New Delhi, 27th February 2023: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday came down heavily on the Ministry of Defense for its letter regarding the payment of arrears of One Rank-One Pension in instalments to eligible pensioners of the armed forces. A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, which was hearing the matter, took exception to the letter issued by the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense and directed him to file a personal affidavit explaining his position.

The court reprimanded the ministry in this matter and said, “You tell the secretary that we are going to take action against him for the letter issued on 20th January. Either withdraw it, or we will issue a contempt notice to the Ministry of Defense. The sanctity of the judicial process has to be maintained.” The bench hearing the matter also includes Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala.

A group of ex-servicemen had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Center to pay the dues of the One Rank-One Pension (OROP) scheme to all eligible pensioners in one instalment instead of four. The matter was heard in the apex court on Monday.

Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman said that as per the court’s order, the Defense Ministry should be given time to exercise it. The apex court will hear the matter after the Holi vacation.

It may be noted that on 9th January, the Supreme Court gave the Central Government time till 15th March to clear the total dues of OROP to all eligible pensioners of the armed forces. In this case, the government had moved the court, seeking an extension of time till 15th March 2023, for payment of OROP scheme dues.