Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Chandigarh, June 4
The Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Chandimandir (Panchkula), has issued bailable warrants against Maj Gen Ashok Singh, Additional Director General, Personnel Services, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and Alka Sharma, Integrated Principal Financial Adviser, Army Headquarters, for non-compliance of order.
The two were absent on May 30, the day they were asked to personally appear before the Bench. The Bench, headed by Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary, had earlier on May 22 initiated a contempt case against Major General Singh on its own motion. The issue pertains to the implementation of a 2017 judgment of the AFT, wherein Justice MS Chauhan had ruled that honorary naib subedars were entitled to the minimum level of pension given to regular naib subedars.
“Justice Chauhan had also directed that revised pay tables be prepared within four months, failing which such honorary naib suebdars will be entitled to interest on arrears at 8 per cent per annum. The tables were revised beyond the four-month period but the interest was not paid. So, a number of honorary naib subedars approached the AFT for the payment of interest,” explained counsel Bhim Sen Sehgal. At present, 674 execution applications on the issue are pending before the AFT.
The MoD has cleared the payment of penal interest but the file is pending at the level of Major General Singh and Alka Sharma.
During the hearing on May 30, the Bench headed by Justice Chaudhary observed, “Major General Singh is not present. Although Virender Kumar Singh, Deputy Director Personnel Services-4, is present in person, in contempt proceedings it is the contemnor who is required to be present and not a proxy.” The Bench said the order sought to be executed had also not been implemented.
A letter was produced before the Bench on behalf of Sharma, claiming the papers for vetting from the financial angle were never received by her from the office of Major General Singh. But the Bench said no cognisance of the letter could be taken as it did not have her signature.
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