The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the One Rank-One Pension (OROP) scheme in the Armed forces is a policy decision, which does not suffer from any constitutional infirmity.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Vikram Nath said the policy decision of the Centre of OROP is not arbitrary. The bench said the central government has taken a policy decision and it lies within the ambit of policy making powers. The bench added that it is not for the court to go into the policy matters of the government.
The bench said: “We do not find any constitutional infirmity on the OROP principle and the notification dated November 7, 2015”.
The top court’s judgment came on a plea filed by the Ex-servicemen Association seeking implementation of OROP, as recommended by the Bhagat Singh Koshyari Committee with an automatic annual revision. The plea had challenged the current policy of periodic review once in five years.
The bench said a refixation exercise must be conducted by the government for a period of 5 years in connection with pension payable to Army personnel, as mentioned in the OROP policy. The detailed judgment in the matter will be uploaded later in the day.
The Centre had said: “One Rank One Pension implies that uniform pension be paid to the armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of the date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners”.
The petitioner Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) laid repeated emphasis on the expression ‘automatically’ to convey that the revision of OROP should be automatic and the Centre had failed to do so and has instead made the OROP revision as once in five years.
Emphasizing on rejecting this argument, the Centre said: “The dynamic calculations as contended by the petitioners is unheard of in practice whether it is pay scale or pension or any other financial emoluments given to a government servant. This is not in vogue for the simple reason that it is impossible to put it as a scheme of implementation”.