A PIL for a public hearing on ex- servicemen’s grievances by the one-member judicial commission on OROP was today moved before the Delhi High Court which is likely to hear the matter tomorrow.
The plea, which has also sought directions to the government to extend the duration of the commission headed by Justice (retired) L Narasimha Reddy, came up before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath which ordered that the matter be listed before another bench tomorrow.
The petition, filed by ex-serviceman S P Singh through advocates Vijender Mahndiyan and Satya Rajan Swain, has sought directions to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the commission “to give an effective public hearing to those affected or aggrieved by implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP)”.
According to the petition, as per an MoD letter dated April 13, 2016, “Defence Forces pensioners/family pensioners, Defence Pensioners’ Associations can submit their representation, suggestions/views on the revised pension as notified, to the MoD, through post or by email within 15 days i.e. by April 29, 2016”.
The petitioner has contended that this information was not published in the newspapers and, therefore, people were not informed and added that even the time limit given to forward the representations was “very short”.
He has also contended that asking those aggrieved to forward their grievances to MoD was “unfair and violative of principles of natural justice” as representations would be against the government.
“…the basic lacuna in the whole mechanism is that the representations will go to the One-Member Judicial Commission through the Ministry of Defence; therefore, it is not fair as the representations will be against the Ministry only. Secondly, the affected persons will be hesitant to send their grievances through the ministry,” the petition has said.
It had also said that since mechanism adopted for consultation was written representations alone and no oral representation was allowed, it is “violative of the basic concept of effective hearing”.
Another grievance raised in the plea was that the government has not shared the correspondence address or contact details of the commission despite making several requests.
The petitioner has claimed that “due to non-availability of correspondence address, the aggrieved persons have not been able to share their concerns with the judicial commission, which is expected to finalise its report by mid June 2016”.