Antony seeks AG’s opinion on issue of rank pay fixation Wants clarification on interpretation of apex court order

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 14
Faced with differing interpretations of a Supreme Court order on correct fixation of “rank pay” of armed forces officers, Defence Minister AK Antony today decided to seek opinion of the Attorney General (AG).

The “rank pay” issue is popularly known as the Major AK Dhanapalan case. The Supreme Court, in a verdict last September, ordered fixation of “rank pay” since January 1, 1986, for the Fourth Pay Commission.

Antony, at a high-level meeting today, made it clear that the apex court verdict had to be implemented. The forces and the MoD are in disagreement over interpretation of the SC order. The MoD interpretation is that the order may be implemented for personnel impacted by the Fourth Pay Commission “as on January 1, 1986”. The interpretation of the forces is that it means “with effect from January 1, 1986”.

This would mean that the anomaly in the subsequent pay commissions (the fifth and the sixth) should also be corrected. Rank pay, when calculated with the basic, will enhance pension of thousands of retired officers.

Going by the MoD interpretation, officers affected by the Fourth Pay Commission would benefit, while there would be no hike for those covered under the later pay commissions.

Antony said the Services would give their interpretation and submit to the Attorney General directly while the MoD would take up the matter with the Ministry of Finance that fixed the pays and salaries of all government employees.

According to official sources, Antony wants the matter to be sorted out soon. The MoD will also give its interpretation to the AG.

The Supreme Court had directed the government to re-fix the pay scale of Army officers affected by the Fourth Pay Commission and this would entail an additional burden of Rs 1,600 crore on the exchequer.

The orders benefited officers in the rank of Captain to Brigadier in the Army and equivalent ranks in the Air Force and the Navy, between January 1, 1986, and January 1, 2006.

The apex court also directed the Centre to pay 6 per cent interest from January 1, 2006, to all officers, whether or not they have filed any petition before any of the high courts or the Benches of Armed Forces Tribunal, within 12 weeks from today.

Major AK Dhanapalan was the first officer to challenge the fixation before the Kerala High Court which, in October 1998, directed the government to re-fix the pay without deducting the rank pay.


  • The Supreme Court, in a verdict last September, ordered the fixation of “rank pay” since January 1, 1986, for the Fourth Pay Commission
  • The forces and the MoD are in disagreement over the interpretation of the SC order
  • The MoD interpretation is that the order may be implemented for personnel impacted by the Fourth Pay Commission “as on January 1, 1986”
  • The interpretation of the forces is that it means “with effect from January 1, 1986”


Meet on salary issue of military officers

Meet on salary issue of military officers

The Ghost of Grade Pay shows up at Shimla. Holiday time!

A Wing Commander went to Grand Hotel, Mall road, Shimla.

The receptionist said, “Are you from CDS/NDA?”

The retired Wing Commander Sahib said, “Yes, I am a retired Wing Commander. Can I get the room?”

The receptionist said, “Yes Sir, you can get the ordinary room for Rs 400 per day. You can also get the VIP room in Mayo Block if your grade pay is Rs 8700 or more.”

Wing Commander sahib’s face went pale as he recalled he had payband 4 but Govt. Of India Babus had deliberately depressed the grade pay to Rs 8000. On the civil side, the payband 4 starts with grade pay of Rs 8700. As already explained in an earlier post, the Wing Commanders and equivalents deserve grade pay of Rs 8800.

Wing Commander Sahib who had put in 30 years of service could not get VIP room and felt small. What’s the use of commanding the elite fighter aircraft squadrons? A commanding officer of Seema Suraksha Bal has been given higher grade pay than the Wing Commander who commands elite squadrons like the Sukhoi, Mirage etc. That’s the reward you get; insult and lowering of status.

Officers of other central services with just 15 years of service are enjoying the grade pay of Rs 8700 whereas still 75 % of the officers in the defence service are having grade pay of Rs 8000 even after 25 years of service.

Old Lt Cols who commanded the battalions and fought the wars for the nation are being slighted by the babus and the rulers of the country. Sadly and surprisingly, The serving top leadership is silent on these issues. They say,” No issues with Govt.”

