Thursday, 18 September 2014

Avoiding Giving MoF, DoE a handle to beat us with

Avid readers and followers of the ongoing SAG-29 Pensioners Association Vs UoI saga through the OA 655 of 2010 till the Curative Petition and back to the implementation of the orders must have noticed the "teesra" the MoF, DoE has bowled by way of restricting the benefits to the members of the Association.

Avid followers/similarly placed officers of the Rank Pay Case would also have noticed that RDOA and it's advocates ensured that in IA No. 9 of 2010 in TP (C) No. 56 of 2007, every similarly placed officer, whether he approached the Courts, AFT or not, was made a beneficiary of the judgment dated 4th September 2012.

Perceptive readers and followers of both cases would have noticed that the order of the Apex Court in the Rank Pay case i.e. all similarly placed have not been given the advantage (as yet) in the SAG-29 Pensioners case.

It might be worth the while of those similarly placed officers who have not yet decided to become members of the RDOA whether they would like to wage their own legal battles, should the MoD/CGDA/MoF, DoE decide to confine implementation of any future favourable  verdict only to members of the RDOA (which is the "Anr" part of Lt Col N K Nair & Anr Vs UoI) in Contempt Petition (C) No. 328 of 2013.            


  1. Dear Sir,
    The whole issue,if I may submit, is about interpretation of as on and wef along with confining the benefits only to officers who were holding the rank of Flt to Air Cmde as on 01 Jan 86 and also as on 01 Jan 96.
    The larger issue remains that they have not revised BP/GP as the case may be since the BP should include Rank Pay and additionally RP had to be granted in all calculations of fixation. I am sure you would agree with me since you must have been one of the beneficiaries of Rank Pay Part I as of now ?
    The issue of restricting the beneficiaries only to the members of the RDOA does not seem to be relevant after so much of water has flown. It is against the spirit of the affidavit filed by the RDOA Lawyers. Also some of the serving officers have been given arrears already and the second episode is being implemented in the pay slips of Sep 14 for the left over serving officers.
    This post might create panic in the minds of large number of officers who are still serving and also the veterans who are not members of RDOA yet .
    Kindly clarify !

    1. @Young50,

      "Kindly clarify?"

      Please read posts on how UoI argued in the Rank Pay case before the Order dated 4.9.2012 and also observations of MoF, DoE that "litigants appear to be from Army" and therefore benefit of the Order should be confined to them (and by implication not to Navy and Air Force officers).

      RDOA cannot litigate on behalf of serving officers and their case was taken up by Service HQ and the matter rests there after the opinion of the Ld AG dated 3.9.2013.

      RDOA was not party to the Service HQ SoC process and is not confined to agreeing with the MoD letters of 27.12.2012 and 24.7.2014. RDOA filed Contempt Petition on or about 31.7.2013 and has summarised its position in a post on RDOA blog.

      Please remember that RDOA ensured that all similarly placed officers, whether litigants or not, were included in the order of the Apex Court.

      Relevance will become stark if we decide to ignore the truth that Govt has decided to pay only the litigants in SAG-29 Pensioners & Others Vs UoI by asking for a list of the members of the association(s) and their addresses and contact numbers etc. Please read the MA filed in this case, which is on the internet.

      So what happens if the Govt takes the same stand? And their names are not included in the list because they are not members of RDOA?

      Your opinion will then create panic because some beneficiaries might accept your wisdom and have to approach Courts on their own again.

      You will make the water flow again, needlessly!

      That is what RDOA wants to avoid and I am in agreement. Hence this post.

    2. Dear Sir,
      My idea was to confirm the fate of serving officers who were in service as on 01 Jan 86 and 01 Jan 96 and also those who continue to serve apart from the ones joined later than 01 Jan 96. Unfortunately, the Creator has not bestowed same wisdom to everyone like the ones you seem to possess and display. Notwithstanding the suggestion of going through the cases referred by you, it would suffice If you can mention as to whether the serving officers would be benefitted or not if there is a favourable verdict in the Contempt Petition.
      It would be nice if the class teacher gets down to the wisdom level of student with the lowest IQ, to make a point rather than snubbing. The credit goes if the assess are made to compete with the horses rather than polishing the already shining ones! Just thought I must share my feeling after reading your reply so that I get reassured that we are living in a functional democracy. You may kindly recall that Gen Sundarji snubbed the young Capt Dhanapalan when he had raised the issue about Rank Pay to him. What happened thereafter is history! The entire country paid for Gen Sundarji's assessment of LTTE as some street corner hooligans who could be tackled in a weeks' time. The role of seniors in grooming and leading of officers and men both during service and even after retirement needs no elaboration. Jai Hind!

    3. @Sir, thank you for the opportunity to place the chronology for your perusal, repeating what you know and what I think I know. So, now I speak for my own understanding.

