Representational Image | Photo: Mathrubhumi / PG Unnikrishnan
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court in a landmark judgment held that all the personnel of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are entitled to get benefits of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), and said that they (CAPFs personnel) deserve to get the benefit of OPS, as has been granted vide Notification dated December 22, 2003.
The Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna on Thursday (January 11), while allowing the batch of petitions moved by 82 personnel of CAPFs said, "Old Pension Scheme shall not only be applicable in the case of petitioners herein but all the personnel of CAPFs at large. Accordingly, necessary orders are issued within eight weeks."
The Supreme Court and High Courts in various decisions have appreciated the role of armed forces in safeguarding our country. Having great respect for the personnel of forces, the Courts as well as the Government of India, have always ensured that any policy decision should not be detrimental to their interest, said the Delhi High Court.
The contents of the Notification dated December 22, 2003, as well as OM dated February 17, 2020, clearly demonstrate that when the policy decision to implement NPS was taken, the armed Forces of the country were kept out of its domain. Accordingly, we are of the considered opinion that the Notification dated December 22, 2003, as well as OM dated February 17, 2020, are required to be implemented in their true essence, the court noted.
The Court further said, "We find that Notification dated 22.12.2003 as well as OM dated 17.02.2020 create a bar upon the respondents to not implement the Notification dated 22.12.2003, whereby New Contributory Pension Scheme (NPS) has been executed w.e.f. 01.01.2004, upon the personnel of the paramilitary Forces."
Consequentially, the impugned Office Memorandums, Signals and Orders, to the extent it denies the benefit of the Old Pension Scheme to the petitioners and similarly situated personnel of the armed forces, are hereby quashed, ordered by Delhi High Court.
The petitioners - personnel of different forces including Central Reserve Police Force, Sashtra Seema Bal, Border Security Force and Central Industrial Security Force, Indo Tibetan Border Police etc., through petitions sought quashing of orders denying them the benefit of Old Pension Scheme (OPS) in accordance with CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 to them vide different Office Memorandums and Signals issued by the Centre.
The petitioners had sought quashing of the office memorandum dated February 17, 2020, issued by respondents to the extent it does not grant the benefit of the Old Pension Scheme to the personnel who have been appointed pursuant to notifications/ advertisements dated January 01, 2004.