Acting on Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne’s letters which virtually blamed ministry bureaucrats for scuttling implementation of a Supreme Court order on rank pay, Union Defence Minister A K Antony on Friday met his ministry and military brass on the issue and decided to refer the views from the Armed Forces and the civilian executive on the issue to the Attorney General.
Noting that the apex court order on the rank pay in the Major A K Dhanapalan case should be implemented “in letter and spirit”, Antony told both the bureaucrats and the Armed Forces top brass to send their views on the rank pay anomaly to the ministry by next week, so that it could be forwarded to Attorney General G E Vahanvati for an opinion.
Apart from Antony and Browne, Army Chief General Bikram Singh, Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi and Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur were present at the meeting.
The IAF chief, in his letters, had sought Antony’s intervention in rectifying the anomalies that were introduced in the payscales of the Armed Forces officers by bureaucrats while implementing the 1986 fourth Pay Commission report.
The Supreme Court verdict in favour of the Armed Forces personnel had come on September 4, 2012, in the now-popular Major Dhanapalan case that was first heard by the Kerala High Court and judged in his favour in 1998. The 12-week time to implement the latest order given by the court to the Defence Ministry ended six months ago.
As reported by Express on January 2, the Defence Ministry order on implementing the Supreme Court verdict was issued on December 27, 2012, and the Armed Forces found flaws in the interpretation of the court verdict in those orders.
Browne raised these flaws in his two letters to Antony, first written on January 18 and again on May 27.