Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Centre to contest tribunal order on military pay
by Dinakar Peri
The Defence Ministry Says it (AFT) has no authority and the ruling is ‘judicial overreach’
The Defence Ministry has decided as a matter of principle to challenge in the Supreme Court the ruling of the Armed Forces Tribunal to grant non-functional upgrade (NFU) for the armed forces.
While the government is not against the upgrade for the services, its challenge is on principle as a tribunal has no authority to take such a decision. It is “judicial overreach”, a senior Ministry official said.
Last December, the Principal Bench of the tribunal in New Delhi granted the upgrade to the armed forces personnel in pay and allowances in response to a petition filed by over 160 officers. The upgrade has been one of the core anomalies raised by the services in the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, which are yet to be implemented for them.
The official said the Defence Ministry had been open to granting the upgrade to the services and it was being looked into as part of the four core anomalies raised by them.
“The Ministry is waiting for the elections to get over. They will appeal later this month,” another official said.
The upgrade entitles all officers of a batch who are not promoted to draw the salary and grade pay that the senior-most officer of their batch would get after a certain period. For instance, batch mates of a Secretary to the Government of India who have not been promoted will be entitled to the same pay after a certain time lapse.
The Sixth Pay Commission had granted the upgrade to most Group ‘A’ officers but not the military. Since then, the armed forces had been demanding a one-time notional upgrade to ensure parity.
However, the Seventh Pay Commission (SPC) gave a mixed verdict on it and the issue has since been referred to the Anomalies Committee. A decision is expected by March-end, sources said.
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