“Find No Constitutional Infirmity”: SC Upholds Centre’s ‘One Rank, One Pension’ Policy

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has upheld the manner in which the Centre had introduced the ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme in the defence forces, as per the notification issued on November 7 2015.

On Wednesday, the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath have refused to accept the challenge made by the ‘Indian Ex-Service Movement’ against the Centre’s notification. 

The bench in their judgement today said, “We find no constitutional infirmity in the OROP principle adopted”.

Further the bench directed “Re-fixation exercise as per the policy should be carried out with effect from July 1, 2019 and the arrears should be paid to the pensioners within 3 months. No legal mandate that pensioners who hold same rank must be given same pension While dictating the operative portion of the judgment, the bench said that there is no legal mandate that pensioners who hold the same rank must be given the same pension.”

Further the bench added, “All pensioners who hold the same rank many not form a homogeneous class. Also, a new pensionary benefit can be made applicable from a prospective date, with the only condition that it cannot split up a homogenous class.”

The notification dated November 7, 2015 issued by the Centre was questioned by the petitioners. While implementing OROP, a modified definition of the expression under which the gap between the rates of pension of current and past pensioners were to be bridged at “periodic intervals”, was adopted by them.

The petitioners seek annual revision of pension. This comes under OROP and for calculating the pension based on 2014 salary of ex-servicemen. According to the notification released in 2015, the periodic review of pension was fixed at five years and the pension was fixed based on 2013 salaries.

It was averred in the plea that despite the assurance on floor of Parliament, what was being implemented is “different pensions for same rank depending on when the person retired”.

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