Sunday, 9 June 2013

The First DO Letter to Hon'ble Raksha Mantri

Air Chief Marshal Browne’s First Letter
(From an anonymous source)

Dear Hon’ble Raksha Mantri,

1.         At the very outset I would like to tank the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri for the unstinted support to the cause of Defence Services and commitment to the welfare of Ex-Servicemen. Various improvements in the pay, allowances and pensions would not have been possible without your pro-active support.

2.         In keeping with the same spirit, I wish to draw the attention of Hon’ble Raksha Mantri t some very vital issues arising out of the issuance of Govt letter consequent to Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment of 04 Sep 12 ratifying Hon’ble Kerala High Court in the case of Rank Pay for officers (popularly known as ‘Major Dhanapalan case’). Copies of the aforestated judgments and MoD letter dated 27 Dec 12 are placed at Annexure 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

Govt Order issued by MoD and its implications

 3.        The salient aspects of the Govt orders issued by the MoD vide letter No. 34(6)/2012-D(Pay/Services) dated 27 Dec 12 (Annexure 3) are highlighted hereunder alongwith resultant anomalies: -

(a)       The order envisages re-fixation of Pay for all Army, Navy and Air Force officers who were in receipt of Rank Pay as on 01.01.86.

(i)         Anomaly.      This stipulation of the Govt is contrary to the recorded judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court/Hon’ble Kerala High Court which clearly state that it should be applicable with effect from 1.1.86 to all similarly situated officers and not only officers in service as on 01 Jan 86. It may also be relevant to highlight that such serious departure from documented verdict of the Apex Court was never discussed during various meetings amongst representatives of MoD, CGDA and Services HQ. It appears that this change has been incorporated at a later stage which has significantly altered the complexion of Hon’ble Supreme Court verdict to the detriment of the affected officers.

(ii)        Further, this provision of the Govt letter also effectively means that officers promoted to the rank of Capt and equivalent after 01 Jan86 will not be covered by this order. This will lead to officers with same years of service and rank drawing different pay (lesser for those officers who joined/promoted as Capt/equivalent after 01 Jan 86) in the currency of the same pay commission and therefore violates the basic principle that personnel holding similar rank with equal years of service are remunerated equally in terms of pay and pension. It is illustrated through the following example: -

Pay in III CPC
Minimum Pay in IV CPC (Prior to Court verdict
Pay to be Revised for officers as on 01.01.86 (as per MoD letter)
Anomaly in Pay for other officers who join/promoted to the rank of Capt/equivalent after 01 Jan 86
2800+200 Rank Pay
3000 + 200 Rank Pay
2800 + 200 Rank Pay
STS (Civ)

(b)       The Govt order stipulates that there will not be a change in any other provision except relating to deduction of rank pay for only those officers who held the ranks (i.e. between Capt to Brig/equivalents) as on 01 Jan 86.

(i)         Anomaly. Since the integrated pay scale of 4th CPC has not been rationalised, re-fixation of pay as per the Govt order will lead not only to stagnation of majority of Col & Brig/equivalents at top of the scale of Rs 5100 in initial years itself but would also result in reduction in entitled pay to Brig/equivalents, consequent to re-fixation. This order is un-implementable to that extent.   

(c)        The Govt order stipulates that there would be no change for implementation in the 5th and 6th CPC respectively, except to the extent of need for re-fixation necessitated due to re-fixation of pay as on 01.01.86.

(i)         Anomaly.      During the implementation of 5th CPC, the pay scales of officers of the ranks of Capt to Brig/equivalents were downwardly adjusted by an amount equal to Rank Pay (revised) thereby causing a consequential effect on getting lesser replacement pay for defence officers in 5th CPC. This further leads to obtaining lower replacement scales and Grade Pay in the 6th CPC. Even the pay fixation formula of the 5h CPC, which was similar to the 4th CPC, has not been amended by deleting the provisions of deduction of Rank Pay on 01 Jan 96. The Govt letter does not address these aspects and this violates the spirit of the Apex Court’s judgment.  


4.         In keeping with the true ethos of a disciplined force, the three Services HQ have already directed their concerned functionaries to implement the Govt orders as issued by MoD. However it is felt that these orders in their present form suffer from serious infirmities as brought out above and would lead to unprecedented disparity. I therefore recommend that the following basic issues be addressed on priority in order to comply with Hon’ble Supreme Court verdict: -

(a)       Re-fixation of pay be done with effect from 01.01.86 in respect of all defence officers who were in service as on 01.01.86 as well as for those who joined/promoted thereafter as per documented verdict of Hon’ble Supreme Court.

(b)       The minimum of pay for each rank in the integrated Pay Scales of 4th CPC which were then arrived at by deducting the Rank Pay needs to be re-fixed after adjusting for the Rank Pay to ensure single pay scale for the same rank and length of service. This would also restore the modified parity for pre-1986 retirees.
(c)        The upper limit of Rs 5100 in the integrated pay scale of the 4th CPC which was arrived at after making allowance for the Rank Pay, will have to be suitably amended to ensure effective implementation of the Govt orders.

(d)       Corresponding amendments to the relevant Special pay instructions for the 5th and 6th CPC are also required so as to effect the verdicts of the Hon’ble Supreme Court/Kerala High Court in letter and spirit.

5.         The above analysis is in full consonance with the report of a high powered committee set up by MoD in Apr 2010 chaired by then Def Secy having Secy (Department of Expenditure) and Secy (Def/Fin) as members (placed at Annexure 4). Later this report was also submitted as an additional affidavit in the Hon’ble Supreme Court by MoD. No complying with sworn affidavit in the Hon’ble Supreme Court may lead to further litigation.

6.         The implementation order issued by MoD falls much short of expectations and I fear it will fuel further litigation and may enhance the feeling of alienation if the just benefits of Armed Forces are not given soon. I would therefore, implore and request the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri to have a re-look at the issue in entirety and issue necessary directions for carrying out suitable amendments in the Govt letter in line with affidavit submitted by GoI to ensure correct and effective implementation of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

                                                                                                With Warm Regards
                                                                                                Yours sincerely

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