified against the school-leaving certificate, the entry was erroneous.

    On May 3, 2006, 19 days after the results of the selection board for lieutenant generals had been declassified, the military secretary at the time, Lt Gen Richard Khare, first wrote to Gen V.K. Singh claiming there was a discrepancy in the records of the two branches. This set off a chain of events that eventually led to the army chief first filing a statutory complaint and then referring the matter to the Supreme Court.

    On February 3, 2012, the SC, in its wisdom, castigated the government, stating that the due process of natural justice had not been followed and the process had been “vitiated” in addressing the army chief’s statutory complaint. The attorney general at that time asked for an adjournment, which was granted. During the second hearing, a week later, the attorney general started proceedings by submitting an affidavit by way of which it withdrew its order dated December 30, 2011, that rejected the statutory complaint. In view of the government's move, and the praise about the general’s professional and personal conduct, our lawyer felt there was no point in pressing the matter further, especia­lly since the court had made it clear that in light of the government’s stance, there was nothing further to be discussed from a legal point of view. As a citizen of India, the army chief has already expressed his grateful thanks to the learned judges of the apex court for addressing the issue.
    My Ambition
    I don’t want to be,
    A wealthy man,
    Nor I want to be,
    A working man.
    I want to be,
    A great soldier,
    Fighting on the front,
    with a gun on my shoulder,
    I want to die for,
    My great, beloved nation,
    And for my enemy,
    I shall have no compassion,
    I want to let the
    Chinese know
    That Indians can die,
    For their Motherland.
    (A poem written by Gen V.K. Singh as a Std VIII student, culled from his school magazine)
    The order passed by the court is not ambiguous in its content. I am bitterly disappointed at the deliberate spin given in the media to the proceedings in the court, which in my view and understanding are quite contrary to what the honourable judges have said in their order. Firstly, the order does not uphold an error in the threshold document, nor does it say anything about the legality of either of the two dates of birth. There’s also nothing to suggest that the so-called ‘acceptance letters’ exist. While it is true that these points came up during the hearing—as did many other statements, which include the much talked about “wise men move with the wind” remark of the judges—but these were arguments that in my understanding cannot be confused with the order passed by the learned judges.

    If the government had not withdrawn its order of December 30 concerning my father’s statutory appeal, the arguments in the court would have had a different flavour and intensity and all the facts given above would have come into play, requiring adjudication. But this did not happen, and my father’s critics have gone to town, repeatedly harping that there are three occasions when he had “moved with the wind” and given acceptance letters to the year of birth being 1950. This is blatantly untrue, and I would like to set the record straight.

    Contrary to what is being projected, there has never been any such ‘acceptance letter’. In 2006, he was perhaps the only serving lieutenant general in the history of the nation to be asked to furnish a fresh date of birth prior to being cleared for appointment as a corps commander. This despite the fact that just a few weeks prior to that, the military secretariat branch records had cleared him for promotion based on a 1951 year of birth. The then army chief, Gen J.J. Singh, my father’s chief at the time, had categorically told him that there was merely a clerical discrepancy in the records. This would be sorted out, and for that he needed to accept that he had faith in the army chief’s decisions. This would be in the interest of the organisation, as it was otherwise holding up the appointments of all corps commanders. Once the army chief had this letter, it was projected to the defence ministry that there was an ‘acceptance letter’ procured from my father, acknowledging the year of birth as 1950. The fact that my father, then a lieutenant general, continued to ask the military secretariat branch even after that how and why the army chief had been advised to make him declare a new year of birth underlines the fact that in 2006 there was no such ‘acceptance’.

    The question that needs to be asked of the then army chief, the military secretary (Lt Gen Khare) and the judge advocate general (Maj Gen Nilender Kumar), who together initiated what was clearly not the standard operating procedure in 2006, is: Why did they make an exception in this case only? These gentlemen have found immunity in red tape, aided perhaps by some deft management of the media, which has sidestepped this question, while my father is accused of “bending with the wind”. In my view, this is where the injustice lies.

    As for the second and third ‘acceptance’ letters, it is loos­ely being said they had been written in 2008 and 2009. This immediately begs the question that if there was a ‘first acceptance’ letter, then, what was the need for a second and a third one to be asked for? The situation here is slightly more complex. The army chief at this point of time was Gen Deepak Kapoor and the military secretary Lt Gen Avdhesh Prakash. It is a well known fact that these two gentlemen, both professionally and otherwise, differed sharply from my father (then a lieutenant general) and if the former had his way, my father would not have headed the Eastern Command. Professionally, there was nothing that could be used by the army chief to damage my father, so the ‘age issue’ was once again raked up to provoke him into disobeying a direct order to accept an incorrect year of birth. The army chief is the most powerful man in the army and a series of letters were written which have to be seen in their entirety to get the complete picture. Opinions should not be based on an isolated sentence which cites “the larger organisational interest”. Had this logic been true—that Lt Gen V.K. Singh ‘accepted’ the year of birth as 1950 so as to head the Eastern Command and later become army chief—he would have shut the cupola and not stirred the issue at all during his tenure as eastern army commander before taking over as the chief. However, he continued to write to the military secretary (Lt Gen Prakash), going systematically along accepted lines of redressing the clerical error within the army.