      When I start to go into the history of the Rank Pay case, I remember that only Maj Dhanapalan filed the OP No. 2448 of 1996 when he was serving and the benefits of the verdicts were only given to him after the Apex Court dismissed UoI's SLP on 12.7.2005.

      Service HQ neither took it up with MoD to implement it for other officers nor implemented the orders though the COAS was Respondent No.2.

      I again recollect that only retired officers filed cases from 2006 onwards and these were consolidated as TP (C) No. 56 of 2007 along with two Writ Petitions filed in the Apex Court by Sunil Kumar and K.K. Rohatgi (a course-mate).

      The verdict of 4.9.2012 in IA No. 9 of 2010 in TP (C) No. 56 of 2007, where Services HQ was neither petitioner, respondent or intervener, was made applicable to serving as well as retired officers because RDOA prayed to the Apex Court to make its order applicable to all similarly placed officers i.e. those who were eligible for Rank Pay from 1.1.1986 and whose Rank Pay was deducted and those who had not appealed to Courts or the AFTs.

      Since MoD could not (or did not wish to) ask RDOA for a DGL, the onus was on Service HQ to furnish the same. It was modified by MoD/CGDA/MoF and implemented by the letter dated 27.12.2012.

      Service HQ implemented the letter but also brought out perceived anomalies in letters dated 18.1.2013 and 27.5.2013 from Chairman CoSC & CAS to RM. Finally, the SoC dated 2.4.2013 was sent to Ld AG after some comments by CGDA and MoF resulting in his opinion of 3.9.2012. This has been implemented by Service HQ after MoD letter dated 24.7.2014.

      RDOA was never a party to the discussions between MoD and Service HQ and filed the Contempt Petition because it felt, and feels (as it has reiterated in its blog) that the DGL furnished by Service HQ is the only and comprehensive solution to the Rank Pay Case.

      My presumption, having been elevated to the role of senior and made responsible for grooming & leading even after retirement, is that the order of the Apex Court will be equally applicable for serving and retired officers eligible for the benefit.

      We have one version - that Gen Sundarji snubbed Capt Dhanapalan. Sadly, the General is dead and unable to refute, so I will let it also die.

  2. It would, of course, be fair for an association to expect affected veteran officers to join hands as active members of the association in order to benefit from the efforts made and initiatives undertaken by the association.

    The fact cannot be overlooked that it was most probably the initiative of RDOA that resulted in benefits in the Rank Pay judgement being applied to all affected Officers (retired and serving) and not just the litigants or members of RDOA.

    But if RDOA could clarify the position a little it would help everyone. For example, is it going to be the RDOA stand now that the issues, including the contempt petition, would henceforth only be taken up specifically on a "members only" basis?

    This was recently hinted at in one of their blog posts.

    If the UOI lawyers insist that benefits be applied only to RDOA members and RDOA choose not to counter that, non-members cannot complain. At the same time, if others now start jumping into the legal battlefield independently and start linking up their cases with the RDOA contempt petition, it could cause needless confusion and delays.

    It would be best if RDOA clarified the status.

    But affected Officers/veterans should certainly join RDOA and contribute to this noble effort.

    1. can serving officers become member of RDOA?

    2. Section 21 (a) and (b) of the Army Act 1950 (and corresponding Navy and Air Force Acts) do not permit it. Please refer to the full Act and Rules thereunder for confirmation.

    3. Sir,
      precisely that...... THE BIGGEST Loser / gainer is going to be serving officers. However bigger than the biggest is going to be the Retired Officers as OROP will be linked with it. RDOA should take action keeping in mind the same.

  3. @Corona8
    It seems serving officers cannot become members of RDOA. That is the biggest issue. As rightly brought out by you, in 13 Aug 14 blog post RDOA sent a veiled threat in response to one Cols uncalled for remarks against the efforts of RDOA.
    I hope RDOA clarified before the apple cart is rattled by someone. regards.

    1. @Young50:

      "..serving officers cannot become members of RDOA.."

      I agree. That fact just slipped my mind while I was posting my previous comment.

      I think those still in service have to represent through the official channels and if all else fails, to litigate with due permission, perhaps for including all other "similarly placed" in the matter.

  4. @Young50 & corona8,

    You may wish to address the issue to RDOA at their email ID and then enlighten us on the clarity provided by RDOA.

    On my blog, I can only give my point of view and sadly, cannot resolve your issues.

  5. @Young50 & Corona8,

    The operative part of my post is "It might be worth the while of those similarly placed officers who have not yet decided to become members of the RDOA whether they would like to wage their own legal battles, should the MoD/CGDA/MoF, DoE decide to confine implementation of any future favourable verdict only to members of the RDOA."

    At Para 30 of the OA No. 655 of 2010, the PB CAT ordered..."Respondents are directed to re-fix the pension of all pre-2006 retirees w.e.f. 1.1.2006, based on the resolution dated 29.08.2008 and in the light of our observations made above. Let the respondents re-fix the pension and pay the arrears thereof within a period of 3 months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. OAs’ are allowed in the aforesaid terms, with no order as to interest and costs.”

