Today 1 May 2019, OROP case was heard by bench of Honourable justice Chandrachud and Honourable justice Hemant GUPTA in Honourable Supreme Court. Our case was listed at S no 1 but
Honourable justice decided that they want to hear the arguments in detail and will attend to OROP after lunch.
During hearing Honourable Justice recounted the anomalies introduced in OROP released by GOI vide letter dated 7 Nov 2015.
Honourable justice also recorded that word AUTOMATIC equalisation of Pension for past pensioners has been replaced by GOI with word PERIODIC equalisation (five years) in the letter dated 7 Nov 2019. This is the main anomaly along with fixing of pensions of past pensioners one and a half increment behind with respect to present pensioners ( post 2014). Honourable justice questioned the Govt lawyer why equalisation cannot be done automatically? Govt lawyer Mr Rana Mukherjee replied that veterans want equalisation as a running scale on touch of a button. To this our counsel Mr Hujefa Ahmadi replied that though it is possible to achieve instant equalisation with latest computing technology in India but veterans will be happy with yearly equalisation in rates of pensions.
OROP counsel Mr Hujefa also quoted examples by showing tables how these anomalies are adversely affecting morale of veterans and lowering izzat and status of past pensioners. It was conveyed succinctly that with these anomalies today a senior rank Naik (past pensioner) is getting less pension than junior rank Sepoy (retired post 2014). Similarly armed forces widows have been getting lesser pensions than post 2014 widows.
Honourable Justice also accepted that life of armed forces personnel is very difficult at Siachen glaciers and in wild deserts apart from their early retirement. They were also considerate to note that soldiers are also boarded out on minor disability and hence their working conditions are very harsh. Govt should do everything to mitigate their difficulty.
Govt attorney was asked to approach Govt and get the response of Govt on the way forward to solve these anomalies and to redress veterans grievances.
Honourable justice advised Govt attorney that Govt must call veterans for discussion and find a mutually acceptable solution to these anomalies.
Honourable Justice gave an order accordingly and fixed next date of hearing on 6 Aug 2019.
Author: M B Chandran Menon. M.com.,AIII,DME