Coming down heavily on government officials over their apathetic attitude in interpreting rules and directives, the full Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has granted relief to central government pensioners who retired before 2006. It has allowed their petition seeking parity of their pension with that of similarly placed employees who retired in 2006 and after.
Anomalies in pay and pension fixation consequent to implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission had resulted in pre-2006 retirees drawing pension lower than post-2006 retirees. The CAT decision affects thousands of central government employees.
The CAT has held that the term “minimum of pay in the pay band” would mean minimum of pay corresponding to the scale held at the time of retirement and not minimum of the entire pay band itself as interpreted and implemented by the government through a clarification.
The Sixth Pay Commission had created four broad pay bands. Each band had, within it, several different scales corresponding to the rank and grade of an individual.
The trouble had arisen when the pension of the individuals concerned was fixed at the minimum of the entire pay band instead of the minimum of the scale corresponding to his rank.
“The CAT judgment is on the same lines as the decision of the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in the SS Matharu Vs UOI case,” Maj Navdeep Singh, a local lawyer dealing with service matters said.
“It would go a long way in bridging the gap between pre-2006 and post-2006 pensioners,” he added.
CAT observed, “What is worse is that there is no application of mind even at the level of Director and Secretary, who merely sign the note and the clarification is issued after obtaining finance concurrence and approval of Minister of State (PP), without going back to the Cabinet for such a modification.”
NOTE:For CAT's complete Order, please see the following Blog:
Gurkirpal Singh Sekhon