Friday, November 22, 2013

IV CPC Rank Pay Case: Some more news!

Law ministry asks defence ministry to get its act right and not to keep bothering AG Vahanvati over Rank Pay issue

Defence Minister AK Antony
Defence Minister AK Antony.
The constant to and fro of the files pertaining to the Rank Pay case involving veterans has certainly irked the community. However it now seems that the country's top law officer is being made to face the red-tapism, something he is not taking very lightly to.

It has been reliably learnt that while dealing with the Statements of Case (SOC) on this issue from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), in a meeting with the Law Ministry, it as conveyed to the Legal Adviser (Defence) that the ministry should not keep bothering the AG with queries of same/similar nature. Not just that, with this blow, the MoD had no option but to retreat on this and take the SOCs back. Reliable sources say the MoD has to now re-work its SOCs.

Not only will it further delay the case but also add another layer of bureaucratic procedure before the AG's office can be approached. This, it is learnt, was conveyed to LA (Defence) in a meeting on October 28, 2013 which he conveyed to Joint Secretary (Establishment) MoD on October 31. With that move, the SOCs of service headquarters as well as MoD were returned by the AG's office and Law Ministry towards 'framing questions of law pertaining to the case.'

There have been multiple SOCs which have been sent to the AG already on which he had given his opinion in the month of September 2013. However since AG had replied on an old SOC sent to him by MoD, service headquarters objected to it. Subsequently when services sent it to him, SOCs were returned as proper protocol had not been followed. The lack of coordination can be gauged by the fact that while the SOC was returned by AG, MoD was about to begin implementing AG's version to which services objected to Antony. It was only after all this that Antony wanted SOCs to go together, a move which has now been stalled.

In June this year, the Defence Minister AK Antony had made it clear that the final word on the implementation of the SC order of September 2012 will rest with the AG who had to interpret the apex court's order correctly. There was a wide disparity between how the armed forces had construed the SC judgment and how the MoD's civilian bureaucracy was implementing the same. It was for this reason that Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee wrote twice in this year itself to Antony, informing him of the widespread discontent among the services on account of MoD's handling of the case.

Said a source, "True that we've been asked to rework our case. These are issues of language and wordings which we will overcome." When asked, a source at the AG's office too confirmed that 'all representations had been returned to MoD.' A set of questions sent to the MoD went unanswered despite repeated requests.


Rajagopalan C said...

The contents of last para is interesting.It would be worth asking a copy of the clarification sought by AG/Law ministry from MOD which has not been replied and at whose instance the replies are blocked.RDOA may invoke RTI routes.

S Chander said...

Snub received by LA (Defence) from the Law Ministry in fact reflects on poor judgement and functioning of the RM. It is apparent from his actions, that RM has either not understood the representation of Chairman COSC or he has deliberately chosen a path to involve AG and shirk from his responsibility to exercise his authority. With such a low level of decision making capability of the RM, one cannot expect an early resolution on the interpretation of the SC judgement. RDOA is any way not involved in this exercise and I am sure they will be able to ensure desired results in favor of the veterans, during the ongoing contempt proceedings.

Alok Asthana said...

I do not think the RM or MOD is so naive so as to not understand any representations. These guys are no fools. What they are implementing is a well considered strategy.
If you know not your enemy, you'll face a defeat everytime - Sun Tzu

Satish Kumar said...

The RM,though , has a honest reputation ,yet he seems to be a confused & wavering personality as is evident from his flip- flops on the rank pay & other issues concerning the Veterans.It is ,perhaps, he is being misguided by the MOD officials.It is surprising that having lost the Review Petition in the HSC, regarding min guaranteed pension, NO Govt notification has been issued to pay the arrears to pre 2006 pensioners wef 01 Jan 2006 . I wonder whether they have already conceded defeat & leave pending cases to the next ( Opposition Govt ) GOD Bless U the Hon'ble R M. Wish U a merry X' Mas in advance.

Yogi said...

I am aghast at the nativity of those who are making comments. If they are really from Armed Forces then I am sorry to say that their travails are justified. Mr Antony has been Defence Minister for last eight years and all through this period he has consistently acted only and only in self interest. He cares two hoots for national interest or welfare of troops. Hence it is doubly painful to see these commentators manufacture alibies for Antony by shifting blame on to bureaucrats.

Dhoop said...

@Yogi: You are so right.

There have been frequent cautions here and on other blogs about not falling into some sort of anti-bureaucracy stance. But somehow, short fuses continue to be on display.

Frustrations are understandable, but how does one rectify a situation? Certainly not by demonizing other arms of the Govt.

The legal path, so diligently pursued by RDOA is the soundest approach, not rhetoric, bombast or short-sighted political opinions which have no bearing on the matter.

SK Jain said...

If Mr. Antony is serious to resolve the issue, he should take personal interest and speak to his counterpart, the Law Minister, so as to obtain the final opinion of AG on priority and get the same implemented.

