Junk plan to pay defence pensions in instalments, SC tells government | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday remained firm on the withdrawal of the defence ministry’s January 20 decision to pay pension arrears to retired servicemen in four instalments and said that the letter could not have been issued by taking law into its (MoD’s) own hands and in the teeth of the apex court’s orders directing full disbursement of arrears by March 15.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala told attorney general R Venkataramani, “The letter was issued by taking law into its own hands. Unless the defence ministry withdraws the January 20 letter, we will ask the defence secretary to appear in person before the court.”
When the AG said that it involved huge financial outgo and pleaded that the order dirfecting payment of entire arrears required moderation, the bench said, “We will consider your plea for more time to pay the pension arrears only after the ministry withdraws the letter.” The AG said Rs 2,000 crore would be disbursed towards payment of portions of arrears by March 31.
Appearing for ex-servicemen pensioners, senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi said that the Union government has been repeatedly stalling payments despite clear directions from the SC. “Between 2019 and today nearly four lakh pensioners have died awaiting what is statutorily due to them.” The SC said even if some pensioners have unfortunately passed away, the pension dues would have to be paid to their widows and kin.
The SC asked the AG to give details by Monday on the quantum of money needed for payment the pension arrears to the retired personnel and the modalities to be adopted for prioritising payments to different categories of pensioners. “Some of the categories could be the pensionary dues for widows of ex-servicemen, those retired personnel who are above 75 years etc,” the bench said.

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