Divine justice for Naval Reservists by Supreme Court of India

Divine Justice for Naval personnel not placed on reserves due to change of policy in 1976
This is a case wherein the Indian Navy tried its hand in enthusiastically getting the reservist pension granted by the Chennai Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal to an old sailor set aside by the Supreme Court but ended up with an order for grant of ‘Special Pension’ in favour of all similarly placed personnel, irrespective of whether they have approached Courts or not.

The Navy had a system of 10 years active service followed by 10 years in the fleet reserve similar to the colour + reserve scheme of the Army & the Air Force. Reservist Pension was admissible to such personnel after 15 years of combined active and reserve service. In the year 1976 however, the system of placement on reserve fleet was discontinued and all those who were on rolls (even those who had joined before 1976) were released after 10 years thereby resulting in non-grant of pension to some of such sailors.

The Chennai Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal however held in the case of one such sailor that such sailors were entitled to reservist pension since it was not these personnel who had opted out but it was the Navy which discharged them on change of policy. But on the other hand, the Principal Bench of the Tribunal dismissed such claims by similarly placed sailors. The claim for ‘Special Pension’ which is granted to personnel with 10 years of service who are released on ‘reduction in establishment’ was also not accepted for the affected sailors.

Thereafter while the Navy challenged the order of the Chennai Bench of the Tribunal against the grant of Reservist Pension, the sailors led by TS Das whose cases were dismissed by the Principal Bench, also challenged the denial of pension.

The Supreme Court in a detailed order has agreed that such sailors are not entitled to Reservist Pension essentially for the reason that even under the erstwhile system, placement on fleet reserve was not mandatory and was only to be effectuated ‘if required’. However, on threadbare examination of the issue, the Supreme Court has reached the conclusion that discontinuing the system of active-reserve service amounted to reduction of establishment and such personnel would definitely be entitled to ‘Special Pension’. Consequently, the Court has ordered that Special Pension be released to all such affected sailors, not just limited to those who had filed cases before the Tribunal.

One ideally would have expected the top Naval brass to come to the rescue of such sailors, some in extreme old age, who had been denied reservist pension due to sudden change in policy by convincing the Government to come up with a scheme to help such sailors tide over difficulties in the twilight of their lives, but instead, they chose to fight tooth and nail against benefits granted to one such sailor. It can also be said with due certainty that the Navy would have not even informed the Supreme Court that a Committee of Experts constituted by the Raksha Mantri had already rendered a positive recommendation for such personnel as far as their pension is concerned.

But then, divine justice by the Court wherein not just the litigants, but all such affected sailors would now have a comparatively comfortable life in the few years that they are left with. One can only hope that the few such personnel who are now living are identified at the earliest by the Navy and the decision given effect to without posing any further hyper-technical impediments.

About the author

Advocateji.Com publishes problems of public & provides free advice in 24 hours on its web-site at New Delhi

8 Comments

  • Ramachandrarao Mohan says:

    Dear all, Recently i have met commodore Mellu , I strongly to tell that, the message pass to me is none from 10 year service released will be paid reservist as well special pension.This to note that recorded. Why i am pointing out this is no one clear of the B….I mean British Language. Every one assume the meaning differently. Let us take Reservist : The forces respective on completion of given service engagement kept on stand by and services will be utilized as and when required / emergencies. The reserve sure for other than medically released and the respective needed shall undergo necessary fitness check when reservist on call duty.So for non from Services come out and communicate on reports available.We have to await and watch.Why this guys still behind not using National Language to understand and play tricks.

    View Comment
  • Ramachandrarao Mohan says:

    Dear SIr, I have also applied for special pension and hand carry to the CABS – Mankurd, Mumbai and took an acknowledgement signature for receipt. On report item 25 Thus understood , all sailors appointed prior to 3rd July , 1976 and whose tenure of initial active service / empanelment period expired on or after 3rd July,1976 may be eligible for a special pension under regulation 95. EVEN THOUGH MAY BE APPLIED STILL OK………………IF WE READ THE CONTINUATION …………….subject , however , to fulfilling other requirements what is written no way applicable and that is what reservist applied. / WE HAVE TO AUDIT THE JUDGES ARE GOOD IN ENGLISH . BELOW AVERAGE JUDGES OF SC OFINDIA.

    View Comment
  • P.J.MANUEL says:

    GOD BLESS YOU MOHAN. FOR YOUR POST DATED 18/11/2016 at8.58 pm.it will be usefull for many sailors like me.

    View Comment
  • P.J.MANUEL says:

    LET US ALL JOINT TOGETHER AND FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS.THE ALMIGHTY WILL FIGHT FOR US .

    View Comment
  • Ramachandrarao Mohan says:

    Dear all, As for as 10 years release respectives from services is concerned respective individual and families are affectedThis being an incident to PEOPLE and counts on HIGH POTENTIAL incident seviority.Many of the respective and the families are no more and all of the respectives on below poverty line and many of the respectives and families not known of living.Total negligence what we see in the report about dues left out and to be paid for the 10 years release sailors instead immediate rehabilitation what the English meaning yet to under stand on the reports shared between Supreme Court and the navy. On identifying negligence small or big why delay for weeks on life saving on people of 10 years release sailors. Hello let this guys shared the report translate in to national language to understand each other report and announce at the earliest. SAVE PEOPLE. PEOPLE ARE IMPORTANT

    View Comment
  • Mkg panicker. says:

    Sir. With the application and document required to be attached? For the special pension.please comment. Thanks

    View Comment
  • Lakhbir Singh says:

    Sir

    What is latest by govt.in response to supreme court judgement of 27 Oct 2016 regarding release of special pension to sailors with 10 years service in Indian navy.

    Lakhbir

    View Comment
  • Sanjay says:

    Can this Ediot Commodore Mellu know what the Supreme court judgement mean?
    If he challenges the judgement in writing . R.mohan must have asked him to given in writing that no action will be taken on verdict.
    These Naval officers are thinking themselves that they are laws into themselves and there is nothing beyond them.
    For these poor sailors we should go to Anna Hajare and Mr Ram Jethamalani .
    Any way this ediot Commodore should be court martialled for making his own rules and should be sent home (jail ) as soon as possible .
    He also feel shame in opposing the benefits to his own people , he disowns now.
    Such idiots should not have any responsible position .

    View Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *