Date: Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 06:48
Subject: RE: Lt Col Col Pensions
It would be the best thing to do. Last year I had mooted the same idea through a presentation and had circulated a draft letter for people to send to the government en-masse, so as to firstly overwhelm the government and nudge it to act. And if it didn't, to anyway set the clock running for action in the AFT after six months.
State thereafter was not very encouraging, people did not whole heartedly participate, some were skeptical, some sent the letter but did not keep me in picture, some got the letter modified through other advocates and I was informed (during admission arguments of my case) that people already approached AFT (obviously with alterations in the contents thereby compromising on the thrust of the case) and lost the case.
However, in my view nothing is lost still. Admission of my own case by the AFT principal Bench vindicates the validity of the stand.
Those who are approaching me I am filing for them in the AFT principal Bench, individually as well as in groups. My charges are absolutely affordable and are nominal per head even when a small group is involved.
However, what one has to foresee and be prepared for is the charges of the senior counsels which the people / group will have to eventually engage because government is going to fight it tooth and nail with battery of government senior counsels fiercely arguing it out in the AFT (and in the Supreme Court later). This is where, i.e. to sustain the future funding and to spread the financial burden out, one would need a group / association with sufficient number, to front-end the mission either as a normal motion or as a class action.
An existing legal entity (any association of ex-service officers) can very much do so, but it has to so decide. [I remember some Lt General claiming to be President of some association, calling me up last year immediately after i mooted the idea, to question why Lt Cols / Cols should get more than what they have already got; he was worried that the differential between them and `senior' ranks might get narrowed down]. So, if support from the existing ex-service organisations doesn't come, a separate association may be formed by the affected people (pre-2006 retirees of mainly the Lt Col/ Col and eq. ranks having less than 33 years of qualifying service) to bring a class action.
I end by fully endorsing your views and by offering my services till the Apex court, to you individually / if you come as part of small group / If an association comes for class action.
A K Aggarwal
Supreme Court of India