The Indian Supreme Court has taken a strong stance on the pension arrears owed to retired servicemen by the defense ministry. The court criticized the ministry’s decision to pay the pension arrears in four instalments, saying that this decision was made without regard for its own previous directives instructing full disbursement of arrears by March 15. Specifically, the court said that the ministry had acted outside of the law and that it would need to withdraw its January 20 letter before the court would consider any further requests for time or financial relief.
The attorney general representing the ministry argued that the full disbursement of arrears required moderation, but the court was unconvinced. Instead, the court instructed the attorney general to provide details of the amount of money required to payout different categories of pensioners and the modalities to be used for priority pay-out by Monday.
Notably, senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi stated on behalf of the pensioners that the union government has repeatedly stalled payments despite the court’s clear directives. The court maintained that even if some pensioners have passed away, the pension arrears must still be paid to their widows and kin.
It remains to be seen whether the defense ministry will respond to the court’s stern warning or continue to resist directives on this issue. Regardless of the ministry’s response, this situation highlights the ongoing struggles faced by retired servicemen in India to secure their pensions and stand up for their rights. Hopefully, continued attention and advocacy will help to ensure that those who have served our country are treated fairly and justly.