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Supreme Court lays down payment deadlines for arrears under OROP scheme

The Supreme Court has given the deadlines to the Ministry of Defence for making payment of arrears under the One Rank One Pension scheme (OROP scheme) to all the retired military personnel/ family pensioners.

A bench comprising of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud along with Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala have laid down some directions in this regard.

The directions laid state that the family pensioners and gallantry award winners should be paid on or before April 30, 2023, in a single installment.

Another direction given was that all who were above 70 years of age should be paid on or before June 30, 2023.

A per the directions the Union also has an option for paying the entire due in one installment or spread it within the outer limit of June 30, 2023.

It has been mentioned that for all the remaining personnel, payments should be made in three equal installments – on or before August 31, 2023, November 30, 2023, and February 28, 2024.

The matter came from the judgement of March 2022 where the Top Court ihad upheld the OROP scheme that was introduced by the Central government through its notification of November 7, 2015.

In its judgement, the Court however had said that a refixation exercise must be conducted by the government for a period of 5 years with regard to pension payable to Army personnel as stated in the OROP policy in accordance with the November 7, 2015 notification.

It was then said that the arrears should be paid within 3 months, which was subsequently, extended by another 3 months in September 2022 and in January 2023, the Court granted another extension and directed that the payment be made by March 15.

The Centre after that issued a communication that the payment will be made quarterly in four installments.

It was after the Centre issued communication that the affected personnel then moved the top court demanding how the government could unilaterally alter the deadline set by the apex court.

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