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BEFORE JUSTICE L NARASIMHA REDDY COMMITTEE ON

OROP
(At the hearing at Kochi on 24/8/2016)
Introduction.
1. With the Supreme Court of India deciding that pension is no
charity but delayed wages/salary, OROP is a sine qua non when it
comes to legal justice for pensioners and should apply to all
pensioners, as has been rightly decided by the 7th Central Pay
Commission. The definition of One Rank, One Pension should not be
confusing either. It is as simple as anybody retiring at a particular
level of the hierarchy and with the same length of service should
get the same pension. It is already implemented in the case of
MPs, MLAs, bureaucrats at the top of the hierarchy and judges of
the high courts and apex court. For the MPs and MLAs the format used
is a minimum pension upto (please note it is upto and not for because
the eligibility starts immediately after taking oath) a minimum prescribed
service and beyond 5 years a fixed amount is given for every additional
year of service. This is simple and can be applied only in the case of MPs
and MLAs who are not tied up with increments based on length of service
during their service. In the case of bureaucrats, particularly the one exam
wonders, file pushers who do not even know the right direction in which to
push the files, the clerks of the IAS cadre, they have manipulated it by
ensuring that at the top of the hierarchy, which every direct entry is likely
to reach, they have fixed basic pay and hence anybody retiring from that
grade will get the same basic pension irrespective of the year in which he
retired! And worse, they even have a Non Functional Financial
Upgradation wherein anybody from a batch getting a promotion entitles
everybody in that batch to get the same pay as the promoted guy
irrespective of the level at which he is currently employed! And the self
aggrandizers they are, they have tried to deny it even to their
counterparts in the IPS by providing for a two year delay for them! Come
to think of it, the job of an Sub Inspector of Police is any day more
challenging than that of a clerk, Cabinet Secretary included, isnt
it?

The Genesis of OROP for soldiers.


2. 16 December 1971 is any day the golden letter day in the history of post
independence India. The 13 day war with Pakistan, resulting in the
liberation of Bangaldesh and capture of 93000 pakistani soldiers is
without parallel in the history of warfare. Of course the country paid a
heavy price but then it happened- the greatest treachery of all times!
Soldiers who were getting 70 pc of their last drawn pay as pension, as a
concession due to their early retirement, had their pension cut to 50 pc in

the name of economy measures. But, quite abrasively, civilians who were
in receipt of only 33pc of their last pay drawn as pension got their pension
increased to 50 pc! And worse, the minimum service for full pension at
the above rates was fixed at 33 years for all! In effect 99 pc of the
soldiers who are forced to retire due to the compulsions of a
youthful army between 15 and 20 years of service got to get only
around 25 pc of their last pay as their pension! And that is when the
offer of OROP was first mooted and approved by the then PM, Indira
Gandhey. But it never materialized. And the treachery by the politicianbabu-judiciary nexus only aggravated the situation in the years that
followed. The open revolt in the Air Force after the 5th Central Pay
Commission was expectedly quelled using the might of the Air Force Act.
But how long can anybody suffer injustice silently? With the information
boom facilitated by modern technology it was just a matter of time before
truthful facts poured into the public domain. And veteran soldiers, echoing
the voice of the serving soldiers also, had to take to streets to vent their
grievance and ire. But they were still far too disciplined and patriotic not
to indulge in murder and mayhem leading to the decision makers turning
a deaf ear to their just demands even while willing to talk to the Maoists
who were, to use a quote used by the current Defence Minister, holding
the guns at their heads.
3. Well, OROP is not only about pension. It is more about justice.
Given the fact that equal pay for equal work is a universally accepted
norm, there cannot be any doubt that the sepoy of the Indian Army should
get more pay and perks that the Cabinet Secretary. The Right to
Information Act has more than amply exposed the
(in)competence and treachery of the civil servants as a whole and
clerks of the IAS cadre, in particular. Just a cursory look at the
decisions of the information commissioners who were/are mostly retired
civil servants will suffice to prove my point. Without going deeper, suffice
to say that it is only the soldiers who continue to pay with their life
and limbs not only for their own failures but also for the failures
of those who are tasked and paid to train, equip and motivate
them.

The Politician-Babu-Judiciary Nexus.


