Tuesday, November 16, 2010



New Delhi: The hedging by the Centre to its suggestions to address grievances of armed forces personnel,both serving and retired,to curb indiscipline and show of anger by them,made the SC on Monday order the setting up of an Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission within two months.

A Bench said the commission,headed by a retired Supreme Court judge,will look into any grievance by serving and former members of the Army,Navy and Air Force or their widows or family members and make suitable recommendations expeditiously to the central government.The order came in a petition filed by one Pushpa Vanti,widow of an Army major who fought three wars in 1948,1962 and 1965 and was decorated with 14 medals.What anguished the Bench was that she was getting a pension of Rs 80 per month.

Writ Petition(Civil)) No. 291 of 2010

Pushpa Vanti .. Petitioner -versus- Union of India & others .. Respondents


1. In this case we had issued notice to the respondents on 17.9.2010 but no counter affidavit has been filed.

2. The petitioner before us in the present case is a widow Pushpa Vanti, whose husband was an army major who had fought in three wars (in 1948, 1962 and 1965) and was decorated with fourteen medals. However, the petitioner is getting only Rs.80/- per month as pension, in these days when a kilogram of arhar dal costs that amount. She has prayed for fixation of her correct pension and arrears.

3. The Indian armed forces are bravely defending the borders of the country, often standing on guard at a height of 20,000 feet and in minus 30oC temperature, day and night so that the people of India can live, work and sleep in peace.

4. However, there is widespread discontent among the serving and former members of the armed forces (by which we mean the Army, Navy and Air Force) and their widows and family members regarding their service conditions e.g. pay scales, allowances, anomalies regarding pensions, inadequate pension (particularly to those disabled while in service), widows benefits, promotion matters (including promotion
policy and process) etc.. They have a feeling that the bureaucrats do not care for them and do not properly address their grievances. As a result, thousands of ex-armed forces personnel have returned their medals, and some have even burnt their artificial limbs.

5. These grievances include the grievances relating to pay, allowances, one rank one pension, other pension matters, suitable benefits to be granted to war veterans, war widows, promotion matters, rehabilitation of soldiers who are discharged at a young age, etc.

6. In a recent panel discussion `We The People' on NDTV channel some of these grievances were high lighted.

7. Our courts of law are flooded with cases relating to members, both serving and retired, of the armed forces e.g. cases relating to pension, promotion, etc and the obvious reason is that the armed forces personnel have a feeling that their grievances are not being properly addressed.

8. The great Prime Minister of Magadha, Chanakya, told Emperor Chandragupta Maurya :

"Pataliputra rests each night in peaceful comfort, O King, secure in the belief that the distant borders of Magadha are inviolate and the interiors are safe and secure, thanks only to the Mauryan Army standing vigil with naked swords and eyes peeled for action, day and night, in weather fair and foul, all eight praharas (i.e. round the clock), quite unmindful of personal discomfort and hardship, all through the year, year after year. To this man, O Rajadhiraja, you owe a debt: please, therefore, see to it, suo motu, that the soldier continuou-sly gets his dues in every form and respect, be they his needs or his wants, for he is not likely to ask for them himself. The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha; for then, on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be king!"

9. Today our ex-soldiers have not only been demanding but are agitating to get their legitimate dues. They were compelled to resort to public protests and even return their War- medals and burn their artificial limbs, as was done by Capt. C.S. Sidhu whose right arm was amputated while serving at the front but was getting a pittance as pension (see judgment of this Court in Union of India & Anr. vs. C.S. Sidhu in Civil Appeal No.4474 of 2005 dated 31st March, 2010). This, in our opinion, is not good for the nation. The armed forces personnel should have a feeling that their grievances are heard by an independent body. Even if some of their demands are not accepted, they will have a feeling that they were given a proper hearing.

10. We, therefore, direct the Central Government to set up within two months from today a Commission which shall be called the Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission.

11. This Commission will look into any grievances (sent to them in writing or by e-mail) by serving or former members of the armed forces(i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force) or their widows or family members and make suitable recommendations expeditiously to the Central Government in this connection.

12. The Commission will also frame and recommend to the Central Government a scheme for proper rehabilitation of discharged soldiers. At present the position is that a soldier is ordinarily recruited at the age of about 18 years, and if he does not rise above the rank of Jawan he is discharged after 15 years of service. If he is promoted, his tenure is extended on each promotion. Thus, if he reaches the rank of Havildar but no further he will retire after 22 years of service, i.e. at the age of 40. Thus a soldier is retired when he is in the prime of life. During his service he spends only about 2 months per year with his family. There is no doubt a Resettlement Directorate in the Army Headquarters, but we are informed that it is not a very effective body. If a soldier is discharged between the age of 35-45 how will he support his family ? At that age he is likely to have a wife and children. Hence he should be given alternative employment so that he can support his family. The Commission will go into this matter also in detail and suggest appropriate schemes for rehabilitation of ex-armed forces personnel who are retired at a relatively young age.

