Armed Forces Tribunal cannot take sweeping decisions
Setting off widespread discontent among military personnel, the Centre on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which grants Non-Functional Upgrade (NFU) to the armed forces.
The Special Leave Petition (SLP), filed by the Centre, came even as the military personnel are yet to receive their new salaries recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission.
According to a Ministry of Defence official, the decision to challenge the ruling of the AFT to grant NFU was prompted by its legal stand that the tribunal has no authority to take such a sweeping decision. The source, in fact, argued that the government was not against NFU for services.
NFU has been one of the core anomalies raised by the services in the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, which are yet to be implemented for military personnel. There have been some reports, quoting Army chief General Bipin Rawat, saying that the issues would be sorted out by the end of April. The NFU entitles all officers of a batch, including those not promoted, to draw the salary and grade pay that the senior-most officer of their batch would get after a certain period. For instance, batch mates of a Secretary to the Government of India, who have not been promoted, will be entitled to the same pay after a certain period of time.
The Sixth Pay Commission had granted NFU to most Group ‘A’ officers but not the military and paramilitary officers. Since then, the armed forces had been demanding a one-time notional NFU to ensure parity.