Five years after it was implemented for other central government doctors,the Supreme Court has upheld the implementation of the Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP) Scheme for officers of the Army Medical Corps (AMC) as directed in a judgement of 2011 by the Armed Forces Tribunals (AFT) Chandigarh Bench comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prashad and Lt Gen H S Panag.
The 6th Central Pay Commission had recommended the system of four time-bound progressions in Grade Pay for all doctors in the organised and unorganised medical services under the Central Government. The grade pay will reach Rs 10,000 on the tenure of 20 years. Currently the grade pay is between Rs 8,000 to Rs 8,700.
Army Medical Corps was recognised as one of the services under the Central Government. Thereafter,on cabinet approval,the scheme was implemented by government for all Central Government Doctors and respective Ministries were asked to issue instructions to the effect.
While initially the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was inclined to implement the scheme,the then Armed Forces Principal Personnel Officers Committee (PPOC) was of the opinion that Army doctors should not get the benefit of DACP till anomalies related to other personnel were resolved.
It was also stated by the Army that it could lead to an anomalous situation wherein doctors may start getting higher pay than officers of similar ranks in other cadres. The scheme was then held back though the Air Force,Navy and the Director-General of Armed Forces Medical Services strongly supported it.
A petition was filed by affected doctors at the Armed Forces Tribunal on the ground that anomaly resolution of other cadres could not be a basis to hold back a scheme approved by the Union cabinet. They argued that doctors in all services were already getting higher pay than other officers which did not affect inter-se seniority with other cadres.
In July 2011,the AFT passed a order stating that non-implementation of DACP was clearly detrimental to AMC officers and directed its implementation within three months.
The MoD however,appealed against this in the SC on the ground that the Armed Forces were not in favour of granting these benefits to AMC officers and that the AFT had interfered in Government policy. The SC however,dismissed the appeal on Monday,clearing the decks for implementation of DACP.