Dear Member applicants for AFT 12 & AFT 13,
We recently received a genuine query from one of our members as to why AFT 12 & AFT 13 aren’t combined as one case as these seem to be the same, to the extent of seeking the same relief and with near similarity in service criteria.
(Please not wherever the ranks Lt Col or Major appear in this post it includes equivalent ranks in the Navy and IAF)
My understanding and submission as the All India Co-ordinator on the legal premise from which the two TSEWA proposed cases, AFT 12 & AFT 13, have been set apart are as follows. An understanding of these may help in clarifying your query. Of course, the final opinion on this would rest with our Legal Counsel in the best interests of a favourable decision in both cases. We will leave that to the legal counsel so as to minimize our framework discussion here.
AFT 12. Here the basic premise is drawn out of the existing GoI and MoD orders on granting Lt Col Pension to Majors with more than 21 years commissioned service. The dividing line, which has brought about the inequality and which is the subject matter of the relief sought, is a calendar date, viz, 01 Jan 1996. While post 1 Jan 1996 retiree Majors, have been granted this higher pension of Lt Col, those who are pre-1 Jan 1996 retirees have not been granted the same.
Based on this evident inequality, a few Majors, who are pre 1 Jan 1996 retirees have been granted the higher pension on receiving a favourable verdict of the AFT/HSC. In this a better known case is that of Major KG Thomas. (OA 256/2011). Please access and read this case at the AFT Delhi website. www.aftdelhi.nic.in
Drawing out of this framework and the precedents established as law through the various verdicts as in the case of Major KG Thomas, AFT 12 has been filed with near identical legal propositions as that made out in the settled cases.
Therefore the necessity to have this as a separate case, viz, AFT 12, as it seeks to draw out from settled provisions of adjudication by the AFT/HSC . Means the minimum scope of confusion with the maximum likelihood of a favourable outcome.
AFT 13. Here our basic premise is drawn from Art 14 of Constitution; of equality. The inequality grows from a GoI/MoD Letter dated 14 Jan 2000, wherein Majors who complete 20 years of Commissioned Service are granted Lt Col (TS) pay. This is not a ‘promotion’ as in a promotion to Lt Col. This only changed the badges of rank. Such officers continued to perform duties as that of a Major, and held appointments in HQs that were tenable by Majors.
In effect what changed was the period of Commissioned Service for grant of Time Scale badges of rank of Lt Col. In that, from 21 years it was reduced to 20 yrs commissioned service; with there being no other difference, including no difference in pay (Lt Col Time Scale promotees continued drawing the Rank Pay of Majors) nor of duties and of tenable appointments.
AFT 13 seeks to submit that, the pre-Jan 2000 retiree Majors underwent same period of training as that of other post Jan 2000 Majors. The only difference being that such pre-Jan 2000 retiree Majors received no salary for period of training, while the post-Jan 2000 Majors did receive salary whilst under training in their academies. Therefore, for the same rank and same duties one group (Post Jan 2000 retirees) received pay during training and also derived a greater benefit at retirement, while the other group (Pre_Jan 2000) is denied the same, on the basis that the Govt changed the conditions. Such change is violative of Art 14 and detrimental and discriminatory in impact to some within the same class ((Majors) of pensioners, though it may not be by intent.
In a recent case filed by a septuagenarian Lt Cdr seeking the same relief, the learned Tribunal rejected the plea based on the GOI counsel’s contention that the changes the GoI brought in wef 1 Jan 2000, through abolition of the rank of 2Lt and that Cadets under training were paid salary in the last year of training, automatically reduced the years of service from 21 to 20 yrs for Majors to become Lt Cols (TS). We are wary of this.
The relief sought is that the non-receipt of salary during training, must not result in the exclusion of the one year period rendered under training, identical for both pre-1 Jan 2000 retiree and that for post 1 Jan 2000 retiree Majors, such that, these pre_1 Jan 2000 retiree Majors suffer hefty losses after retirement, (to the tune of >Rs 20000/- or more per month, as in 2017) and throughout the rest of their lives and that of their families thereafter. That while one group of the same class(Majors), based on a calendar date is granted benefit both at commissioning and at retirement, the other group within the same class of pensioners (Majors) is denied both benefits, while the two groups within a class continued to perform same duties and receive same pay while in service.
Therefore, the further submission is that when the GoI granted a higher pension to a Major with 21 yrs commissioned service,how could other Majors with same pay and duties be denied this after the govt altered the years of Commissioned Service to 20 yrs from 21 yrs, of its own accord, when no other change in actual performance of duties and pay for such Majors was affected.
We hope that the outline of the legal framework above, which TSEWA has submitted on behalf of all applicant members, highlights the difference and the necessity to file separate cases.
Additionally, another query on a case was received, particularly after its rampant and twisted variation being circulated on WhatsApp. In this recent case 15 applicants had sought the grant of Lt Col Pension to Majors and Equivalents and it was filed in AFT with the result that, while 11 of the officers who had more than 21 yrs Commissioned Service were granted the relief, the remaining four who had less than 21 yrs but more than 20 yrs commissioned service were declined, with leave to appeal before the HSC. This appeal has since been made and accepted by the HSC only last month. The hearings are expected some time in Jul-Aug. This info is from an applicant who is a party to the case. This officer was kind enough to share details with me, in confidence. While sharing details, he also advised me, that it was an error on their part to club >21 yrs and <21>20 yrs Commissioned Service in one appeal.
The above, reinforces my understanding, that two separate cases AFT 12 and AFT 13 need to be filed. Combining the two would be fatal to our cause.
Major Goswami (Retd)
TSEWA No 0127