A delegation of retired army officers led by Gurdaspur member of parliament Partap Singh Bajwa met union defence minister AK Antony to stress on the long-pending demand of One Rank One Pension.
The delegation also submitted a memorandum to the minister highlighting the problems being faced by the military officers and jawans.
"Prior to the Third Central Pay Commission, the pension of Armed Forces personnel was regulated exclusively keeping in view the peculiarity and gravity of the service conditions which a soldier is subjected to in times of peace, and the danger to which he is exposed to during war," said Bajwa adding that, "the then government, appreciating their contribution to our motherland, decided to keep their status and living standards quite high without comparison with civilian employees but the Third Central Pay Commission reversed this trend leaving the defence personnel at a loss and the subsequent pay commissions have only made matters worse."
"We have apprised the minister of the demand of the ex-servicemen that there should be One Rank One Pension (OROP) and we have also apprised him of the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Chandigarh in the cases of Babu Ram Dhiman versus Union of India and Sohan Singh versus Union of India, where in its judgment, it said that the grant of unequal pay in the same rank was a violation of the principles of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution.
The Tribunal further added that the state could not lay down different criteria for grant of pension for same rank of officers on the basis of cut-off date of retirement," he added.
He further said, "Considering the disparity between duties of defence personnel and their civilian counterparts, due recognition and respect is not being given to them, the demand of one rank one pension is justified and long overdue. Even the standing committee on defence has recommended the inclusion of OROP."
Members of the delegation included Brig (Retd) KS Kahlon, Brig (Retd) MPS Bajwa, Col (Retd) Dharam Singh and Col (Retd) Ajay Opal, all of whom have been fighting for issues relating to welfare of defence personnel including voicing the demand for One Rank One Pension
The other issues which were raised in the memorandum include increasing the quota for youth in armed forces from border districts particularly in Punjab, early resolving the anomalies in the sixth pay commission, establishing a National Commission for Military Veteran Affairs on the lines of the minority commission, ensuring equitable representation of ex-servicemen in all central boards, corporations and PSU's, using the skills of ex-servicemen in training and raising battalions of National Disaster Relief and Environment Protection Forces nomination of military veterans to the Rajya Sabha.