Friday, July 31, 2015

Finally, Centre revises pension of pre-2006 armed forces retirees: Hindustan Times, Chandigarh

Finally, after many twists and turns, it has arrived! In a relief to lakhs of pre-2006 retirees of the armed forces and central government, their pension has been revised with effect from January 1, 2006, rather than from September 24, 2012.

The department of pension and pensioners' welfare (DoPPW) issued the universal orders regarding this revision on Thursday. Anomalies in the fixation of the pension of the pre-2006 central government retirees had come to light after the implementation of the recommendations of the sixth Pay Commission. The issue was whether pension was to be calculated based on the minimum of pay for each rank/grade within the newly introduced bands or on the minimum of the pay-band itself. The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) then corrected it and ruled that the pension would be calculated on the basis of the minimum of pay for each rank/grade within a particular band, which gives the retirees a higher pension.

The central government then itself removed the anomaly but granted the benefits from September 24, 2012, instead of January 1, 2006, when the anomaly had started. But the Delhi high court ruled that after the removing of anomalies, the arrears have to flow from January 1, 2006. The government moved the Supreme Court, which in July, 2013, dismissed the special leave petition (SLP).

After that a review petition was filed, which was also dismissed in November, 2013.

The government then filed a curative petition. The five-judge bench comprising the-then chief justice of India RM Lodha and justices HL Dattu (now CJI), BS Chauhan, Surinder Singh Nijjar and Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla dismissed it in April 2014. Still the pension revision was not implemented.

This March 17, while deciding a bunch of petitions on the issue, the apex court gave the central government four months to provide retired soldiers with relief. "The universal orders from the central government will save similarly placed pensioners from the agony of litigation till the highest court of the land," said major Navdeep Singh, a Punjab and Haryana high court lawyer who is also on the five-member committee of experts that the Ministry of Defence has constituted to look into grievances related to the service matters and pensions. The objective is to minimise litigation and legal disputes. 
Read at: Hindustan Times

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