The government treats army men shabbily when it comes to paying out pensions and other benefits to soldiers, the Supreme Court has said.
“This is a pittance. If this is the manner in which the army personnel are treated, it is extremely unfortunate,” a bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and A K Patnaik said on Thursday of a pension of Rs 1,000 (plus dearness allowance) given to a disabled soldier.
The court came down hard on the Centre and dismissed its appeal challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court direction to pay higher pension to C S Sidhu, a short service commissioned officer. Sidhu’s right arm had to be amputated after an accident while on duty at a high altitude post on November 21, 1970.
A short service commissioned officer serves the army anywhere from 5 to 14 years.
"The army personnel are bravely defending the country even at the cost of their lives and we feel they should be treated in a better and more humane manner by government authorities, particularly, in respect of their emoluments, pension and other benefits,” the court said.
The bench dismissed Additional solicitor General Parag P Tripathi’s arguments that the court should not increase the pension of the armyman.
“We regret to say that the army officers and army men in our country are being treated in a shabby manner by the government,” the court said. Sidhu, who was posted at a high altitude field area and met with an accident while discharging his duties, was granted a meagre pension, the court said. It ordered that Sidhu be paid arrears with 8 per cent interest per annum within three months.