Clarification On Special Pension For Sailors

1. Numerous representations are being received at IHQ MoD(Navy) as well as NAVPEN from aggrieved ex-sailors whose request for grant of Special Pension has been rejected. It is observed from the representations that the ex-sailors’ grievance is about the Indian Navy having taken a ‘Selective’ and ‘Discriminatory’ method for granting Special Pension to a few among all similarly placed ex-sailors. The clarification regarding grant of special pension is enumerated in the succeeding paragraphs. 2. As per Regulation 78 of Navy (Pension) Regulation 1964, it was mandatory for a Personnel Below Officer Rank to render 15 years of colour service to become eligible for Service Pension. All sailors of the Indian Navy were recruited with 10 years initial engagement tenure till 03 Jul 1976 and had two options at the time of discharge to become eligible for pension:- (a) Either to sign for further service of 05 year i.e to complete 15 years of colour service which is mandatory to earn service pension. Or (b) To enrol for Indian Fleet Reserve for 10 years to earn Reservist Pension. This enrolment into Fleet Reserve was guided by Indian Fleet Reserve Act of 1939 and the enrolment was neither a matter of right nor was automatic as per Reg.6 of Indian Reserve Act 1939. 3. Among the sailors who volunteered for the second option mentioned at Para 2(b) above, only those who met requirements of service i.e certain qualifications in terms of character, efficiency, age and medical category, were drafted to Fleet Reserve. Their conditions of service were entirely different from those who had signed for first option, in that, they were called for training once every two years and were paid retention fee and TA/DA/Pay for the training period. 4. Gol had revised the initial engagement tenure of all sailors to 15 years vide letter AD/5374/2/76/2214/S/D(N-II) dated 03 Jul 76. By the same letter, the Indian Fleet Reserve Service was discontinued. Those sailors who were already enrolled prior to 03 Jul 1976 in the Indian Fleet Reserve were allowed to continue and complete their respective tenure and were sanctioned Reservist Pension. 5. Thus there is a category of ex-sailors who were discharged after 03 Jul 1976 with initial engagement of 10 years but since enrolment into fleet reserve was done away with, they were not granted Reservist Pension. These personnel approached the court for grant of Reservist Pension. The Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an order dated 27 Oct 16 in CA No. 2147/2011 and 8566/2014 for grant of Special Pension stating, that “all sailors appointed prior to 3rd July, 1976 and whose tenure of initial active service/ empanelment period expired on or after 3rd July, 1976 may be eligible for a Special Pension under Regulation 95, subject, however, to fulfilling other requirements. In that, they had not exercised the option to take discharge on expiry of engagement (as per Section 16 of the Act of 1957) and yet were not and could not be drafted by the Competent Authority to the Fleet Reserve because of the policy of discontinuing the Fleet Reserve Service w.e.f 3rd Jul 1976”. 6. The Hon’ble Supreme Court order is being implemented on case-to-case basis as per Gol, MoD/D(Pension/Legal) Letter No. 4/10/2017/D(P/L) dated 26th September 2017. The letter states that sailors appointed prior to 03 Jul 1976 and discharged on or after 03 Jul 1976 on expiry of 10 years active service, subject to following conditions are eligible for grant of Special Pension:- (a) The Ex-Sailor was not and could not be drafted to Fleet Reserve Service because of the discontinuation of the policy. (b) The Ex-Sailor did not exercise the option to take discharge on expiry of engagement period i.e the Sailor opted for retention in active service, but not granted extension to qualify for pensionable service. 7. The Hon’ble Supreme Court order is being implemented in true letter and spirit and there is no discrimination or violation of rules.
Monday, May 14, 2018

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