Veterans drag MoD to Supreme Court over rank pay
Annoyed by delays in the implementation of the 2012 Supreme Court order in the rank pay case, the Retired Defence Officers Association (RDOA) has dragged top babus of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the apex court.
The association filed a contempt petition in the court last week over non-payment of dues such as pay and pension, and hearing in the case is awaited.
Those named in the contempt petition include Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, Financial Advisor (Defence) Priti Mohanty, former Controller General of Defence Accounts Arunava Dutt and R.S. Gujral, secretary in the finance ministry's Department of Expenditure.
The court case is an embarrassment for present Defence Secretary A.K. Antony (left) and CAG Shashi Kant Sharma (right)
A copy of the 49-page petition has been accessed by this correspondent. The primary grouse, as mentioned by the RDOA, pertains to the "willful and deliberate disobedience and violation of the order dated 4.9.12 passed by this Hon'ble Court". It further seeks "exemplary punishment to contemners for deliberate and intentional non-compliance".
The rank pay case was initiated by Major A.K. Dhanapalan when he approached the Kerala High Court in 1998 praying that as per the Government of India resolution, 'rank pay' was admissible to army officers in addition to their integrated scales.
Since this was taking place since January 1, 1986, i.e date of implementation of the fourth pay commission, the court allowed him re-fixation of his pay from that day.
Subsequently, the MoD lost all appeals filed before the high court and the SC. Group Captain Karan Singh Bhati, advocate for the petitioners, said: "The court had given them more time than what they sought to rectify this injustice. That lapsed on May 31, 2013, and the MoD did not even bother replying to our legal notice on contempt. Thus we had no option."
He added: "What is most unfortunate is that the people supposed to ensure that the armed forces are administered well are the ones failing and thus facing contempt."
Using the RTI Act, the RDOA had also sought details from the MoD. In response, the ministry stated that as on June 14, 2013, only 31,718 officers from a pool of 45,485 were paid in part, leaving out 13,767 despite the date for paying all was May 31, 2013.
"We've been forced. From meeting the defence minister to writing letters but the MoD was simply stonewalling us," said RDOA president Lt. Col. B.K. Sharma.
On July 26, Kargil Diwas, Defence Minister A.K. Antony had stated: "We are aware of the sensitivity of our men. This issue of rank pay has been referred to the attorney general for his advice."
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2387279/Veterans-drag-MoD-Supreme-Court-rank-pay.html#ixzz2bRQj69Yo
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook