The Supreme Court (SC) gave the government leeway to pay in instalments in arrears due to veterans under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
About the Case:
The Supreme Court gave the government an allowable margin to pay in instalments ?28,000 crore in arrears due to veterans under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
The staggered payment of OROP arrears would be made to various categories of eligible pensioners, totalling 21 lakh persons, from April 2023 till February 2024.
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) has argued back to the government regarding a “sealed cover” containing documents purportedly on the “financial implications” and “live wire” issues connected to the OROP expenditure.
He also told the government that there were “no secrets in the court”.
Sealed cover jurisprudence is the practice followed by the Supreme Court (and sometimes lower courts as well) of seeking and accepting information from government agencies in sealed envelopes that can only be perused by the judges.
These envelopes can be accessed only by Judges.
The contents of sealed covers in court proceedings are inaccessible to the other parties in the case.
About One Rank One Pension (ORPO):
"OROP" refers to the practise of paying military officers the same pension regardless of the date of retirement for the same rank and the same amount of time in service.
Prior to OROP, retired service members received pensions in accordance with the Pay Commission's recommendations at the time of their retirement.
The implementation of the scheme was based on recommendation of the Koshiyari committee, parliamentary panel formed under the chairmanship of Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
Nodal Implementation Agency - Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Defence.
Payment - OROP is not paid as a separate element as it is an integrated part of pension.
Issues with OROP:
Financial issues: The government's pension costs will increase if full OROP is granted.
Administrative issues- Passing all the benefits is a laborious task.
Legal issues - Other government workers, especially paramilitary forces, will make similar demands.