Murarilal Agrawal said...

I personally feel that the point of HSC verdict dated 04-09-12 and subecequently contempt of courtbe projected to Narendra Modi ji .
He will certainly bring into his speech for the benifit of the ex Servicemen and against govt to get political benifit for the BJP.
We are certainly get the divedent out of it.

Murarilal Agrawal said...

I personally feel that the point of HSC verdict dated 04-09-12 and subsequently contempt of court be projected to Narendra Modi ji .

He will certainly bring into his speech for the benefit of the ex Servicemen and against govt to get political edge for the BJP.

We are certainly get the devident out of it.

Veterans said...

I agree with Yogi. Antony was totally stoic to the genuine demands of the service and ex service men. Be it rank pay, OROP,grade pay anomaly, NFFU etc. He is the most inefficient defence minister of independent India. He had proved his worthlessness as chief minister of Kerala and was forced to quit. Then, to have a so called Mr.Clean as the Defence Minister as a shield in the murky defence deals, he was given this portfolio.

dolly singh said...

Wish Mr George Fernandis was RM nd not Mr Anotony

RC said...

A good way to highlight the issues effecting the veterans will be to create a situation where some veteran is fielded in the forthcoming general election against Mr Anthony. The election will get the required publicity if someone who has been involved in the fight for veteran welfare is the candidate against Mr Anthony (say Maj A K Dhanapalan or some well known veteran from Karela). The election platform can be used to bring out the utter lack on concern of Mr Anthony and his ministry's casual/negative approach to genuine demands of veterans and service personnel. The Rank Pay case is a glaring example. Getting support from other political parties would be critical.

Dhoop said...

@Murarilal Agrawal, @dolly singh, @RC: Precious little was done by other polticians and political parties to rectify our problems. The rot lies in the system, our own apathy and lack of wisdom.

Fat lot of difference it will make by fielding political candidates. Who cares in this vast country if a microscopic minority like retired armed forces officers get their dues or not?

Obtaining legal redress and making representations without ill-informed "political" hype is the most sensible approach as demonstrated by RDOA.

That is why the comment by @Yogi is significant. We should get sensible about these issues.

kush said...

I had sent a post yesterday for publishing on your blog, but the same has not yet been posted so far. How much time does it take?

nssirohi said...

I am wondering whether the latest Supreme Court Judgement dated 27 Nov 13 relating to NPA to Doctors will have any bearing on the Rank Pay Case. NPA like Rank Pay is a special element. If NPA can be construed as Part of Pay ( as against basic pay) and is taken as scale of pay the addition of Rank Pay shpuld also change the scale of pay. To quote para 9 of the Opinion of the AG from the Judgment:
" NPA de jure and de facto is a part of the scale of pay as it is inevitably linked to the basic pay. Simply because NPA is not formally included in the scale of
pay of the government doctors and taken as a separate element,
it cannot be said that NPA has to be ignored altogether for
stepping up of pension. NPA is a separate element only because
scales of pay of government servants are of general application and not meant for individual services. However, if an element is inevitably a part of the pay, as NPA is, in effect it has to be construed as a scale of pay."
Cdr N S Sirohi (Retd)

Ravi Rao said...

The judgement of 27 Nov leaves no doubt that Rank Pay has to considered as part of scale of pay and scales have to be increased at the maximum.

Bhishm Shaktawat said...

Since SC's Monumental Judgment on RP case has been Totally left for MOD Babudom to Read, understand and Implement. Hence the ongoing tussle between RDOA and MOD.
As All veterans and Serving Ofrs are Fully Aware As How This Babus with H/Clk mentality will read between words and Even Alphabets Till It Suits Their Main Aim " OF NEVER LET DEF SER OFFRS N MEN EVER GET P&A GRANTED TO THEM AS THEN THEY WILL BE EQUAL IN P&A TO BABUS EVEN WITH SO CALLED LOWER RK BUR MORE OR EQUAL SER.
This Is The Only Way fwd as then SC will examine and THEIR Judgment will Be Based on Proper Facts Figures FOR OFFRS FROM EACH YR / DT OF COMM and Not LEAVE ANY SCOPE AND LEE WAY FOR Babus RE-Re-Interpret SC's Wording AS IT SUITS THEM AND ENSURE THE DISCREPANCIES.
Otherwise Be Prep to Fight Another Contempt Case if Interpretation of Policy ( SC's Judgment Is Left ONLY To Babus Of MOD).
Stop Depending On RM as He May Be Honest TO CORE But Is Totally Subjugated to Babus Ways Of Implementing Court's Order.
RDAo Has 5 Wks to Prep This Addl Data/ Details for submission to SC and Obtain Proper Judgment Which Shall Leave NO SCOPE FOR Babus and CGDA, CDA(O)/(P).