The Chandigarh bench of Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) on Thursday issued notice on seven petitions challenging the denying of reservist pension to the naval personnel who after more than 10-year service were contracted to be placed in the fleet reserve for 10 years.
The All-India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AIEWA) has filed the petitions on behalf of former sailors Gurmit Singh, Atma Ram Sharma, Onkar Chand, Kuldip Singh, Lal Singh, Om Parkash and Darshan Singh, whose reservist pension claim the naval authorities have rejected on the ground that they were not drafted in the fleet reserve after active service.
The navy held them not entitled to reservist as well as special pension under its 1964 regulations. AIEWA chairman Bhim Sen Sehgal represented all naval personnel in the hearing, as the association had taken up their cases with authorities concerned many times earlier.
The sailors submitted before the bench that they had been enrolled for 10 years of active service initially along with 10 years as fleet reserve. The navy took the plea that they had never been transferred to the reserve service and, so, could not count the fleet reserve service. That’s because the provision was abolished in 1976, state the petitions.
The bench observed that the respondents could not change the terms and conditions of the original enrolment unilaterally as they were bound by the promissory estoppels evolved by the Indian court and crystallised in various decisions of the Supreme Court.
The bench comprising justice Rajesh Chandra (judicial member) and air marshal SC Mukul (retd) (adminstrative member) issued notice of motion to the Ministry of Defence, chief of the naval staff and others for March 25.