Monday, May 28, 2012

Rank Pay - A letter by Lt Gen Satish Kumar Bahri to Mr Salman Khurshid, Hon’ble Minister of Law & Justice

I refer to your kind letter of 6 Jan 2012 wherein you had assured that you “shall do the utmost at my command” to persuade your colleagues to right the wrongs done to the Armed Forces. I did not bother you for the last four months as I understood that you would be busy with the elections in UP.

Not having seen any change in the attitude of the govt I assume that you have been unable to persuade your colleagues to do anything in the intervening period, as they are in the hold of their respective bureaucrats. But I definitely expected that you would be able to ensure that your law officers do not play truant when matters concerning the soldiers are being progressed in the Supreme Court. The Rank Pay case on which the Court has already given a verdict on 8 Mar 2010 is being adjourned repeatedly due to the dilatory tactics of the bureaucracy who does not want the soldiers to get even their legitimate dues. I regret to say that your law officers are abetting them in this deplorable activity. Please take stock of the number of times they have sought adjournments either due to the govt needing more time to prepare its responses or the law officer being busy.

The last two hearings were postponed, latest being on 26 Apr 2012, because the AG was busy on another case. Is this indicative of the way Govt denies justice, even after the apex court has given a verdict? I am enclosing a synopsis of the slow progress the case has made in the last two years after the Supreme Court’s verdict. I know soldiers are reconciled to getting gallantry awards posthumously, but surely you don’t expect them to accept their legitimate emoluments posthumously! Obviously, there are a number of widows also who survive their husbands and  are affected by the insensitive behaviour of the govt. But who cares! I was shocked to read in the newspapers a few days ago that in your state UP, the chief secretaries had got themselves sanctioned the post of a domestic servant and driver even after their retirement, after having colluded in the maladminstration  of  its  hapless  people. Shame on a country that hands out such a raw deal to its armed forces who are called upon to pull the chestnuts out of the fire day after day for  politicians, bureaucracy, police, CWG and what have you. The country is aware that the last two services named pull out different kinds of chestnuts for the politicians and so have to be rewarded.

Mr Minister I seek your help in ensuring that this injustice is stopped as you do not need anyone else’s clearance. Our nation nearly tops the list of most corrupt countries and its mandarins are busy destroying the strongest and most vital institution in the country. They need to be reined in and made accountable to the nation. You may also direct your law officers to adhere to their code of conduct and not earn their fees for non-appearances. A couple of days ago I heard nearly everyone of our parliamentarians, on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Indian Parliament, say that democracy had survived in our country while it has or had disappeared in our neighbouring countries. Nobody believes that it has survived due their efforts which are totally geared to divide the nation along every possible faultline.  It is  entirely due to the sacrifices of the armed forces that democracy has survived here, despite all the bungling by the people in power to undermine it.

Mr Salman Khurshid
Hon’ble Minister of Law & Justice
402 A Wing, Shastri Bhawan
New Delhi 110001


Mr AK Antony                                             
Hon’ble Minister of Defence                          
9 Krishna Menon Marg                                  
New Delhi 110011   
Dr Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister
7 Race Course Road
New Delhi 110011

Mrs Sonia Gandhi
Chairperson UPA
10 Janpath
New Delhi 110001

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