Army chief, defence secretary get contempt notice over pension

April 9th, 2009 - 7:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday issued notices to army chief General Deepak Kapoor and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh for allegedly ignoring its order for removal of discrepancies in pensions.
A bench of Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph issued notices on a lawsuit filed by 19 retired army officers of major general rank.

The litigation alleged that the government has ignored a September 2008 Supreme Court order that there should not be any discrimination between officers of major general rank - those who retired before 1996 and those who retired after 1996.

In their lawsuit, the retired officers pointed out that the pension disparity had occurred due to implementation of the fifth pay panel report in a faulty way by the defence ministry.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel Nidesh Gupta said the anomaly had resulted in brigadiers, an army officer one rank lower than the major generals, retiring after 1996 getting more pensions than the major generals retiring before 1996.

Gupta told the court that retired officers are demanding that the minimum pay of major generals should be fixed a notch above the maximum pay of brigadiers for removal of the anomaly and disparity resulting in the pay structures of the retired army officers.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had in June 2005 ordered any disparity should be abolished but the defence ministry moved the Supreme Court challenging the ruling.

The apex court eventually in September 2008 upheld the high court ruling and ordered the government to fix the pensions of the retired army officers within three months.

The government, however, chose to challenge it through a review petition, which continues to lie in the apex court’s registry owing to some defects in the petition.

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