SC upholds govt's decision on OROP
GS Paper - 2 (Polity)
The Supreme Court on 16 March 2022 upheld the government's decision on One Rank, One Pension (OROP), and said that it does not find any constitutional infirmity on the OROP principle. The SC has upheld the manner in which the Central Government introduced the OROP scheme in defence forces as per its notification dated 7 November 2015.
- OROP is a policy decision of the government and it is not for the court to go into the adjudication of policy matters.
- Furthermore, the SC has directed that the pending re-fixation exercise of OROP should be carried out from 1 July 2019 and arrears should be paid in 3 months.
- A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud had reserved its verdict on 23 February 2022 asking the Centre whether the hardships of ex-servicemen be obviated to a certain extent if the periodic revision of OROP is reduced from five years to a lesser period.
- The plea had been filed by the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) through advocate Balaji Srinivasan against the Centre's formula of OROP.
- The ‘one rank, one pension’ rule means that retired soldiers of the same rank and length of service will receive the same pension, regardless of when they retire.
- As of now, the date of retirement determines the amount of pension. With each Pay Commission coming up with its recommendations every 10 years, the military veterans who retire early receive fewer pensions as compared to those who retired later with the same rank and length of service.
- Ex-servicemen had been demanding for OROP for almost four decades, and that request came through in 2018 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 'One Rank One Pension' scheme for ex-servicemen.