The Delhi High Court on Wednesday ruled that the Central Armed Police Forces are a part of the armed forces of the Union government and should be given benefits under the Old Pension Scheme, which is applicable to the Army, Navy and Air Force.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna directed the Centre to issue orders to meet the requirement within eight weeks.

“Having great respect for the personnel of forces, the courts as well as government of India, have always ensured that any policy decision should not be detrimental to their interest,” the bench said in a 58-page order.

This is a significant judgement since the Centre in many cases has not been recognising the paramilitary forces as armed forces, The New Indian Express reported.

The verdict was passed on a batch of 82 petitions filed by personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force, Shashtra Seema Bal, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force and Indo Tibetan Border Police seeking to quash government orders denying them the benefit of the Old Pension Scheme.

“It is made clear that the notification dated 22.12.2003 as well as OM [officer memorandum] dated 17.02.2020 granting the benefit of Old Pension Scheme shall be applicable...” the High Court said while ruling in their favor. “Meaning thereby, Old Pension Scheme shall not only be applicable in the case of petitioners herein but all the personnel of CAPFs at large.”

The court noted that the Ministry of Home Affairs, in a circular dated August 6, 2014, had declared that the central forces under its administrative control are armed forces of the Union.

“The court held that the CAPFs are an Armed Force of the Union as prescribed within Article 246 Schedule 7 of Constitution of India and hence are not covered under the New Pension Scheme as provided in the notification dated 22 December 2003 and thus all employees of CAPFs to be governed by the Old Pension Scheme,” Advocate Ankur Chhibber, who represented the petitioners, told The New Indian Express.

The New Pension Scheme replaced the old system on January 1, 2004, and was applicable to all new entrants to central government services, excluding the Army, Navy and Air Force. Under the new scheme, all government employees have to contribute 10% of their salary (basic pay and dearness allowance) every month. But the under old system, employees were not required make this contribution.