Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Armed Forces Tribunal begins suo motu contempt case against Colonel

NEW DELHI: The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has initiated suo moto contempt action against joint director, army headquarters, Col SK Garg, for issuing an order on March 27, 2015, overruling the tribunal's direction to increase the disability pension of Lt Col TK Joseph who had voluntarily retired from the Army, as per the broad banding policy of disability pension. 

 Joseph, currently receiving disability pension benefits at 20%, was eligible for marked increase at 50% as part of the broad banding policy, which rounds off the percentage of pension benefit, with effect from Jan 1, 2006. This was in accordance with a Supreme Court order of 2014. The AFT had therefore ruled in his favour in February 2015, with the Chairman of the Principal Bench Prakash Tatia, stating in a formal order to the government that the petitioner shall be entitled to the same. 

 However, the Ministry of Defence did not comply with this order drawing a distinction between those who retire on superannuation and those who voluntarily retire from the Army. Garg, quoting a Ministry of Defence ruling letter, rejected Joseph's representation for disability pension as per the rounding up or broad banding policy. He reiterated the fact that granting disability pension in such a case would go againstgovernment policy because Joseph had applied for premature retirement at his own .. 

 The apex court had already ratified the policy regarding disability pension to those under Premature or voluntary retirement in 2014, and held that the benefit of roundingoff/broad-banding of disability or war injury element of pension would be granted to not only to invalided disabled personnel but also to those who were released on completion of terms, discharge, retirement, superannuation or otherwise are in receipt of a disability pension. The Principal bench of the AFT at New Delhi, headed  .. 


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