The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) issued notice on seven petitions challenging the denial of reservist pension to naval personnel who have served more than 10 years in active service and thereafter were placed in the fleet reserve for 10 years.
The All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AIEWA) 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 was rejected by the naval authorities on the ground that they were not drafted in the fleet reserve after active service rendered by them. Hence, they are not entitled to reservist as well as special pension under regulations of the Navy Regulations, 1964.
Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman AIEWA, appeared for the association and represented all naval personnel as the association had taken up the cases with the authorities concerned a number of times earlier.
The sailors submitted before the bench that all naval personnel were initially enrolled for 10 years as on active service with 10 years for the Fleet Reserve Service as per the term of contract entered into.
However, the navy had taken the plea while rejecting the representations that these personnel were never transferred to the reserve service and hence they could not count the Fleet Reserve Service, the provision of which was abolished in 1976, the petitions said.
The bench was further told that the respondents could not unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of original enrolment as they are bound by the promissory estoppel.
The bench consisting of justice Rajesh Chandra (judicial member) and Air Marshal SC Mukul (retd) (administrative member) constituted the bench and issued the notice of motion to the ministry of defence, Chief of Naval Staff and others for March 25, 2014.