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HC Seeks Centre's Stand on Plea to Exclude Paramilitary Forces from New Pension Scheme

(Image: News18 Representative)

(Image: News18 Representative)

Issue notice. Let reply affidavit be filed within four weeks, said a bench of Justices Manmohan and Navin Chawla in the August 27 order.

The Delhi High Court has sought the Centre's stand on a plea to exclude the paramilitary forces from the new contributory pension scheme. Issue notice. Let reply affidavit be filed within four weeks, said a bench of Justices Manmohan and Navin Chawla in the August 27 order.

The order was passed in an application by a trust which claims to be working for the cause of armed forces and their families. The plea by Humara Desh Humare Jawan Trust has sought a direction to the Centre to include the forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the old pension scheme, in parity with the armed forces under the Defence Ministry. The application was filed in a batch of petitions raising the same issue and pending adjudication before the court.

On August 12, a bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel had refused to entertain the trust's public interest litigation on the same issue, which was then withdrawn with liberty to avail other legal remedies or join the pending proceedings. The court had said that there was no need to have multiple petitions on the same issue and asked the trust to join the pending proceedings.

In February 2020, a division bench had issued notice on a petition preferred by a CRPF personnel seeking to be treated at par with the Army, Navy and Air Force with respect to the award of pension. Subsequently, several other petitions were filed before the high court by other personnel.

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In the application filed through advocate Ajay K. Agrawal, the trust has submitted that authorities are illegally denying the old pension scheme to the forces under the MHA i.e. BSF, CISF, CRPF etc by making them subject to the new contributory pension scheme which was introduced in 2004 on the ground that they are not armed forces of the Union. The exclusion of forces under MHA from the old pension scheme was discriminatory and in violation of principles of equality, the plea has stated.

… duties of these Armed Forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs are no less than the Armed Forces under the Ministry of Defence. These forces are protecting the country from external aggression as well as internal disturbance. Presently total strength of the Armed Forces under the Ministry of Home is 14,44,018 and the total strength of the Armed Forces under the Ministry of Defence is around 12 lakhs, the petition said. The plea said that in August 2004, the Centre has itself issued a clarification that the central forces under the MHA as also armed forces of the Union and would include the BSF, CISF, CRPF, ITBP, NSG, SSB and Assam Rifles. All the pleas are listed for completion of pleadings before the joint registrar on December 7.

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first published:August 31, 2021, 20:57 IST