The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has directed the Union government to grant one rank one pension or the same pension to personnel belonging to the same rank, irrespective of the date of retirement.
Deciding on the cases of Babu Ram Dhiman vs Union of India and Sohan Singh vs Union of India, the tribunal on Monday said, “It is quite clear that the State cannot lay down different criteria for grant of pension for same rank of officers and Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) on the basis of the cut-off date of retirement. All pensioners, irrespective of the date of retirement are entitled to (the) same pension.”
The judgment also said grant of unequal pay in the same rank was a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution that grants equal rights to all citizens.
The All India Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare Association, Chandigarh, under its legal aid scheme, filed these two cases seeking a direction to the Ministry of Defence to revise the pension of those who retired before January 2006 to put them on par with post-September 2008 pensioners.
Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of the association and Rajesh Sehgal, petitioners’ counsel, submitted that a Havildar who retired before January 2006 gets a pension of Rs. 4,060 per month while those retiring after September 2008 get Rs. 7,846. Similar are the cases of equivalent ranks of the Army, Navy and Air Force, they said.
Amar Preet Sandhu, the central government’s lawyer maintained that the matter was under the government’s consideration.