Seventy-year-old Baldev Singh, of Dera Bassi area of Punjab, who was injured while fighting in the 1965 India-Pakistan war, is not getting pension in accordance with his rank.
Singh, who was given the rank of Honorary Naib Subedar before his retirement from the Army in 1971, is paid at least Rs 1,500 less each month as pension and is also waiting for arrears of nearly Rs 2 lakh due to him since 2006 when the other army personnel got substantial hikes in their salaries in accordance with the recommendations of the sixth pay commission.
Singh is not the only one who is not getting his due. Each day, a number of retired armed personnel holding the rank of Honorary Naib Subedars, have been approaching the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) seeking a hike in their pensions.
However, even though the Armed Forces Tribunal, in some cases, has directed the Army to release the pension to the Honorary Naib Subedars as per their due, the retired army personnel have reported back to the Tribunal that its orders are not being followed by the Defence Ministry.
On January 13, Honorary Naib Subedar Munshi Ram and three other petitioners moved the Armed Forces Tribunal seeking action that the Army comply with earlier orders of the Tribunal to release to them the pension as per their rank.
Through the contempt petition, 63-year old Munshi Ram, resident of Samoh area of Himachal Pradesh brought before the notice of the Tribunal that despite its directions that the Army make him payments as per his due within three months of the date of order issued on January 20, 2012, this was not done.
The other petitioners, Jagdish Singh Chandel of Bilaspur area of Himachal, Honorary Naib Subedar Surender Kumar Thakur of Baggi area of Himachal and another petitioner, Jagdish Singh Chandel of Chotti Badwar area of Himachal also moved against the officers in charge of records (OIC) of their respective units of the Army Medical Corps, Punjab regiment and Dogra regiment, seeking the implementation of earlier orders by the Tribunal to grant them the necessary increase in pension.
Not only this, the Armed Forces Tribunal has earlier allowed petitions by the retired Honorary Naib Subedars for granting them pension as per their due.
The Armed Forces Tribunal, in its order dated July 31, 2012, allowed the petition by Honorary Naib Subedar Dalel Singh and the bench comprising Justice N P Gupta, Judicial member, and Lt Gen (retd), N S Brar, administrative member, held that necessary calculations and actual payments be made to the petitioner within a period of three months.
A similar petition filed by Honorary Naib Subedar, Kaka Singh was allowed, with the Armed Forces Tribunal observing that the entitlement of grant of pension of Naib Subedar was earlier also allowed by the Tribunal through the judgment passed on February 8, 2010 in the case of Virendar Singh versus Union of India.
Advocate Abhimanyu Sharma, who has been fighting the cases of entitlement of increased pension of Honorary Naib Subedars, said that the Defence Ministry rarely goes by the orders of the Tribunal asking it to increase the pension of the retired army personnel.
“While the increase in pension of the Honorary Naib Subedars who retired after January 1, 2006 is being granted. Those who retired prior to 2006 are not been given the benefits. This is even as they approach the Tribunal and get orders in their favour,” he said.
Government and private advocates said that each day, a large number of cases are being filed at the Armed Forces Tribunal by the Honorary Naib Subedars who seek an increase in their pension.
Government advocate, Captain Sandeep Bansal, said, “Each day I argue in 4-5 cases and we concede the cases before the Tribunal.”
Advocate Lt Col (retired), S N Sharma, said that in the last two months, he has filed at least 40 cases in which the Honorary Naib Subedars have sought an increase in their pension. He said that it is difficult for him to fend for his family with the less than Rs 10,000 as pension he gets from the Army. A widower, he has to sustain his two daughters, who were dealt with harshly by fate.
“One of my daughters is a widow while the husband of other is a paralytic. I have to sustain a large family and it gets difficult from the money which I am getting as pension,” he said.
The 70-year-old soldier of Sikh Light Infantry said that he deserved a better deal, given the condition his family is now in.
“I received a bullet in the chest which left me incapacitated to work in the Army. I retired prematurely from service after I fought the 1965 war and was hospitalised,” he said.
He adds that he has also represented the Army in different international sports. “I have taken part in the high and long jump as well as long race in countries like Egypt,” he said.
The Defence Spokesman did not respond to queries over the delay in releasing the pension of the retired Honorary Naib Subedars.
via Indian Express.