4. With even MPs claiming that youth join army to die and babus
managing to deny the dues to the architect of the glorious
military victory of 1971 and the nations first Field Marshal Sam
Manekshaw for more than 40 years is it any wonder that the
morale of the troops are in their boots? And imagine awarding
Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar before Manekshaw! While I would not

care to use the analogy of chalk and cheese to compare their persons the
analogy has to hold good for their achievements.
5. I am fully conscious that to even talk of judicial perfidy is likely to raise
eyebrows. And putting it this bluntly to a former judgemay God save
me! But facts are facts. Just compare the decisions of the various courts in
Major Dhanapalans case involving Rank Pay granted to armed forces
officers after 4th CPC in 1986 but not paid due to deliberate manipulation.
How many cases had to be filed? After how many years did the
beneficiaries get their dues? (I only hope that all of them have got it by
now!) And finally did they get justice? The answer cannot be anything
other than a definite NO. With the interest due for the first 20 years
denied and only 6 pc granted thereafter, can the apex court
decision be considered just? And amoung those who were responsible
for this chicanery were anybody punished? Again a big NO! Now compare
it with what Subroto Roy of Sahara was required to pay and to who all
and how many cases were required to be filed and why he spent so many
years in jail. If the injustice to the soldiers is not obvious then
blame it on your own sense of justice.

And the grouses are more


6. The Armed Forces Tribunal Vs Central Administrative Tribunal. The
only justification for a contempt of court provision in the statute books
in a democracy is the need to enforce judicial orders. While the CAT has
been in existence for ages and enjoys such powers the more recently
constituted AFTs have been denied those powers paving way for more
heartburns for soldiers with most of the orders of AFTs ending up in the
dustbins of some babu. In fact the order dated 29 May 2015 of the
Court No 2, AFT Principal Bench at New Delhi in OA No 138/2013
is bound the way of the Rank Pay case. (The original order is dated
21/11/2012 in 556/2011.) But meanwhile the babus played another fraud
by originating a Special Army Instruction No 2/S/1998 para 5(a)(iv) of
which reads as under:
Para 5(a)(iv):- As a one time measure those who become substantive major
before 1.1.96 will be granted the scale of Lt. Col. on completion of 21 years of
commissioned service i.e. in their 22nd year with rank pay of Major.
Since above categories of officer can not be identified by Pension
Disbursing Authorities, so it has been decided to issue corrigendum PPO by
Pension Sanctioning Authorities to implement above mentioned Govt. order
dated 24/9/2012.

The fraud has to be seen for what it is because ever since the cadre
review effected in the mid eighties all substantive Majors would get
promoted on time scale to Lt Col on completion of 21 years of service,
that is in their 22nd year of service! I can vouch for it because I was
commissioned on 11 Jun 1977 and retired voluntarily on 7 Apr 1998. Army
HQs had however issued my promotion order to the rank of Lt Col (TS) wef
11 Jun 1998, though it became in fructuous since I had hung my uniform
by then!
7. Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme Vs Central
Government Health scheme. This is also an example of denying the
soldiers facilities that are given to their civilian counterparts. For example,
ECHS provides only allopathic treatment whereas CGHS provides all
forms including ayurveda and homeo! And more recently there have
been reports that the CAG has indicted ECHS for using its funds to
meet the expenses of treatment of serving soldiers, thus cheating the
ECHS beneficiaries! And the quality and scope of the facilities are tied up
with so many ifs and buts and many empanelled facilities are also
withdrawing due to mounting arrears of dues!
8. Anomalies in implementing pay commission awards. Reports
indicate that there are about 20 odd anomalies yet to be resolved after
implementing the 6th CPC awards. But one of them- the pay band-pay
scale issue- affected the civilians (other than the IAS, IPS top brass) also
and the matter reached the apex court fairly fast and orders were issued
to pay pension based on pay scales rather than at the minimum of
scales of the pay bands. Obviously this was to be done from 1/1/2006
but the clerks of the IAS cadre played foul by issuing order for
implementing it from 24/9/2012! (Can we dismiss it as their
incompetence? No! Because, in the matter of implementing the 6th CPC
awards there was a dispute regarding Lt Generals who were Army
Commanders and those who were not. It was resolved fairly promptly
by these clerks by creating another scale just below the top two to
accommodate the Non-Army Commander Lt Gens and making it
applicable to Additional Secretaries of the Government of India. And this
was implemented wef 1/1/2006 saying that it was resolution of a 6th
CPC anomaly!) Back to courts and orders for applying the revision from
1/1/2006 followed. But here, to my horror, I had the experience of even
the banks, as Pension Disbursing Authorities, and the Banking
Ombudsman play foul! Personally, in my case, I noted that the basic
pension given to me from 1/1/2006 to 23/4/2012 was only 2/3 of the basic
pension paid earlier from 24/9/2012. On seeking clarification from the
bank there was no response. Complaint to the Banking Ombudsman
produced a treacherous order. Finally a letter to the Governor, Reserve

