A group of ex-servicemen moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre that arrears of the One Rank-One Pension scheme be paid to all eligible pensioners in one installment instead of four installments.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala is scheduled to take up the application filed by Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) through advocate Balaji Srinivasan for hearing on February 27.
The military veterans association has also sought the setting aside of the Centre's communication dated January 20, 2023 issued by the Ministry of Defence.
The communication had said that "arrears on account of revision of pension from July 1, 2019 till date of its implementation shall be paid by the Pension Disbursing Agencies in four yearly installments. However, all the family pensioners including those in receipt of special/liberalized family pension and all gallantry award winners shall be paid arrears in one installment".
The ex-servicemen have alleged that the Centre has unilaterally modified and sought to subvert the directions passed by this court in the last year's judgement dated March 16, 2022.
"Shockingly, this has been done after taking indulgence of this court and seeking extension over the last ten months, during which time several assurances of compliance were given to this court (while seeking repeated extensions in time) to the lakhs of eligible pensioners depending on the payment of arrears", the application has said.
The association said that approximately four lakh pensioners have died during the pendency of the petition and "several more would perish without seeing the fruits of the judgement dated March 16, 2022 if the respondents/ Union of India is not directed to comply with the judgement dated March 16, 2022, in time in as much as a majority of the pensioners are aged citizens".
On January 9, the top court granted time till March 15 to the Centre for payment of arrears of OROP to all eligible pensioners of the armed forces.
The top court had asked the Centre to ensure that all arrears are paid expeditiously to the pensioners of the armed forces and that there is no further delay.
It had granted liberty to ex-servicemen association to file an application if they feel aggrieved by any action of the Centre on payment of arrears of the OROP.
This was the second extension given by the top court to the Centre to pay the arrears after it had first moved the apex court in June last year and sought three months to compute and make payments in accordance with the March 16, 2022 verdict of the top court.
The top court's 2022 verdict had come on the plea filed by the IESM against the Centre's formula of calculating OROP.
The verdict had said in terms of the communication dated November 7, 2015, the benefit of OROP was to be effected from July 1, 2014 and the communication states that "in future, the pension would be re-fixed every five years".
"Such an exercise has remained to be carried out after the expiry of five years possibly because of the pendency of the present proceedings," the bench had said, adding, "We accordingly order and direct that in terms of the communication dated November 7, 2015, a re-fixation exercise shall be carried out from July 1, 2019, upon the expiry of five years.
"Arrears payable to all eligible pensioners of the armed forces shall be computed and paid over accordingly within a period of three months," the top court had said in its verdict.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
First Published: Feb 26 2023 | 8:26 PM IST