In a rare and strong move, the principal bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) in New Delhi has moved against top bureaucrats in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and imposed costs on them upto Rs.10,000 each for delaying and denying the dues of a retired Air Force officer. Ironically, among the bureaucrats against whom action has been ordered include Secretary, Department of Ex Servicemen Welfare (DESW) Sangita Goirala and Dr BK Singh, Joint Controller of Defence Accounts (JCDA) (Air Force).
This order was issued on January 21, 2014 by Chairperson Justice Prakash Tatia and member Lt. Gen SK Singh in ‘Wing Commander (Retd) VS Tomar Versus Union of India and others’.
A detailed questionnaire was sent to the spokesperson of the MoD but no reply was received.
“Personally speaking, the MoD continues to dish out step motherly treatment to us. I can’t help but feel that the government is least bothered. Getting our rightful dues is a long struggle for us retired men,” said Wing Commander (Retd) Tomar.
Commenting on this, defence analyst Bharat Verma said, “Look at the AFT’s frustration that it had to do this. Orders of the AFT are being ignored and this ministry takes great pride in opposing its soldiers in courts. If this continues, who will want to join the services? Defence minister Antony has been less than and professional in his conduct.”
AFT order says:-
- In this case, in spite of the tribunal’s order dated 21.01.2013 nothing has been done…
- It appears that there is a deliberate avoidance of the order of the tribunal dated 21.01.2013 passed in ma 19/2012â€¦.
- Tribunal clearly observed that such an attitude indicate that filing of slp may be pretext for avoiding the implementation of the order.
- It is difficult to know the reason as to what is the hitch for the govt in punishing the guilty officers in contempt proceeding upon non-implementation of the judicial order of the tribunal.
- The ministry is therefore directed to submit its stand whether they want to shield the officers in the defence ministry deliberately, continously, consciously
- Payment of rs 10000 by the officer dr bk singh, jcda..cost of rs 10000 is imposed upon the secretary, ex-servicemen welfare (Sangita Gairola)â€¦the JCDA (AF) as well as the Secy ESW shall remain present before us on the next date of hearing
- Secretary, Ministry of Defence is directed to submit what steps have been taken against the guilty person and what action was taken by the secretary, Ministry of Defence.