Bank of India, while eliciting no reply, did bring in the dues within one
month!
9 Lack of information. The last ten years were so full of action and
changes that most of the soldiers, including officers, can safely be
assumed to be ignorant of what has been happening around them that
directly affected their lives. One case is the non issue of corrigendum
PPOs reflecting the changes in pension as they happened whenever they
happened. In fact I have still not received the corrigendum PPO
reflecting the changes in the pension when the 6th CPC awards
were 1st implemented in 2008. I got the Annx IV to the MoD,
Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare letter No No 17(4)/2008(1)/D(Pen/Policy)
dated 11.11.2008 using the RTI Act from my PDA, SBI. But to my horror the

bank could not even provide me the number of pensioners to whom they
had issued these forms! Finally, after two years, on the orders of the
information commissioner, when they were compelled to provide the
figures I was informed that these forms were prepared only for about 1/3rd
of the pensioners drawing their pension from SBI! And it is this lack of
information that is preventing me from directly answering the questions in
the notification, dated 2/8/2016, issued by the Judicial Committee on
OROP. However this is being attempted with the limited knowledge I have
about these subjects.
9.1.
Whether the benefit of OROP is to be extended to Reservists.
Yes.
9.2.
Whether the decision to grant benefit of MACP under OROP only
to pensioners who have actually earned requires any modification?
Yes. It should be given to all pensioners fulfilling only the criteria of
period of service, because the need for earning/fulfilling other criteria
is only notional and not materially relevant.
9.3.
Whether pension tables for more than 33 years of qualifying
service are to be prepared? Yes. In fact the ceiling of 33 years, now
applicable for maximum pension should also be removed. In addition
the minimum service of 15/20 years prescribed for earning pension
should also be done away with. With the introduction of pension
for MPs and MLAs who have just taken oath, the minimum
service prescribed for others is in violation of the principle of
equality guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus all soldiers who
have retired/resigned, except those who have been dismissed
on disciplinary grounds, without completing the minimum
prescribed service should be given pro-rata pension subject to
minimum, as is being given to MPS and MLAs.
9.4.
Whether the methodology followed for fixation of pension under
OROP in the absence of actual retirees in the same rank and same
qualifying service for the below mentioned categories requires any

modification: Yes. The methodology should cater for all ranks, from
Sepoy to Field Marshal, based on ranks and additional tables providing
weightages for professional qualifications and type of entry,
taking direct entry as the standard. In this context the even more
pertinent suggestion is that the datum should not be the min, max or
average of pay scales. It has to be the same format used for fixing pay
of serving personnel considering the length of service of the pensioner
as being fixed at the time of his retirement.
9.5.
Whether the methodology followed for fixation of pension under
OROP for invalidated out war injury pensioners and liberalised family
pensioners require any modification in pension fixation formula. Yes.
War injury pensioners should be given their complete last pay drawn as
pension with appropriate increase whenever revised. Liberalised family
pensioners should be given the same pension as the pensioner. But I
must also mention here that even the broadbanding of disability
pension has to be implemented better by having just two categoriesupto and including 50pc and 51 to 100pc.
9.6.
Whether in the case of JCOs/ORs, the pension is to be paid on the
basis of the last rank held instead of last rank pensioned under OROP.
Before I answer this I must admit that it is news that these are
different. The only exception that I know of is of honorary
commissioned JCOs who may be awarded the honorary rank after
retirement. Obviously in their case the pension has to be of the
higher rank awarded because without monetary benefits the award
would be simply tokenism and would fail to motivate JCOs to perform
even in the last days of their service. This would apply to honorary
ranks awarded to sepoys and NCOs also.

Conclusion.
10. Judicial commissions are well known as a useful tool for
decision makers to delay decision, obfuscate issues and deny
justice. Equally importantly the credibility and efficacy of these
commissions also remain questionable. We have seen how the Railway
Minister (Lalu Prasad Yadav) appointed judicial commission to inquire into
Godhra train burning produced a report in line with the Railway Ministers
views and another judicial commission appointed by the Chief Minister of
Gujarat (Narendra Modi) to inquire into the same incident produced a
report in consonance with the Chief Ministers views. So where does that
leave this committee? My involvement with the government, including the
judiciary, has helped me postulate that all public servants are idiots
or traitors unless proved otherwise.

11. With hope reigning supreme in the human heart and being prepared
for the worst even while hoping for the best, I dedicate these suggestions
to all my brave brothers and sisters in uniform.
Veteran Major P M Ravindran
Aathira, Near Kailash Nagar
Kalpathy, Palakkad-678003
Tele: 0491-2576042, Email: majorravi@gmail.com