13. The aforesaid Commission shall consist of the following members :

1. A retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India as the Chairman of the Commission. The first Chairman shall be Hon'ble Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh, former Judge, Supreme Court.

2. A former Chief Justice of the High Court as the Vice Chairman of the Commission. The Vice Chairman will officiate as the Chairman in absence of the Chairman. The first Vice Chairman shall be Hon'ble Mr.
Justice S.S. Sodhi, retired Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.

3. A retired Chief of Army staff as a Member of the Commission. We appoint General V.P. Malik, retired Chief of Army staff, to be a Member of the Commission.

4. Any retired Chief or Vice Chief or Deputy Chief of the Army, Navy or Air Force as a Member of the Commission. In the first Commission we appoint Lt. General Vijay Oberoi, retired Vice Chief of Army Staff, to be a Member of the Commission(General Oberoi is the Douglas Bader of the Indian Armed Forces, his one foot having been shot and later amputated due to a burst of machine gun fire in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, when he was a young Captain. Despite this he rose to become a Lt. Gen. and Vice Chief of the Army).

5. A civil servant, whether serving or retired, as a Member of the Commission, to be appointed by the Central Government, at its discretion.

14. The term of the first Commission will be for two years from the date of its constitution but it will be renewable at the option of the Central Government. The subsequent Commission members (after the two year term of the first Commission has expired) shall be appointed by the Central Government.

15. Since most of the aforesaid members in the first Commission are based in Chandigarh hence we direct that the headquarters of the Commission shall be at Chandigarh. For this purpose a suitable building will be allotted at the earliest at Chandigarh by the Union Territory of Chandigarh in consultation with the Central Government which will be used as the office-cum-secretariat of the Commission. This building must have sufficient rooms to provide an office for each member of the Commission. The Central Government will allot adequate secretarial and other staff and infrastructure and equipment (including computers, telephones etc.) for the office and members of the Commission as desired by the Chairman.

16. In addition to the headquarters of the Commission at Chandigarh there will also be set-up offices of the Commission at Delhi and such other places as the Chairman of the Commission may direct. The Central
Government and concerned State Governments/Union Territories will provide the necessary staff and infrastructure as the Chairman may direct for this purpose.

17. All the members of the Commission shall sit together whenever issues of general importance are to be considered. However, in any matter relating to individuals or a few persons only the Chairman can appoint a smaller Committee consisting of one or more members as he decides.

18. The first four members of the Commission will be given the same salaries, benefits and allowances which they were getting on the last day when they were in service. They will also be given traveling and
such other allowances as the Chairman decides if they have to travel to other places away from Chandigarh. The fifth member, if a retired person, will also get the same.

19. We make it clear that this Commission is different from the Armed Forces Tribunal in the following ways :

1. The Commission is only a recommendatory body and not an adjudicatory body. Hence it is open to the Central Government to accept or not to accept its recommendations, though of course since such recommendations will be coming from a high powered body the Central Government must give due weight to the same.

2. Whereas the Armed Forces Tribunal can only decide cases in accordance with the rules, the Commission can recommend even change of the rules where it feels that the same are defective or inadequate. In other words, the Commission is not confined to following relevant rules relating to service conditions, pension, etc. but it can recommend change of the same where it feels that the same are defective or inadequate.

20. We further direct all authorities in India, Civil or Military (including the Secretary, Defence, Union of India, and the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Staffs) to extend all cooperation to the Commission to enable it to discharge its functions effectively.

21. The notification constituting the Commission as provided above will be issued by the Central government forthwith.

22. The claim of the petitioner in this case shall stand referred to the Commission. The Registry of this Court shall send copies of the papers of this case forthwith to the members of the Commission nominated by us, and the petitioner's claim shall be considered expeditiously. Claims of other armed forces personnel (serving or retired) should also be considered expeditiously.

23. List this case again on 7.2.2011.

...................................J. (Markandey Katju)

..................................J. (Gyan Sudha Misra)
New Delhi; 15 Nov, 2010
(SOURCE - Indian Military service Benefits blog)


  1. Injustice with Honorably RETIRED officers OF TERRITORIAL ARMY with Gratuity

    1.grant of EXSERVICEMAN status to the officers of Territorial army alike Non pensioner SSCO
    2. Extension of Limited medical facility at Military hospital. to the families & officers OF TERRITORIAL ARMY alike Non pensioner SSCO & not covered under ECHS.
    INTRODUCTION Amended prevailing definition of EXSERVICEMAN— as Amended vide presidential sanction accorded vide MOD GOI letter dated 26 sept 1996.
    “any person who has been released from service after completing the specified period of engagement(SSC Officers), otherwise than at his own request or by any of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or Inefficiency and has been given a Gratuity”.
    Officers in the TERRITORIAL ARMY are holding commission ,granted by the president of INDIA with designation of Rank corresponding to those of Indian commissioned officers of the regular Army , granted Gratuity alike Non pensioner SSCO on their honorable retirement\ Discharge\Release after 05 years of physical embodied service/10 years of commissioned service Yet are not granted EXSERVICEMAN status . ON CONTRARY Non pensioner Short Service Commissioned Officers . are treated as Ex-servicemen, on their discharge with gratuity after 05 year commissioned service.
    services of Territorial army personnel in comparison to other Indian armed FORCES personnel is neither inferior nor services required by the Indian Armed Forces are superior to Territorial army The Member of the Territorial Army being integral part of INDIAN ARMY are subject to INDIAN ARMY ACT 1950 governed by the same GOI, Rule\Order|/Act, DEFENSE SERVICE REGULATION, Regulations for the ARMY, PENSION REGULATIONS 1961 etc as applicable to the corresponding personnel’s of the India Army

