Rift between Armed Forces-Defence ministry over selective implementation of SC verdict on Rank pay case widens Over the last six months, the rift between the uniformed services and the civilian leadership of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has widened, right at the top over the maltreatment of the veterans and widows. Leading the charge is Air Chief Marshal (ACM) NAK Browne, who as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) has sought the Defence Minister AK Antony's attention for resolving the issue, but to no avail. The genesis of the spat lies in the MoD's 'selective' implementation of the Supreme Court order of September 2012 in the Rank Pay case, which the ex-servicemen community won after battles in the Kerala High Court as well as in the apex court from 1996 to 2012. After the anomalies emanating from a 'faulty' order were pointed out, the ministry has been unable to rectify its stand. Letters accessed by this correspondent, written by ACM Browne to Antony written on January 18 and May 27, 2013 show the utter disappointment of the uniformed services at the MoD's conduct. Both these letters were written with the intention to get Antony to make the bureaucrats fall in line. However, there has not been much progress. In his latest letter, ACM Browne writes to Antony, "The present approach the infirmities has caused a inordinate delay which has given rise to apprehensions in the environment that the delay may be intentional... the beneficiaries to this verdict include many of such officers who retired decades ago and do not have a long time left to wait for their dues. It will be a grave injustice to these veterans if they pass on without getting their rightful arrears." ACM Browne went on to state, "It is with a deep sense of regret that I convey to the honourable Raksha Mantri about a growing feeling that cases involving Armed Forces personnel are unnecessarily being dragged to higher courts whereas the same could so easily be resolved in the ministry itself." In fact in his previous letter to Antony on January 18, ACM Browne had specifically pointed out three major anomalies arising out of MoD's implementation order. Towards solving that, Browne had made four recommendations. In that too, ACM Browne had stated, "The implementation order suffers from unprecedented disparity. It falls much short of expectations and I fear it will fuel further litigation and may enhance the feeling of alienation among veterans." Lt. Col (Retd) BK Sharma of the Retired Defence Officers Association (RDOA), which fought the case in the Supreme Court said, "It is very strange. We met the Defence Minister twice, the last time we requested him to ensure implementation of court orders. While he was positive, his ministry does everything to negate that. If this is how they treat veterans, which youngster will want to join the armed forces?" His colleague, Lt. Col (Retd) Satwant Singh added, "I squarely hold the babus of the MoD responsible. What they are doing to our morale is indirectly aiding the enemy!" The RDOA, it was learnt is planning on filing a contempt petition in the SC against the MoD as soon as the vacation ends. Despite repeated requests made to the Directorate of Public Relations (DPR), MoD's public relations wing, there was no response. Even written requests made at the office of the Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW) for a response did not elicit a response. What is the case all about? The Rank Pay case is also known as the Major Dhanapalan case. The Supreme Court had envisaged re-fixation of pay for all officers of the Army, Navy & Air Force who were eligible for Rank Pay with effect from 1.1.86, the date of implementation of the Fourth Pay Commission. However, the MoD implementation letter of December 2012 changed it to 'as on 1.1.86'. The SC order had also sought the re-designing of the minimum basic pay in the integrated pay scale of IV pay commission to avoid different basic pay to similarly placed officers. Also, the subsequent amendments in the pay and pension orders issued towards fifth and sixth pay commissions. Where is it stuck at present? Meetings were held in the MoD on January 30 and March 6, 2013 following ACM Browne's letter which were attended by officials from MoD Finance, Expenditure and other departments. It was later learnt that the services were asked to make a statement of case which would b circulated among all and forwarded to Solicitor General for his comments. But, for all this, the MoD had time till May 31 2013 as per SC orders. According to RDOA, only a handful of officers have been given their due that too partly, within this deadline even as a majority remain waiting. Mystery over 'change' ACM Browne's letter stated, "Despite the efforts of AS(A) to arrive at a consensus, representatives of CGDA continued to maintain that their version of the interpretation of the court orders needed no review... there has been no explanation as to how and why 'with effect from 1.1.86' was changed to 'as on 1.1.86' despite specifically documented by the apex court in its judgement. It has not bee established as to who had authorised this change since this arbitrary change has now become the root problem." Rift between Armed Forces-Defence ministry over selective implementation of SC verdict on Rank pay case widens : North, News - India Today ************************************************************ It shows how much the Govt cares about the armed forces. They turn a blind eye when they are killed and beheaded by the Pakistanis and to add insult to injury the Govt does not give them their due!