Defence Minister issues instructions for reducing litigation against military personnel

The landmark step is bound to bring down the grievances of civil and military employees, pensioners and disabled soldiers since the MoD was known to litigate till the Supreme Court in cases decided against it.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chinna | Chandigarh | Published:February 10, 2016 6:54 pm
manohar parrikar, defence minister, defence minister manohar parrikar, seventh pay commission, service chied's complaint, OROP, one rank one pension File photo of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

In a move which will provide major relief to military personnel involved in litigation with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has issued strict guidelines to reduce frivolous appeals filed in Supreme Court against serving and retired personnel.

The new policy, passed last week, states that no appeals would be filed in sensitive matters or those involving public policy unless approved by the defence minister himself. Taking a strong view regarding routine filing of appeals in the Supreme Court, Parrikar, passed orders to curb this tendency by overhauling the procedure of litigating in service related matters.

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The landmark step is bound to bring down the grievances of civil and military employees, pensioners and disabled soldiers since the MoD was known to litigate till the Supreme Court in cases decided against it. On implementation, the Ministry is expected to shed the ‘compulsive litigant’ tag.

In the fresh MoD policy, the concern of the defence minister over rising litigation in routine matters and those involving meager financial implications has been noted. The fresh procedure would now involve the processing of proposals by the defence services headquarters whether to file an appeal or not through a set channel. The approval will be sought from the concerned joint secretary who would either send the file back without approval or for the views of legal advisor (Defence) if he feels that the case is fit for appeal. If the legal advisor too feels that the case is not fit for appeal and the joint secretary agrees, then also the file would be sent for implementing the lower courts orders. In case the joint secretary still is in favour of filing an appeal, the approval of additional secretary would have to be taken before moving the Supreme Court.

The step also comes soon after the submission of the Report of the Committee of Experts constituted by Parrikar which expressed displeasure on the MoD for ‘indulging in litigation of luxury’ and which recorded that appeals were being filed as a default reaction and by indulging in ‘ego-fuelled’ litigation.

The committee, comprising Lt Gen (retd) Mukesh Sabharwal, Lt Gen (retd) Richard Khare, lawyer Maj Navdeep Singh, Kargil veteran Maj DP Singh and former Judge Advocate General Maj Gen (retd) T Parshad, had reminded the MoD that the government was not an ordinary litigant trying to win against its own citizens by hook or crook and it was its duty to settle honest claims and policies already adjudicated by High Courts and Supreme Court. The Committee had further recommended that in case of both civil and military employees, decisions of tribunals in their favour should normally be accepted and a challenge should only lie in exceptional cases at best till the high court and only in the rarest of rare cases to the Supreme Court.

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  1. G
    Gautam Sanyal
    May 3, 2016 at 2:28 am
    A welcome step in the right direction.
    Reply
  2. H
    H.Balakrishnan
    Feb 11, 2016 at 2:54 am
    Will the Raksha Mantri be willing to give exemplary punishment to a MoD Babu who doesn't follow this order ? He should consider putting them behind bars or sending them to Siachen without protective clothing. They deserve nothing less. These heartless individuals.
    Reply
  3. M
    Murli Dhar
    Feb 12, 2016 at 5:15 am
    The RM has shown that he can not tow the lines of the babus of min of def.Good for the country,however much more has to be done to ensure that the self serving babus act in the interest of the country.
    Reply
  4. S
    Saibaba
    Feb 11, 2016 at 1:16 am
    First of all the bureaucracy of MoD must not give scope for causing any litigations for defence personnel. What is seen that the bureaucracy has been deliberately creating situations causing litigations. The latest examples are the OROP tables prepared by the bureaucrats, and the recommendations of the 7th CPC, which is mainly composed of the bureaucracy and other affected parties, with deliberate exclusion of representatives from the defence forces. No other department including the bureaucracy would accept such discriminatory practice. Such exclusion of representation from the defence forces resulted in arbitrary, unilateral and discriminatory recommendations given by the 7th CPC. Naturally such actions will cause litigations. Though the present move is a positive trend, the Defence Minister has to do much more to look after the interests of the defence forces,
    Reply
  5. S
    S.D.Karnik
    Feb 12, 2016 at 4:47 am
    Do you think the RM will succeed in this endeavour as the track record shows that similar orders were ignored in the past with the RM being shown two hoots and left redfaced--blackfaced in the eyes of the Veterans.
    Reply
  6. R
    Ranson
    Feb 15, 2016 at 6:19 am
    A step in the right direction. However I have my own doubts whether the MOD babus will follow the dictum of their boss. Such instructions were issued during UPA's regime also but nothing happened and litigations and filing appeals went on unabatedly. The same situation will continue unless the RM takes charge of such babus who go against his dictum and file an appeal without valid reasons.
    Reply
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