CAS benefits for staff: CAT catches NDA on wrong foot

Follow UGC norms for calculating service record of faculty members, orders tribunal

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune | Updated: November 25, 2014 6:21:39 am
Defence authorities are conducting fact-finding inquiries into some complaints of irregularities in appointment of civilian academic officers in the last six years at NDA. Defence authorities are conducting fact-finding inquiries into some complaints of irregularities in appointment of civilian academic officers in the last six years at NDA.

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), ruling against the National Defence Academy (NDA) in a case filed by six civilian faculty members of the institute, has directed it to follow University Grants Commission (UGC) norms while calculating past service of the faculty members.

In 2010, six faculty members from various departments of NDA approached CAT after the NDA said their work experience at institutes other than NDA will not be considered for financial benefits under Career Advancement Scheme (CAS).

The six approached the CAT and had made defence secretary, NDA commandant and principal controller of defence accounts, respondents. The faculty members appealed that the services they rendered to other recognised institutes be considered for financial benefits at NDA. Two applicants also appealed that their service as ad-hoc faculty before they were confirmed be also considered.

“The faculty members had no other option than approach court,” said an officer from the NDA on the condition of anonymity.

The members of the Mumbai bench of CAT — Dr Mrutunjay Sarangi and Chameli Majumdar — recently ruled in favour of the six faculty members.

Advocate P J Prasad Rao, who represented the faculty members said, “NDA’s stand was ironical. NDA was ready to consider the previous experience for recruitment as faculty members but not ready to consider the same experience for financial benefits. The NDA had cited a letter from headquarters, Integrated Defence Services and said that their requests were not in order and so could not be entertained. NDA said that the past service has to be at the NDA.”

The CAT order says, “It is not open to the respondents to contend that they will not follow UGC guidelines for the purpose of counting past service for extending the benefit under CAS…As UGC guideline specifically described the institutions and declared that the service rendered by the incumbents in those institutions would be counted for extending financial benefits.”

The Indian Express had reported earlier that Defence authorities are conducting fact-finding inquiries into some complaints of irregularities in appointment of civilian academic officers in the last six years at NDA. The rules about counting of work experience and criterion of the required Academic Performance Indicator (API) points were flouted in several cases and were under scrutiny of various defence authorities.

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