Dear Ladies & Gentlemen,
As usual a long mail.
A brainstorming session was held at 1100 hrs in RSI, Secunderabad to firm up our plans to file a case in AFT to grant same benefit of fixation of higher pension given to 52 Maj Gens by Min of Def (ESW) to all officers from the rank of Lt to Brig and widows.
The brainstorming session considered all aspects. These are given in succeeding paras.
Select officers were requested to attend the brain storming session. We are fortunate to have Cdr Chandrashekhar (Retd) of Navy JAG Branch and Gp Capt CRR Sastry (Retd), a Law graduate were among the selected few who attended the brain storming session.
Admissibility of Case. After I gave developments right from 1982 when the hon’ble Supreme Court constituted Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice himself went over DS Nakara Vs UOI case, followed by case of Maj Gen SPS Vains Vs UOI in 2008, further followed by AFT Chandigarh judgment granting higher pension than minimum of Rs 30,350 to 52 Maj Gens and finally conditional letter of Min of Def (ESW) directing PCDAs to notionally fix pay of pre – 2006 Maj Gens corresponding to the pay scales in 6th CPC and fixing pension thereafter by taking into consideration number of increments earned in the rank of Maj Gen before retirement, the officers present there agreed that we have a strong case to file in AFT to get similar benefit of enhancement of pension for all officers from rank of Lt to Brig and their widows.
Jurisdcition of AFT. Cdr Chandrashekhar (Retd) of JAG Branch of Navy informed that he joined few litigants in a case filed in AFT Chandigarh giving his Hyderabad address. It was accepted. Similarly Lt Cdr PS Nath (Retd) informed, he also in a similar manner joined a number of litigants who filed a case in AFT Principal Bench, New Delhi giving Hyderabad address. The reason given is CAUSE OF GRIEVANCE/ACTION. This grievance has arisen because Min of Def located in New Delhi has by incorrect fixation of pension of all pre - 2006 Officers at minimum of scale ignoring number of increments earned before retirement in the last rank held violating judgment of hon’ble Supreme Court in Maj Gen SPS Vains Vs UOI.
Since I got contradictory advises from advocates who practise in AFT Chennai on jurisdictional problem, I advised all of you to be on safe side to go to AFT under whose jurisdiction your state falls. Alternately you can give temporary address in Tamilnadu or A.P or Telangana or Puducherry.
But now it is amply clear if common cause has arisen because of Action by Min of Def, all similarly affected officers can jointly file a case. Now wherever you are located you can join us in TSEWA to fight the case.
Further to the above, I am happy to inform all outstation officers who have been approaching me about AFT jurisdictional problem, Cdr Chandrashekhar obtained advice from Wg Cdr Ambreesh Aggrawal, a practising advocate who advised that TSEWA can file a case in AFT Delhi with litigants from all States and UTs. NOW YOU CAN JOIN TSEWA WITHOUT ANY FURTHER DELAY AND GET YOUR NAMES INCLUDED IN THE APPEAL TO BE FILED IN AFT DELHI VERY SOON.
Undertaking. All Officers irrespective of their place of residence can become joint litigants but in AFT Delhi alone as the Cause of Action has arisen there only. You are required to sign the undertaking I am enclosing to this mail giving your consent to become a joint litigant in this case.
Which AFT. The officers after discussing pros and cons felt that it is better to file the case in AFT New Delhi as our chances of getting good but reasonable advocate are higher there. The advocate has to understand our case and should be able to present facts to AFT without much difficulty. Only ESM Advocate would be able to do justice to our case is the common opinion. Though it may be bit expensive for our legal representatives to go to New Delhi, it is felt that considering the importance of winning the case, it is better to file a case in AFT New Delhi. Cdr Chandrashekhar (Retd) and Gp Capt CRR Sastry have been entrusted the task of this case till it is finalised in our favour. Even if we have to go hon’ble Supreme Court later (after winning in AFT Delhi), we will do so as our case is very strong. If 52 Maj Gens can get enhanced pension (more than minimum of Rs 30,350 pm) why rest of officers cannot get? If we have to file a joint appeal with litigants from all over India, due to Cause of Action being Delhi, we have to file our case in AFT Delhi only as clarified by Wg Cdr Ambreesh Aggarwal.
