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Home Constitutional News Supreme Court SC begins hearing on the allowances’ disparity to Indian military officers in Bhutan

SC begins hearing on the allowances’ disparity to Indian military officers in Bhutan

SC begins hearing on the allowances’ disparity to Indian military officers in Bhutan
A file photo of the Indian Army’s parade. Photo: Anil Shakya
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A plea citing disparity between the allowance paid to Indian military officers in Bhutan and the foreign allowances paid to the Ministry of External Officers Personnel (Indian diplomats and missionaries) in Bhutan comes up before the Supreme Court

A bench comprising of Justices N V Ramana and Mohan M Shantanagoudar has began hearing an appeal filed by the Union of India challenging the High Court decision which was in favour of the Indian military officers at Bhutan. The present appeal arises from the main issue, which is that the Commissioned and Non-Commissioned officers of the Indian Army, stationed in Bhutan, who were paid Bhutan Compensatory Allowance, had seen a huge disparity between the allowance paid to them and the Foreign allowances paid to the Ministry of External Officers Personnel (Indian diplomats and missionaries) in Bhutan. This was pointed out to be highly discriminatory and is in violation of Article 14 and Article 16 of the Indian Constitution. There used to be periodic revisions for the diplomats and other IFS officers with regards to their allowances, whereas, in the cases of military personnels, there were only two necessary revisions, in 2001 and 2005. These persons were deputed in high cost area in Bhutan, and it was found unreasonable as to why such a discriminatory approach was being carried out by the authorities.

It is also pertinent to mention that from the period of 1973 to 1997, there was equivalent allowance paid to both classes of Indians residing in Bhutan. The Cabinet had also come up with new decisions in 1999 where they had tried meeting the demands of the army officers by fulfilling their demands regarding allowances and the rates of deductions. But, the 1999 decision have not been put into practice till 2005. The High Court had directed the Government to implement the cabinet decision which shall be in force from 1999 in contrary to the Government’s resolution of implementing them after September 2005.

Presently, ASG Vikramjit Banerjee who appeared for the Centre argued that foreign allowance is governed by Indian Foreign Service Rules and  applies to Indian Foreign Service Officers. Also, the nature of the work between the two classes of Indians are completely different. Military persons are on deputation unlike the IFS officers. Even their sources of recruitment are different. These two sets of people should not be equated.

—Sankalan Pal

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  1. Now the ball is the Highest judicial organization, we in uniform have a great strength of endurance and always waited for positive results. Hopefully, the ovious and Crystal clear facts about prominent disparity can’t be concealed by sheer number PR and closeness with power circle. The Highest court has recently given some historic judgment, and proven to be authentic and strong guardian of Nation and justice. Hopefully, the fact that needs no highlight will be accepted and justice will prevail.
    Hope for the best!!!

  2. If the ASG hold’s the view that the two fifferent set of people should not be equated the he would noe any problem if either the Allowances being paid to IFS are reduced lesser than those being paid to Def Pers or those being paid to Uniformed Pers are increased to be more than that of IFS. As such there are strict restrictions on tenure of Def Pers & it is also quite short compared to other Cadres. The main thing is that the IFS is closer to the Establishment ie those in Power, are known to those who are various Pay Commissions & are de facto deciding their own renumeration’s. How else can you explain IAS getting two increments extra on joining & then one extra with each Promotion. That too when the Service has 50 % Job Reservation with all sorts & kind’s of Concession’s both in mental facultie’s as well as Physical Capacity with time bound promotion’s & NFU. Still they have the gumption to call themselves the Cream. Yes they are indeed, but very “Sour Cream” that has presided over the Utter Chaos, failure, despair & Disarray prevalent in each & every facet of life in the people of our Country since Independence. A Bureaucratic Iron Frame but totally Rusted & Corrupt.

  3. There should be no disparity.
    Why Army men should be deprived of the said rule of equality. It shows favoritism towards babus and disparity toward uniform/ OG.

    This is the core issue that Army is not having any sound and say.

    Let’s the honorable SC consider and decide how disparity can be curbed and equality can be restored in the larger intrest of the Justice.

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