The Hon’ble Supreme Court ordered the immediate constitution of a separate commission to examine the pay / pension anomalies and other grievances of the defence services.
The functioning of the commission would be directly monitored by the Supreme Court. The Commission would comprise of Justice Kuldip Singh, Retired SC Judge as the Chairperson and would have as its members Justice SS Sodhi, General VP Malik, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi and one person to be nominated by the Government of India.
The Commission would independently look into the grievances of members of the defence services and the Government would have no say in the same.
The Government of India, in its affidavit, had only consented to refer the rank pay issue to the proposed Commission and did not agree to any other term of reference. The Court disregarded the affidavit alongwith the stand of the Government and also ruled that the rank pay issue would NOT be referred to the Commission since the orders had already been passed by the Supreme Court. The Court also refused to recall or modify its earlier orders on the rank pay issue and instead referred the review application preferred by the UoI to the Chief Justice for directions that it be placed before some other Bench.
A historic step indeed for the Armed Forces of India.
The salient features for the said Commission, as laid down by the Supreme Court in its order, are as follows :
(1) The Commission shall be called ‘Armed Forces Greivances Redressal Commission’
(2) The Commission shall look into all grievances forwarded to them in writing or email by serving and retired personnel.
(3) Commission shall frame schemes for rehabilitation of soldiers who are discharged at young ages.
(4) The term of the first Commission shall be two years, renewable at the option of the central govt.
(5) The Commission shall be based at CHANDIGARH. Central Govt to provide adequate infrastructure for the same.
(6) Last drawn pay and allowances of the members to be protected.
(7) The Commission shall also recommend change of rules if in its opinion the same are defective or inadequate.
(8) All civil and military authorities to extend full co-operation to the Commission.