Dismissing appeals filed by the Centre, the Supreme Court has upheld the claim of scientists working under Ministry of Defence for treating the special pay for pensionary benefits.
The Principal Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal and other benches had allowed the claim of these scientists working in Department of Defence Research and Development Organisation, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, for treating the sanctioned special pay of Rs 2,000 w.e.f. 01.01.1996 and Rs 4,000 w.e.f. 01.01.2006, for pensionary benefits.
Before the apex court, the Centre contended that the definition of pay as contained in Fundamental Rule 9(21)(a)(i) clearly excludes "special pay" from the definition of pay, hence the "special pay" of Rs 2,000 w.e.f. 01.01.1996 and Rs 4,000 w.e.f. 01.01.2006 cannot be included in pay, hence has to be excluded from the definition of emoluments.
The bench comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice L Nageswara Rao observed that the special benefit sanctioned was in lieu of a separate higher pay scale. The court said: "It is, thus, clear that grant of special pay of Rs.2,000/- was in lieu of a separate higher pay scale, which does not fit in the nature of special pay as contemplated by Rule 9(25). Thus, the addition as granted by office memorandum dated 03.02.1999 also does not fit in the special pay, which is excluded from the definition of pay given under Rule 9(21)(a)(i). Thus, addition of benefit of Rs.2,000/- w.e.f. 01.01.1996 styled as special pay has to be included in the definition of pay given under Rule 9(21)(a)(i) looking to the true nature and character of the benefit, which was extended to Scientists on the basis of peer review."
The bench then upheld the finding of the tribunals holding that the amount of special pay of Rs 2,000 w.e.f. 01.01.1996 and Rs 4,000 w.e.f. 01.01.2006 be treated as part of pay for the basis of computation of pension.
Read the Judgment Here