Sunday, 25 September 2016

HC Issues Notice to Centre Over Lack of Hearings by Pay Anomaly Committee to Defence Services

A petition by Col Preetpal Singh Grewal says that the Supreme Court has already held that defence personnel should not be treated in a 'shabby manner' or denuded of rights that are available to other citizens.
HIGHLIGHTS

1 The petition could change the dynamics of civil-military relationship.
2 Committee shall take into account the views on anomalies affecting defence personnel: HC
3 No information was even given to defence service about the institution of the committee.

In a petition by a serving Colonel that could constructively change the dynamics of civil-military relationship by resolving trust deficit and ensuring the representation of all stakeholders before the Committee looking into the Seventh Pay Commission (7th CPC) anomalies, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice to the Central Government and has also directed that in the meantime the Anomaly Committee shall take into account the views on anomalies affecting defence personnel.

ANOMALIES COMMITTEES NOT GRANTING HEARINGS TO DEFENCE PERSONNEL

In his plea, Col Preetpal Singh Grewal has pointed out that the Government has constituted Anomalies Committees to look into 7th CPC recommendations and the said committees are granting hearings to civil employees, their associations and the civil establishment but not to defence personnel or even the defence services or establishment which ironically constitute the highest number of employees and pensioners. The writ petition avers that no information at all was even given to the defence services about the institution of the committee and it was through press reports that the fact came to be known that the Committee had held several meetings with civil employees.

DEFENCE PERSONNEL SHOULD NOT BE DENUDED OF RIGHTS: SC

The petition states that there rightly operates a statutory bar on military employees on forming associations and this fact should have resulted in the system being more sensitive for hearing the views of defence personnel, and hence not granting any opportunity of hearing or interaction even to the official defence establishment is against the principles of natural justice as ruled by Constitutional Courts. The plea also says that the Supreme Court has already held that defence personnel should not be treated in a 'shabby manner' or denuded of rights that are available to other citizens. 

PETITION SEEKS SUITABLE ALTERNATIVE PARTICIPATIVE MECHANISM 

It is also averred in the petition that even the Standing Committee on Welfare of Ex-servicemen which was ordered to hold meetings every three months by none less than the defence minister has not even held a single meeting thereby undermining political authority by lower officials. The petition has emphasized resolution of differences in a conciliatory manner by way of mature governance rather than ham-handed measures which increase the gap between various services. It states that lack of reaching-out by highest echelons of government and a perceived trust deficit leads to inimical elements taking advantage to the detriment of national interest by spreading discontentment through anecdotal hearsay in social circles and social media. 

Besides opportunity of hearing to affected stakeholders, the petition has sought the institution of a suitable alternative participative mechanism in view of the statutory bar on forming associations, which could meet at regular intervals wherein issues related to defence personnel could be discussed, reconciled and resolved by way of institutional representation. Indiatoday

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