    Even though the order mentions "ALL PRE-2006 retirees" the Govt has decided to restrict the benefits to the litigants.

    Therefore, a caution of the likely hurdle for those who are not members of RDOA, for finally in a democratic country nobody, let alone I, is forcing any membership.

    No coercion; just abundant caution towards the end of a nearly 20 year old battle! Why lose a few men for a few thousands of rupees in membership fees?

    1. 'Even though the order mentions "ALL PRE-2006 retirees" the Govt has decided to restrict the benefits to the litigants. '

      May we know as to whether all similarly placed officers should get this benefit was prayed for by the litigants in this case? If yes, then the judgement should automatically become applicable to all pre-2006 retirees as the judgement is based on presentation of facts before the hon'ble courts.

      In the rank pay case, RDOA has specially prayed (I hope it is correct) for granting the benefits to all similarly placed officers and accordingly it has already been paid to a number of serving officer also. At this stage, to interpret it differently will be a travesty of justice. Moreover, Ld AG has also given his opinion on this issue. If this does not happen, then obviously all serving officers will have to take up this case on their own as per procedure . May be that will be good in some sense as all will become wiser and will start going to court at drop of a hat in future as our civilian friends do. May be then in posting policy, a clause will have to be built in wherein the officer will ask for compassionate posting to fight his court cases. Hope, that day does not come.....But then one can only hope.

    2. @aaa,

      Not having access to the arguments advanced by SAG-29 Pensioners Association, it is not possible to provide conformation whether such a position was requested for. However, the order of PB CAT in OA/655 is accessible and clearly applicable for "all pre-2006 retirees."

      MoF, DoE has decided to interpret it as applicable only to the members of the SAG-29 Pensioners Association and there is a MA filed by UoI that the Association is not providing the list of its members and therefore UoI is finding difficulty in completing payment within the 3 months.

      President RDOA said that the UoI wanted the order of 4/9/2012 confined to the litigants but the RDOA convinced the Apex Court by the prayer that it would mean that thousands of similarly placed officers would knock at the doors of the Apex Court for justice. Then the Apex Court made its order applicable to all similarly placed officers.

      If one reads the chronology of the TP No. 56 of 2007 and IA No. 9 of 2010 in TP (C) No. 56 of 2007 and MoD's implementation, one cannot but conclude that the case was won by retired officers and RDOA and the Apex Court's order was implemented also for serving officers.

      Sir. The last part of your comment will not see light of day because Armed Forces place loyalty to Nation first, foremost and always. It is for the Commanders to be more perceptive and examine the situations and convince those placed above them, RM and PM included, on the soundness of their cause(s) by irrefutable logic and sound facts and figures.

      Armed Forces personnel knocking at the Courts in any number, small or large, and a majority winning their cases, indicates the failure of the Civilian Authority (Government) exercised through interpretations of the IAS, Class A and CSS.

    3. Sir,

      The change in CAT order appears to be a trick of DOP&PW. On 15 May 14 during the hearing of contempt petition, Govt Lawyer intimated CAT -"The Ministry of Law has advised the Department to implement the aforesaid order of the Tribunal qua the petitioners. He submits that some reasonable time may be given to them to implement the aforesaid order." CAT accordingly allowed three months time. DOP&PW has assumed that the words "qua the petitioners" have been accepted by CAT as the modification of original order. These words have also been highlighted in the implementation letter.

      Above are my personal views.

  6. Dear Sir
    Thanks for the gentle nudge to wake up lazy people like me out of our slumber.Just did the online transfer.I do agree i should have become a member long back .Any how better late than never.
    Hope to contribute regularly for the cause from now on at least !

  7. I know this may not be the best place to post it.How ever i am yet to get any reply from RDOA to my request for membership even after repeated e mails & sms to the Pres & Secy)
    Does any one knows as to how much time do they take for the enrollment process ?

    1. President RDOA has received you e-transfer - he confirmed in a telecon .

      As the Secretary is indisposed and President was travelling & the sudden spurt of enrolments, you may not have received an acknowledgment.

      Please call him on the cell number listed in the RDOA blog.

    2. Dear Sir I have no doubt the the sudden spurt of enrollments are due to your post :)
      I did speak to the President,RDOA & got the confirmation
      I would be very happy if RDOA can enlarge it scope in the long run to provide legal assistance to all ESMs,through a central pool of legal experts (though not for free)

    3. Sorry, that is one thing I do not deserve the credit for - the spurt that is!

      When RDOA fights cases - more like PILs for ESM - they can advise the legal experts but if they do what you want, my opinion is that every ESM will want the case fought his/her way!

      RDOA should not manage a "bank of legal experts" for they will get diverted from their yeoman service.

      But to each his own thought!