Fresh controversy over pay panel recommendations
Pre-2006 Majors receive pension lower than JCOs
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 5
A fresh controversy over anomalies in fixation of pension has arisen, with officers who retired as Majors and equivalent claiming that their pension has not been fixed in accordance with the accepted recommendations of the Six Pay Commission (SPC) recommendations. Consequently, their pension has been fixed at the minimum scales applicable to a Lieutenant, two rungs below, thereby not only lowering their status, but also causing them a loss of several thousand rupees per month.
The matter affects thousands of officers from all three services who retired in this rank before January 2006, the date of implementation of the SPC. Based upon a petition filed by 17 officers, a Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prashad and Lt Gen HS Panag issued notices to the central government for August 2.
The minimum basic pension of a pre-2006 retired Major as on date is Rs 14,100, while that of a Major who retired in 2006 or afterwards is about Rs 22,000. On the other hand post-2006 pension of an honorary Lieutenant is Rs 15, 465 and that of an honorary Captain is Rs 16,145. These are the JCOs who have been granted an honorary rank of an officer in recognition of their services. Moreover, the difference in pension of a Major and that of Captains and Lieutenants has also narrowed down considerably after the SPC.
Whenever pay panel recommendations are implemented, modified parity is granted to employees who retired prior to the date of implementation so all past retirees are granted the benefit of the newly introduced pay scales. They are placed at the bottom of the new pay scales applicable for employees of the same grade who are serving on the date of implementation of the new scales. The SCP had, hence, fairly recommended that the pension of all those officers who retired prior to 2006 would be fixed not less than 50 per cent of the sum of the minimum pay in the pay band and the grade pay corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which they had retired.
Instead of continuing with separate scales for different ranks as was being done previously, the SPC initiated a system of pay bands and the earlier 35 different military and civilian scales were merged into four basic pay bands. Lieutenants, Captains and Majors were placed into a single pay band (PB-3) of Rs 15,600-39,100, with grade pay of Rs 5,400, Rs 6,100 and Rs 6,600, respectively. The Special Army Instruction issued for serving military personnel with effect from January 1, 2006, fixed the minimum basic pay for major at Rs 23,808 in addition to grade pay, military service pay making minimum admissible pay Rs 36,408. The minimum basic was Rs 15,600 for Lieutenant and Rs 18,600 and for Captain.
However, the Dept of Pensions, the petitioners contended, interpreted the above stipulation to mean that the pension of all pre-2006 retirees of the rank of Lieutenant, Captain and Major would be calculated by taking into account the minimum of PB-3.