Armed forces personal JCO/NCO having 10 year of service are entitled for pro rata pension from Army/Navy/Air Force like Officers on abosrption in PSU/goverment service
The Armed Forces personal (Especially JCO and Ors ) who have put in minimum 10 yeras of service and were absorbed in Public Sector units are now entitled for pro rata pension of their earlier service despite having not completetd 15 yeras of pensionalble service. The discrimination between commissisoned officers and JCO /ORs struck down by the Hon'ble High Court being in violation of Article 14 of Constitution of India
There can be no doubt that in terms of Regulation 121, for the purposes of regular pension a PBOR in the IAF would be entitled to earn pension only after completing 15 years of minimum qualifying service. In fact that was the very question that arose for determination in the context of the Army in Ram Singh Yadav v. Union of India (supra). However, in the present case we are not concerned with the issue of grant of regular pension but pro rata pension. Regulation 121 is silent on the aspect of pro rata pension. It is circular/letter dated 19th February 1987 that provides for it but confines the benefit to Commissioned Officers subject to the stipulation that the officer must have completed 10 years of service and must have been absorbed in a PSU thereafter. The Petitioner here fulfils both criteria but is denied the benefit only because he was a PBOR/NCO. 20. A weak attempt was made by learned counsel for the Respondents to suggest that the Petitioner was not permanently absorbed in Air India and therefore his case may stand on a different footing. Apart from the fact that this is factually incorrect, the question really is whether there is any rational basis for holding a NCO/ PBOR like the Petitioner disentitled to pro rata pension in terms of the letter/circular dated 19th February 1987, once such PBOR has fulfilled all other conditions for grant of pro rata pension viz., completion of ten years of regular service in the Defence Services followed by absorption in a PSU. The Court is unable to find any such justification or rational basis being put forth by the Respondents to justify the discriminatory treatment. The explanation put forth that grant of the benefit to Ex-Sergeant Kalan was because his was “a special case” and should not be treated as a precedent, and on that basis to deny the Petitioner who is identically placed the same relief, does not stand legal scrutiny. 21. With the Respondents failing to answer the principal challenge by the Petitioner to discriminatory part of the circular/letter dated 19th February 1987, the Court has no hesitation in holding that the denial in terms of the said letter/circular of the benefit of pro rata pension to PBORs/NCOs like the Petitioner is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
22. The Court accordingly sets aside the letter dated 6th June 2016 issued by the Respondents as well as the letter dated 26th July 2016 issued by the MoD rejecting the Petitioner’s request for grant of pro rata pension. A direction is issued to the Respondents to grant the Petitioner pro rata pension from the date of his discharge from the IAF in terms of the circular/letter dated 19th February 1987. The consequential orders be issued within a period of eight weeks. The arrears of pro rata pension to be paid to the Petitioner within a period of twelve weeks thereafter. A failure to comply with the above direction would entail the Respondents having to pay simple interest at 6 % p.a. on the arrears till the date of payment. 23. The petition is disposed of in the above terms. Order be issued dasti.