Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Delhi High Court directs Indian Air Force to pay arrears of pro rata pension within 12 weeks

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Delhi High Court has directed Indian Air Force (IAF) to pay arrears of pro rata pension within 12 weeks and continue paying it to the Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) / Persons below Officer Rank (PsBOR) of the Defence Services.

The decision came from the division bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon after hearing the bunch of pleas filed by 40 Defence personnel aggrieved by the letter/circular of February 19, 1987 issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) granting the benefit of pro rata pension only to Commissioned Officers of the Defence Services and not to Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) / Persons Below Officer Rank (PsBOR) of the Defence Services. The court termed it as discriminatory.

Needless to state, the officers in each of the petitions are NCOs/ PsBOR who joined the Indian Air Force (IAF) as Airmen/Corporal.

The counsels for the IAF reasoned that award of pro rata pension carries with it, a financial burden of Rs 44 crores per month and of Rs 250 crores in payment of arrears.

In response the high court referred to All India Judges Association Vs. Union of India (1993) 4 SCC 288; State of Mizoram Vs. Mizoram Engineering Service Association (2004) 6 SCC 218 and State of Rajasthan Vs. Mahindra Nath Sharma (2015) 9 SCC 540, holding that the State cannot take a plea of financial burden to deny the legitimate dues.

The court has directed to pay to each petitioner, arrears of pro rata pension, from the date of discharge, till the date of payment, and to, with effect from the month of March, 2021 commence payment of future pro rata pension to each of the petitioners. If the arrears are not paid within twelve weeks as aforesaid, the same will also carry interest at 7% per annum, from the expiry of twelve weeks, till the date of payment.

Read the judgment here;


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