New Delhi: The defence ministry has decided to contest in court hundreds of cases of disability pension of retired officers and jawans. Its decision has contradicted its own stand as well as a Supreme Court judgement that advised it not to appeal against “settled matters”.
The Tribune in its news report said, the Army’s Adjutant General’s branch, in a letter to legal cells of all commands, has said that “as directed by the competent authority in the MoD, writ petitions be filed in the jurisdictional high court”. These petitions will be against judgments of various Armed Forces Tribunals (AFTs).
The move is oppositee to what happened in the past. In December 2014, the SC took up 900 appeals filed by the government against verdicts by AFTs and high courts favouring disabled soldiers. The SC dismissed all appeals on a single day.
In July 2015, then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar questioned the move to challenge the verdicts favouring disabled soldiers, military widows and old pensioners. He constituted a high-level committee of experts directly under him to objectively recommend reduction of litigation. The same year in November, the ‘Defence Ministers Committee of Experts’ said these were “ego-fuelled” litigations initiated against own employees and former employees.
The committee recommended withdrawal of all appeals, especially those involving disabled soldiers. The committee also pointed out the link between stress and strain of military service, resulting in aggravation of disabilities among soldiers, and also its effect on mental health.