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Pensioners to get arrears from Jan 2006

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Pensioners to get arrears from Jan 2006 
Apex court upholds earlier orders in favour of employees
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Supreme Court has dismissed the review petition filed by the Central Government wherein the government had prayed that the benefits of pension arising out of the rectification of anomalies of pre-2006 pensioners should be granted from September 2012 and not January 2006.

Consequently, all affected defence and civilian pensioners would now be entitled to arrears with effect from January 1, 2006, the date of implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission (SPC), and not just for the past about 14 months as was the government’s intention.

After the plea of the Central Government praying for release of pension arrears from September 2012 rather than January 2006 was dismissed by the Supreme Court in July this year, the Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) had referred the file for further action to the law and finance ministries, which then directed the DoPPW to file a review petition.

The controversy on implementation of the SPC recommendations had been simmering for defence as well as civilian pensioners since January 2006. The issue involved the interpretation whether pension would be based on the minimum pay within the pay-band (PB 1,2,3 or 4) or the minimum of pay of the pay-scale applicable to various grades and ranks. Each pay band consists of several pay scales. The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had however ruled in favour of pensioners and had directed re-fixation of pension from January 2006.

An anomaly committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary had finally corrected the anomaly but the arrears of the corrected pension were directed to be released by the government only with effect from September 24, 2012 rather than January 1, 2006.

When the decision of the CAT was challenged before the Delhi High Court, it was again directed by the High Court that arrears would flow from the date of inception of the anomaly, that is, January 1, 2006 and not September 24, 2012. The government had challenged the decision of the Delhi High Court by way of an SLP before the Supreme Court but the SLP was also dismissed.

A similar case filed by Maj Gen K Khorana for military pensioners is pending before the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal. Sources said the DoPPW had earlier supported the demands of pensioners but the same had been opposed by the Department of Expenditure in the Ministry of Finance.

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