01 Nov, 2023 12:21 PM

No Pro Rata Pension for Air Force Officials discharged on being found unsuitable for retention

No Pro Rata Pension for Air Force Officials discharged on being found unsuitable for retention

A recent decision by a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court, comprising Justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Manoj Jain, has dismissed a claim for pro rata pension made by discharged Indian Air Force personnel. The court ruled against the petitioners, who belonged to the categories of PBOR (Personnel Below Officer Rank) and NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) and had served in the Air Force for 10–15 years. Their main grievance was the sudden termination of their services and the denial of their pension rights.

The petitioners argued that they should be entitled to the pro-rata pension since they had completed a decade of service. They also contested a Ministry of Defense letter that established certain conditions for pro rata pension eligibility, specifically for those joining a Central Public Enterprise.

On the other side, the respondents contended that the petitioners were not eligible for regular pension (due to their service duration being less than 15 years) or pro rata pension (because they were discharged for being unsuitable). The respondents asserted that the pro rata pension is typically granted only when an official is absorbed into another government organization, with a minimum qualifying service of 10 years.

The court agreed with the respondents, noting that the petitioners hadn't served for 15 years, so regular pension was not applicable to them. Regarding pro rata pension, the court clarified that it applies to officials who continue to serve in a different central government organization after completing 10 years of service through proper channels.

The court made a distinction between the petitioners and officials discharged on the grounds of unsuitability, emphasizing that those who are discharged cannot claim parity with individuals who continue to serve in a different government organization. The provision for pro rata pension is meant to safeguard officials absorbed into another government organization, ensuring they are not at a disadvantage.

The court also held that the Ministry of Defense's letter was in line with the objective of pro rata pension, which applies uniformly to all officials who continue to serve in another central government organization. The court found no discrimination or policy violation, ensuring equal treatment among those in similar circumstances.

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