    Honour and izzat are words that are emblazoned on a soldier’s heart. Apart from being the daughter of Gen V.K. Singh, I too am an army wife and have seen from close quarters the man I call my father stand up for what he considers is the right thing to do.

    In this rather one-sided slanging match, it is also being implied by his critics that the army chief would be better off fighting for one-rank-one-pay, war memorials, weapon systems and all the other problems that haunt the system. I am not going to get drawn into what all he has done as the army chief; that’s best left to others and that is a part of his job anyway. For me, his worldview is best encapsulated in a quote from Ernest Hemingway that he uses often: “Few men for the right cause brave the disrespect of their fellow men, the censure of their colleagues and ignorance of society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields out painfully to change.”
    (Mrinalini Singh is the daughter of Gen V.K. Singh) —as told to Chander Suta Dogra
    How Can Great Oaks Sway With The Wind?

    Comment: The MOD, Bureaucracy and self- centered former generals have succeeded in the "Succession Plot" covertly and cunningly engineered with great skills. The media and citizens continue to remain confused regarding promotions in the Military which is not based on date of birth. The whole episode is a sordid blot on the Nation already engulfed in scams. All it proves is that the corrupt have mastery over their destiny.

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Bhopal: Welfare of Ex Servicemen

    Honour to ex-servicemen in society to inspire youths
    February 7, 2012 | Gupta chairs 17th meeting of Rajya Sainik board

    Bhopal, February 7, 2012 (Ataullah Faizan): Home Minister Mr Umashankar Gupta chaired the 17th meeting of Rajya Sainik Board here today. The meeting discussed provision of 10 percent and 20 percent reservation to ex-servicemen in class-III and class-IV posts respectively and applying carry-forward system in it, extension of reservation benefit to ex-servicemen vis-à-vis reserved post in police recruitment and making available vehicles on hire for Beti Bachao Abhiyan and officers of District Ex-Servicemen Welfare Board. Mr Umashankar Gupta said that implementation of provisions for reservation to ex-servicemen in general and police recruitments will be ensured. He said that a meeting of the senior officers of General Administration and Police Departments will be convened in connection with rules.

    Home Minister Mr Chouhan said that people join defence service for the security of countrymen under a missionary zeal. The entire country holds them in esteem. He said that an honourable place to ex-servicemen and their families will go a long way in inspiring youths to join these services.

    The meeting also discussed making available on hire to 21 District Ex-servicemen Welfare Offices. The Gupta said than every possible assistance will be made available at the administrative level for running welfare programmes of ex-servicemen.

    The meeting also discussed the phenomenon of less average of youths joining the army from Madhya Pradesh that other states. It also discussed a proposal to urge army, military and other educational institutions in the state to encourage students to join defence forces and imparting training to them accordingly.

    Mr Gupta instructed that the initiative of such training of youth should be taken by Ex-servicemen Welfare Department in coordination and consultation with the Education Department.

    Those who attended the meeting included Commander Bhopal Sub-Area Suresh Gupta, Secretary Home Mrs Seema Sharma, Director Ex-servicemen Welfare Brigadier George Mathai, Joint Director Ex-Servicemen Welfare Col. V.K. Chaubey and officers of General Administration, Police, Home departments etc.
    Honour to ex-servicemen in society to inspire youths

    Stranglehold in the MoD in the guise of supremacy

    No winner, losers all
    Asian Age Feb 15 2012

    Gen VK Singh became a victim of circumstances, some of his own making and some of others’. He failed to get the mistake rectified in time.
    Hopefully, the Supreme Court verdict on the Army Chief’s date of birth ends an avoidable and unfortunate controversy that raged for nearly a year. The apex court has provided sugar-coated bitter pills for all stakeholders to swallow, with or without water. Depending on how one views it, the verdict is a “win-win” or “lose-lose” situation for all.
    Gen. V.K. Singh is a man of integrity and honour. No one has questioned this, although he felt his honour and dignity were at stake. There is irrefutable evidence to support his claim about his age. Yet he became a victim of circumstances, some of his own making and some of others’. He failed to get the mistake in this regard rectified in time.