Sharing of Cost of Legal Expenses. The majority felt that the cost of legal expenses including expenses on our two legal luminaries to go to New Delhi, find a suitable Advocate who practises (preferably ESM Advocate) in AFT Delhi, finalising his legal fees, cost of court fees etc have to be proportionately shared by all litigants. We may not charge anything from widows of officers or very nominal amount and may charge less to officers in PB-3 pay band and more to officers in PB-4 pay band. First instalment of Rs 4,000 is to be paid by all litigant officers of PB- 3 & PB- 4 bands. Treasurer TSEWA will collect the amount later. The cost of litigation depends upon number of hearings and whether Min of Def files a review petition in hon’ble Supreme Court against judgment of AFT Delhi if it is favourable to us. The total cost will only be worked out later. When you have to send your first instalment will be intimated to you later.
Exhausting Available Avenues. Lt Cdr PS Nath (Retd) and Cdr Chnadrashekhar (Retd) have opined that we have to exhaust available avenues to get our grievance redressed. I am enclosing a copy of my letter addressed to Min of Def (ESW). I request all of you send such a letter by post to Min of Def with a soft copy to me. After this only, we can file our case in AFT. We have to give some time for Min of Def to act on our letter. Even though we know Min of Def will not fix higher pension as we demand, but that is the minimum requirement before we go in front of AFT.
Vakalatnama. Each of the litigants have to sign vakalatnama. I will send a copy of Vakalatnam to each of you who express willingness to become a litigant in this case.
JCOs& OR. It was felt by majority of officers present that it becomes difficult for judges in AFT to understand our case if all (i.e. From Sep to Brig) are to be included as litigants in one case. The fixation of pay and therefore pension of JCOs and OR is different. I have asked Veteran Kanthaiah of EXWEL trust Tirunalveli who is an expert in pay& pensions of JCOs & OR to advise me whether the fixation of pension has been done to JCOs and OR like they did for Officers. If it is same then JCOs and OR are also eligible to become litigants in our case. After winning the case for Officers, we can then file a second appeal for JCOs & OR. It was therefore decided that in the first instance this case to be filed in AFT New Delhi is restricted to Officers only.
All those Officers who want to be joint litigants to get our pensions enhanced as on Jan 2006 are requested to firstly become members of Tri Services Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (TSEWA). We do not have much time to file the case in AFT Delhi. We are awaiting judgment of hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of 52 Maj Gens Vs UOI which is likely to be delivered on 28 Sep 2015.
Therefore if you believe in our cause immediately join TSEWA. Please inform your veteran friends including widows of Officers anywhere in India. Please do not miss out widows of Officers from ranks of Lt to Brig. We will charge very small amount from each of them which they can easily afford to remit. I am enclosing a membership form of TSEWA.
I will continue to post latest development on this legal case from time to time to only those veterans who have joined TSEWA in this just cause.
Once we file our case in AFT, then it is not possible for anyone else to get his or her name included in our appeal.
All pre – 2006 officers from three services irrespective of your place of residence in India can join TSEWA.
If you decided to join TSEWA, download the form and fill it up in CAPITAL LETTERS, affix one joint photo with your spouse and one single photo (for I-card).Remit the membership fee of Rs 160 (membership fee Rs 100 plus I- Card fee of Rs 20 and courier charges to send your I- Card for Rs 40). Send the membership form hard copy to Lt Col Parvathesam, Treasurer at 203 Acropolis Orchids, Rukminipuri, Dr AS Rao Nagar, ECIL(PO), Secunderabad – 500062.
Please remember any financial benefit is given by Min of Def (ESW) to only those whose names are there in the appeal filed in AFT.
There are hundreds of Maj Gens and widows who did not join 52 Maj Gens due to not being aware, are now running form pillar to post to get their names included. Let this not happen with us. So it is your responsibility not only to join TSEWA but ensure all eligible Officers and widows of Officers join.
Make your own choice.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Retd)