The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the government to re-fix the pay scale of of army officers affected by the fourth pay commission which would now entail a payout of Rs. 1,600 crore to the exchequer.
The order will benefit a large number of officers who were in the rank of Captain to Brigadier in the army and equivalent ranks in the Air Force and Navy, between January 1, 1986 and January 1,2006, according to counsel Aishwaraya Bhatti, representing the officers.
The apex court also directed the Centre to pay interest at the rate of 6% from January 1, 2006, to all the officers, whether or not they have filed any petition before any of the High Courts or Benches of Armed Forces Tribunal, within 12 weeks from on Tuesday.
The bench directed that all pending petitions before any of the High Courts or Benches of Armed Forces Tribunal, by similarly-placed officers, will be governed by this order.
A three-judge bench of justice RM Lodha, justice TS Thakur and justice Anil R Dave, passed the order while dismissing an application filed by the Centre for recall and modification of March 8, 2010 order.
By the March, 2010 order, the apex court had agreed with the reasoning of the Kerala high court in the case of Major Dhanapalan and directed proper fixation of rank pay from January 1,1986 and interest at the rate of 6% per annum.
The officers had contended that there was a wrong fixation of rank pay awarded by the Fourth Pay Commission in which the element of rank pay was introduced for all ranks from Captain to Brigadier in the Army and their equivalent ranks in the Air Force and Navy, in addition to pay in the integrated scale.
However, at the time of fixation, the rank pay was first deducted to arrive at the total emoluments and thereafter added after fixation in the integrated scale. This ensured that the final fixation of the total pay of the officer became at par with his civilian counterpart and the edge was neutralised during fixation.