After nine months of legal tangling over the issue of interpretation of the Supreme Court order of September, 2012 favouring the armed forces on rank pay and pension to ex-servicemen, defence minister A K Antony has now thrown the ball in the Attorney General’s court. Though this has been described as an attempt to solve the issue but in all sense it will lead to further complicate the matter. The issue, which could have easily been resolved by the intervention of the defence minister himself, will now move around the corridors of the Law Ministry, Finance Ministry and then again defence ministry.
Two strongly worded letters written by Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne as the Chairman of Chief Staff committee proved to be a wakeup call for Antony. He summoned a meeting of his top brass and three services chiefs were also invited. In his introductory remarks Antony, it is learnt, said that the judgment given by the Supreme Court should be implemented in the letter and spirit. The directions of the Court are sacrosanct and would be abide by the ministry. But in the end, meeting decided to refer the issue to the Attorney General for his legal advice about the interpretation of the judgment. Despite a favourable decision from the apex court ex-servicemen are awaiting for the justice. Now, Service headquarters will submit their interpretation of the court order ith in next three days while civilian bureaucracy is to file its own interpretation to the Ministry of Finance and then to the AG.
The case of Rank Pay had emanated 27 years ago and the successive courts, including Supreme Court, have ordered for rectification issue.
The tensions prevailing between the uniformed services and their civilian counterparts inside the South Block on the treatment being meted out to over 46,000 retired officers and widows came to the fore after media discloser of the two letters to the defence minister in the past six months.
Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne first wrote to him in January and then in May of this year, but to no avail. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) despite expressing its intentions to implement the judgment in the letter and spirit time and again, has consistently failed the order of September 2012 which seeks to deliver pay and pension to veterans and widows.