OROP : Extra Constitutional authorities must be dealt with severely
OROP finally fructified in 2014 and was to be revised in 2019. Then a few officials in MoD, MoD (finance) decided to override the Government (Cabinet itself) decision itself. PCDA (pension) bowled a googly through the CGDA which was backed to the hilt by MoD and MoD (finance).
Due to the above extra constitutional authorities, immense hardship has been caused to the Ex Servicemen in getting their financial dues in their twilight years. Nearly a lakh have gone to heaven without even getting the dues while alive.
Finally Court did prevail and ordered what was obvious but once again the officials have tried to play GOD. Just imagine if even other departments start behaving in this manner? And what happens if the same rot spreads and seeps into the Armed Forces.
So this time, saying enough is enough the Supreme Court on Monday has come down heavily on the Ministry of Defence over its January 20 communication regarding payment of arrears of One Rank-One Pension (OROP) in instalments to eligible pensioners of the armed forces. A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud took exception to the letter issued by the secretary in the ministry, and directed him to file a personal affidavit explaining his position.
“You tell the secretary we are going to take action against him for that January 20 communication. Either withdraw it, or we are going to issue a contempt notice to the Ministry of Defense. Sanctity of the judicial process has to be maintained,” the bench also comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala said.
Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman told the court that the Ministry should be given time to carry out the exercise as per the court’s order.
The apex court posted the matter after Holi vacation. On January 9, the top court had granted time till March 15 to the Centre for payment of total arrears of OROP to all eligible pensioners of the armed forces.
Last month, the government has moved the top court seeking extension of time till March 15, 2023 for payment of arrears of OROP scheme to all eligible pensioners of the armed forces.
This is the second extension given by the top court to the Union government to pay the arrears after it had first moved the top court in June, last year and sought three months to compute and make payments in accordance with the March 16, 2022 verdict of the top court.
However some kind of exemplary action must be taken against three officials Financial Advisor MoD, CGDA and PCDA (pension), the least being compulsory retirement from service. Other senior officials in the loop must also be censured appropriately.