Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ex- servicemen’s association likely to file contempt petition over MoD’s selective implementation of SC’s Rank Pay ruling

Contempt heat on
CAG & top babus
By Jugal R. Purohit in New Delhi
AFTER Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne took the Ministry of Defence ( MoD) to task over its alleged failure to correctly implement the Supreme Court order concerning granting of dues to veterans and widows, it seems like several top babus, including Comptroller and Auditor General and former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, too, may be in for a rough ride.
On May 11, the MoD was intimated by the Retired Defence Officers Association ( RDOA) of the possibility of their filing a contempt petition if the May 31 deadline for implementation of the SC ruling was not met. And given the lack of progress in the matter, the association is all set to drag the bureaucrats to court.
This move was confirmed by Aishwarya Bhati, an SC lawyer representing the RDOA. “ By this contempt petition, we want the apex court to note that the MoD has not implemented its order in letter and spirit,” she said.
The genesis of the spat lies in the MoD’s ‘ selective’ implementation of the SC order dated September 2012 in the Rank Pay case, which the ex- servicemen community won after a long legal battle.
Bhati said that along with CAG Sharma, the others who will be named in the petition are Financial Adviser ( Defence Services) Priti Mohanty, Secretary ( Department of Expenditure) R. S. Gujral and Controller General of Defence Accounts Arunava Dutt.
The contempt petition, a copy of which was accessed by this correspondent, states, “ Various orders of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court and that of the Hon’ble Supreme Court are not being complied with in letter and spirit and deliberate efforts are being made to exclude the application of these orders.” Commenting on the controversial implementation letter issued by the MoD on December 27, 2012, the contempt notice says, “ From the perusal of the letter, it became clear that the judicial orders were not intended to be complied with fully consequential benefits.” The petition is likely to be filed as soon as courts reopen, post- vacation.
Lt Col. ( Retd) Satwant Singh of the RDOA said, “ Out of the over 40,000 affected officers, there are about 10,000 who are yet to get their pay issues resolved. Only once the pay issue is resolved can the pension be settled.” Officials at the Directorate of Public Relations and the Ex- Servicemen Welfare department did not respond on the issue.

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