New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court has dismissed the review petition which had challenged its decision on the “One Rank One Pension” policy.
A bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath said, “The review petition is dismissed in terms of the signed order.” Application for listing the review petition in open Court is rejected, the court said.
A review petition was moved in the Supreme Court challenging the top court judgement delivered in March this year.
The Supreme Court in March this year upheld the Central Government’s decision on “One Rank One Pension as it said that the OROP definition is not arbitrary and it does not find any constitutional infirmity in the OROP principle as defined by the communication dated November 7, 2015.
The Court disposed of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement plea which challenged the manner in which the “One Rank One Pension”1 policy for ex-servicemen of defence forces has been implemented by the respondent through a letter dated 7 November 2015 issued to the Chiefs of three defence forces.
The letter defines OROP as the payment of uniform pension to armed services personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement. OROP, in terms of the letter, aims to bridge the gap between the rate of pension of current and past pensioners at periodic intervals.
The petitioners had contended that in the course of implementation, the principle of OROP has been replaced by ‘one rank multiple pensions’ for persons with the same length of service.
The petitioners had further contended that the initial definition of OROP was altered by the first respondent and, instead of an automatic revision of the rates of pension, the revision now would take place at periodic intervals.
The petitioners further submitted that the deviation from the principle of automatic revision of rates of pension, where any future enhancement to the rates of pension are automatically passed on to the past pensioners, is arbitrary and unconstitutional under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
“We find no constitutional infirmity in the OROP principle as defined by the communication dated 7 November 2015,” the Court said in its March order and further added that “The definition of OROP is uniformly applicable to all the pensioners irrespective of the date of retirement. It is not the case of the petitioners that the pension is reviewed ‘automatically’ to a class of the pensioners and ‘periodically’ to another class of the pensioners”.
“It had also noted that the cut-off date is used only for the purpose of determining the base salary for the calculation of pension. In terms of the communication dated November 7, 2015, the benefit of OROP was to be effected from 1 July 2014,” the Court had directed.
It had also directed that in terms of the communication dated 7 November 2015, a re-fixation exercise shall be carried out from 1 July 2019, upon the expiry of five years.
Arrears payable to all eligible pensioners of the armed forces shall be computed and paid over accordingly within a period of three months, the Court further directed.
The Central Government in its affidavit had said that the Centre while framing the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) regime has not brought out any discrimination between the defence personnel who are in the same rank with the same length of service.
In its affidavit, the Centre had said, “The petitioners are seeking an OROP on merely same rank overlooking the same length of service.”
The Centre had filed an affidavit in response to the top court query which was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM).
The Centre had further submitted that the contention of the Petitioners defeats one of the core values of the OROP, which is not only the same rank but with the same length of service.