Ever since the Madras Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) ordered the Defence authorities to grant him pension, G. Hariappa, veteran of the Second World War, is fighting to have the order implemented.
Mr. Hariappa of Krishanagiri, who joined the Army in 1945 as a combatant, served for two years in the Airborne Division in Karachi; three years in Kashmir and later at various stations on the border of the country and after rendering 10 years service, retired in 1955. Later, he was placed in the Reserve List for five years on his option. But, only in 1994, he came to know that persons in the Reserve List were being granted service pension. When he wrote to the authorities, the response was negative.
Mr. Hariappa (85) said: “I approached the Tribunal in Chennai seeking it to direct the Defence authorities to sanction pension. In June 2011, the Tribunal declared that I was entitled to receive service pension and ordered the authorities to grant it within three months. Though it had ordered to expedite my case, no action was taken till now. We are now in distress.”
His case is not in isolation. In many such cases, orders are yet to be implemented by the authorities.
On March17, 2011, the Tribunal ordered family pension to R. Subalakshmi of Kumbakonam. She is a septuagenarian and widow of Havildar V. Ramasamy, who served in the Army for nearly 21 years. After his retirement from the Army, Ramasamy joined as a night guard in the Public Works Department.
He was discharged from the re-employment in 1970 and died 16 years later. Even after one year since the order pronounced by the AFT, it remains to be implemented by the authorities.
Lawyers who are practising in AFTs expressed concern over the non-implementation of orders of AFTs.
M.K. Sikdar, an advocate and chief editor of ‘Armed Forces Tribunal Law Journal’ said: “There is inordinate delay on the part of defence forces and allied civilian authorities in implementing the orders of the Tribunal. Over 2,000 orders passed by Tribunals across the country have not been implemented.”
The armed forces personnel had been filing the cases in High Courts to redress their grievances until 2009.
After the enactment of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) Act came into force in 2009, the Tribunals were constituted in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Guwahati, and Kochi to quicken the disposal of such cases.
M. Selvaraj, president of Armed Forces Tribunal Advocates Association, said, “In the absence of a penal provision like contempt of court in the Act, it is very difficult for litigants to make the Armed Forces to implement the orders passed by the Tribunals. They cannot move the High Court to implement their orders. They can only go to the Supreme Court. But, that option may not be practicable for the aged.”