SC refuses to hear plea on removal of disparity in pension benefits of armed forces

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a PIL seeking removal of disparity in pension benefits to the armed forces personnel under the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.

A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat, however, permitted the 'Humara Desh Humare Jawan Trust' to approach the Delhi High Court with its plea.

The trust, in its PIL filed through lawyer Ajay Agrawal, has said that the central government's contributory hybrid pension scheme of 2005 was not made applicable to armed forces like the Army under the MoD.

However, the para military forces -- BSF CISF CRPF ITBP, NSG, SSB and Assam Rifles, which are under the MHA, have been treated unequally and have been put under hybrid pension scheme, the plea said.

'If you want you can withdraw this and go to the High Court. If you want to argue, we will hear you. What do you want,' the bench told Agrawal at the outset of the brief hearing conducted via video conferencing.

When the bench said it was dismissing the petition, Agrawal sought liberty to move the high court.

'We are giving you liberty to go to the high court, ' it said.

The trust had filed the plea seeking removal of disparity in pension benefits to the armed forces personnel under the MHA and MoD in October 2020.

The plea contended that the new contributory pension scheme was launched by the Centre and took effect from January 1, 2004. Through a notification on January 1, 2004, the government made the pension scheme contributory -- to be deducted from the salary of the employee, it said.

“Central government is applying a hybrid pension scheme which is a mixture of old and new pension schemes to the personnel of Armed forces which came under the MHA and who joined the service after January 1, 2004. “But it is specifically provided that this new contributory pension scheme is not applicable to the armed forces of Union of India,” said the plea.

The PIL stated that for the forces which come under MHA such as BSF CISF CRPF ITBP, NSG, SSB and Assam Rifles, a clarification was issued on August 6, 2004, that all these are Armed Forces of the Union under the ministry.

It said that each and every personnel of Armed forces which comes under the MHA wants to get pension under the old scheme but the central government has denied it, 'therefore discriminating with the armed forces under the Ministry of Defence while both the forces are Armed Forces of the Union'.

Even after several representations nothing has been done by the government, the plea said. PTI ABA SJK SA