The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the One Rank One Pension scheme in defence forces, introduced by the Narendra Modi-led central government in November 2015, reported Bar and Bench.
Under the One Rank One Pension scheme, a uniform pension is paid to all retired military personnel of the same rank, and same duration of service, irrespective of when they retire.
In a petition, the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, a grouping of retired defence officials, had alleged that what was being implemented on the ground was “different amount of pension for personnel on the same rank depending on when the person has retired.”
The petitioners had also argued against the scheme’s provision to revise the pension scale every five years. They had said this system does not account for the arrears of five years. Instead, the petitioners had demanded that the pension amount be recalculated as per recommendations of the Bhagat Singh Koshyari Committee, that allows for an automatic annual revision
However, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath on Wednesday held that the definition of the One Rank One Pension scheme in the Centre’s notification was not arbitrary, as the petitioners had alleged.
The judges also held that implementation of the scheme was a policy decision taken by the government, and the court cannot interfere in the matter.
“Such a decision lies within the ambit of policy-making powers of the government,” said the court, according to Bar and Bench. “We do not find any constitutional infirmity on the OROP principle and the notification dated November 7, 2015.”
The bench also said that there is no legal mandate that pensioners who hold the same rank must be given the same pension.