    The staff at Army Headquarters should be faulted for maintaining different dates of his birth kept in two branches. Surprisingly, the Army worked on a succession plan for Army Chief, which is none of its business. No annual reports are written on Army commanders nor is an outgoing Chief required to recommend the name of his successor. This has been so since the Curzon-Kitchener dispute of 1905. The age controversy should have been resolved by the defence minister, A.K. Antony, discussing it with Gen. Singh. He should have done what the Supreme Court later did. The bureaucrats in the ministry of defence displayed arrogance of power, violating norms. A junior-level bureaucrat ordered the AG (adjutant-general), a staff officer of the Chief, to change the latter’s date of birth! This happened twice, and even when the case was sub judice. No wonder the apex court directed the ministry to withdraw its letter. The government at the apex level remained a mute spectator.
    We have had a galaxy of distinguished Army Chiefs. Posterity remembers them for their contributions. Cariappa, for piloting the Army’s transformation from a colonial to a national Army during a period of great turmoil, and of vivisection of the Army due to Partition with young Indian officers lacking experience getting suddenly promoted to high ranks on the departure of senior British officers. Rajendra Sinhji, for his exemplary moral character in declining the appointment of Chief superseding Cariappa, as he felt that may lead to politicising the Army. Chaudhri and Manekshaw, for their contributions in the 1965 and 1971 wars. Raina, for keeping the Army apolitical during the Emergency. Unfortunately, despite all his good work, Gen. V.K. Singh will be remembered primarily for his DoB controversy.
    Gen. Singh filled his application for joining the NDA in which inadvertently his year of birth was shown as 1950. He was commissioned in 1971. For reasons beyond his control, he got his matriculation certificate only a few years later, and then, presumably on that basis, got his date of birth corrected by the Organisation Directorate of AG branch. It appears that Organisation Directorate did not inform the MS (military secretary) branch. Changing the DoB on the basis of authentic documents for a captain is an issue of little consequence, except for the individual concerned. The AG branch erred in not informing the MS branch. Although year after year the Army List had been showing 1950 as his year of birth, it was only some 30 years later that Gen. Singh approached the MS branch to change the year. The latter turned down his request because, as per Defence Service Regulations, no change in DoB can be made after three years of service. Promotions are made in the Army on the basis of seniority and merit, and not age. With every promotion, the retirement age gets extended by two years. Gen. Singh being asked to give a written undertaking in 2006 and 2008 accepting 1950 as his year of birth, before promotion to major general and lieutenant general, was obviously mala fide. It is strange that he agreed to do so. On taking over as Chief, he took it up with the government. Instead of resolving the issue by talks with the defence minister and later accepting his correct date of birth but restricting his tenure as Chief till May 2012, the government gave him a cause to put up a statutory complaint and later seek justice in the Supreme Court. The apex court did what the defence minister should have done. The unprecedented showdown between a serving Chief and the government would have been avoided.
    In the wake of this controversy, much dirty linen has been washed in public, tarnishing the Army’s image. There have also been other undesirable developments, like 20 Rajput MPs pleading with the Prime Minister for a Rajput Chief; a Grenadiers ex-servicemen’s association filed a PIL for a Rajput Regiment officer. This was rightly rejected by the Supreme Court. Personal and unbecoming allegations started floating around against the front-runner to succeed Gen. Singh. Maj. Gen. Handa filed a case before the Armed Forces Tribunal at Chandigarh against Gen. Singh for giving him an adverse report because, as deputy military secretary, he had not agreed to change his date of birth when he had applied for it in 2006. Handa maintains that this led to his being denied promotion to lieutenant general.
    There have been two opinions about a serving Chief taking a public stand against the government. Lt. Gen. Bhagat, a Victoria Cross holder and a brilliant officer, was done down by giving an extension to the then Chief, Gen. Bewoor, leading to his retiring before the latter. It was not a case of supersession but of blatant manipulation. I happened to be perhaps the only senior Army commander superseded in over a century. This was on account of my views on dealing with Bhindranwale, accepting which could have avoided Operation Blue Star, and my father’s close personal and non-political relations with Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan. Neither Bhagat nor I questioned the government’s decision or went to court. The other view is that the Chief, like any citizen, has the right to seek justice in court. This does not take into account the very high status he enjoys and its inevitable impact on the Army. A sharp division among both serving and retired Army officers surfaced during this controversy. Much of this has been due to the pent-up feelings of Army officers against the civilian bureaucracy, which has established a stranglehold in the MoD in the guise of supremacy of the civil over the military. Since 1947 they have persistently denied the military personnel their legitimate due, repeatedly lowering the protocol status of military officers vis-a-vis civil servants and increasingly marginalising them in the process of decision-making. In view of dangerous signs in the wake of this controversy, it is high time that the government took corrective measures. There is little chance of the Naresh Chandra Committee, headed by a former defence secretary, doing so. While retired Navy and Air Force Chiefs have been made members of the committee, a retired Army Chief seems to have been deliberately kept out.
    The author, a retired lieutenant-general, was Vice-Chief of Army Staff and has served as governor of Assam and J&K
    No winner, losers all: The Asian Age
    Comment: The Indian Army has been become spineless with a fear it is only likely to win losing battles. Thanks to the supremacy of the bureaucracy!


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