    as per ARMY pension regulation Part-I 1961 Gratuity is an kind of pension However, TERRITORIAL ARMY Gratuity holders are excluded from consideration as Ex-servicemen without any valued reason
    to deny the status of EXSERVICEMAN to Honorably RETIRED (with gratuity ) officers of Territorial army is wholly arbitrary, discriminatory and violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

    Therefore, this is submitted before your good self with a sole aim to bring the most genuine grievances of Honorably Retired \Released\Discharged officers from Territorial Army with Gratuity to be included with in the purview of EXSERVICEMAN definition\ status alike Non pensioner SSCO.

  2. why u r not fighting for the jobs pending as backlog in various states..... exsericemen are alone fighting of their own since last 5 years for their rights of job against their pending back log.... u all are just interested in OROP and ur personnel benefits not for the jobs they are bound to get.....

  3. A MWO Gp I of Air Force gets a pension of 13590/= after 30 years of service. A MWO granted Honorary rank of Flying Officer for exemplary service gets a pension of Rs. 13500/= i.e. less than his junior. Is this not injustice ? Till 5th Pay Commission a MWO was getting a maximum salary higher than that of a Fg.Officer and starting salary of a Capt. Nows 6th C P C has not taken this into account while fixing pension for Honorary Officers. I hope Govt. will look into this and do justice. N Ramakrishnan.

  4. Gurdip Singh said...
    Consequent upon 6CPC recommendations, GOI MOD vide letter No.1(8)/2008-D(Pen/Policy)dated 12-6-2009 granted pension of a regularly promoted Naib Subedar to Havildar granted Honorary rank of Naib Subedar giving effect from 1-1-2006. But, PCDA(Pensions)has denied the benefit to pre-2006 retirees, although this relief was for all the Honorary Naib Subedars as no such cut off dated was given in the Government letter. This is injustice. More so, as even the Govt letter ibid have simultaneously amended the Pay Regulations deleting the para wherein additionl pay of Rs.100 was provided separately for Havildars granted Honorary rank of Naib Subedar. Thereby, it was crystal clear that that Government letter clearly meant to apply it on all the Honorary Naib Subedars without any division by cut off date. Can this matter be taken up by the IESM Forum with the concerned authorities.

  5. After retired from the defence service their Provident account are closed. here my opinion is there , after retiring from defence service and joining new career in civil. they should get new account of pf number in civil so that they can contribute here and have benefit of pf.

  6. Why Honareble Armed Forces Tribunal Orders are not implemented? Who is responsible ? I have done 17 years 06 months job in Army Postal Service but ex serviceman status not given to me. Like me there thousands/lacs of personnel of Ex APS not given ESM Status. In Gujarat DSSA Board Ahmedabad is not giving identity cards to APS pers. My Army No is 8371614-H Ex Warrant Officer J D Patel. Please do some thing for APS pers. God will bless you. We all requesting with folded hands. This very shameful for Indian Army.

    1. Mr Patel, dont beg with folded hands to this politicians and Bureaucrats - for not doing any fault except joining in the Armed forces. Once again be proud and dont let u down. ramanans

    2. APS personnel are ex serviceman only if awarded pension of any kind fm ARMY as per definition of ex serviceman

    3. u r short of 2 months and 23 days Mr Patel. approach AFT. best of luck

    4. APS personnel are eligible for ECHS also. condition should have completed 6 months service prior to 14/04/1987, will get ESM Idy card as Ex-servicemen and should be Postal Dept pensioners.

  7. Sir, the difinition of ESM has been changed for APS personnel as per AHQ letter, ESM given to those who enrolled prior to six months 14 Apr 1987. As such Armed Forces Tribunal Chandigarh has given judgement in favour of total 60 (sixty)ex APS personnel and they got ESM status. There after NK Bachisingh Bisht and 40 others also win the case. But what about of after 14 Apr 1987 is lingering. This enomaly can be solved in Armed forces tribunal only. My self was enrolled on 21 Jan 1987 and SOS on 30 Jul 2004. I have Done 17 years 06 Months job but six months prior to 14 Apr 87 not completed.

    1. May be u r short of 2 months and 23 days, to complete 6 months prior to 14th April 2987. approach AFT. best of luck.