Higher Grade Pay of Rs 8800 for Wing Commanders of the IAF!

Wing Commanders are the backbone of the IAF since it is this rank that commands the elite Sukhoi or other fighter squadrons or performs equivalent functions. The Wing Commanders have been placed in the payband-4 with grade pay of Rs 8000.

Strangely the Commandants who are Police Battalion COs (CPOs i.e. CRPF, BSF etc.) have been given higher grade pay of Rs 8700 i.e. more than the grade pay of Wing Commanders. This is not understood and appears illogical because of the following reasons:-

  • Is commanding a Squadron of the Mirage/ Sukhoi fighter planes (or others) anyway less than commanding the police troops?
  • Historically the pay of Wing Commander has  been more than that of the Commandant.
  Wing Cdr Police Commandant 
4th Pay Commission 4700-5900 4500-5700
5th Pay Commission 15100-18700 14300-18300
  • According to Warrant of Precedence, a Lt Col lies just one step below the DIG (Sl no. 38 & 37). DIG lies 4 steps below a Colonel (Sl no. 37 & 33)

A DIG has been granted a grade pay of Rs 8900. Hence a Wing Commander should be given a grade pay higher than Rs 8700 but equal/slightly less than Rs 8900.

Hence based on sound logic, facts & figures, a grade pay of Rs 8900 or 8800 should be given to the Wing Commanders of the IAF.

Good news! Some hope from the Committee of Secretaries


Armed forces’ pay fixation: Govt may accept 4 demands
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 16
The government is keen to accept at least four of the armed forces’ demands on fixation of their pay and pension. 
The high-powered committee set up by PM Manmohan Singh has given its ideas wherein it has accepted that some of the demands of the forces need to be met immediately as there are glaring anomalies, sources said.

Sources said the committee has recommended that the armed forces be given non-functional upgradation (NFU) to match their counterparts in the IPS, IAS and paramilitary forces.

The grade pay is another issue, the committee has suggested, can be looked into. Thirdly, it has agreed that a common payscale be evolved for in-service jawans. Lastly, it has agreed on removal of all anomalies towards one rank one pension (OROP).

Meanwhile, a fresh calculation has been ordered following a Supreme Court judgment relating to a 25-year-old pay-related case filed by Major Dhanapalan. The court ruled in his favour to correct the anomaly and will impact all officers who were serving then and now.

This had to be factored in before a final announcement. The PM can still make changes as Defence Minister AK Antony was very keen on resolving matters at the earliest and in favour of the forces.

The committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth was formed following an intervention from PM Manmohan Singh on July 8 this year.

The forces protested that they had no representative; the committee specially met the three service chiefs. Its mandate was to deal with six issues of serving officers and jawans and another four issues relating to those who retired.

Sources said the committee was unanimous on payscale for jawans, OROP, grade pay and NFU. The most serious was the NFU issue. The Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations were out in October 2008. The IAS in the post of Joint Secretary (JS) to the Government of India was made eligible for a grade pay of Rs 10,000 a month on completing 22 years of service.


  • Armed forces be given non-functional upgrade to match their counterparts in the IPS, IAS and paramilitary forces
  • Grade pay can be looked into
  • A Common payscale be evolved for in-service jawans
  • Anomalies be removed towards one rank-one pension

NFU (Non-functional upgradation), frequently asked questions

DOP&T released FAQ on Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU)




Point of doubt


1 What are the recommendations of 6th CPC for grant of Non-Functional Upgradation to for Officers of Organized Group A’ Services? The Government should, consider batch-wise parity while empanelling and /or posting at Centre between respective batches of IAS and other organized Group A services with the gap being restricted to two years. Whenever any IAS officer of a particular batch is posted in the Centre to a particular grade carrying a specific grade pay in pay bands PB-3 or PB-4. grant of higher pay scale on non-functional basis to the officers belonging to batches of organized Group A services that are senior by two years or more should be given by the Government.
2 Whether the recommendations of 6th CPC have been accepted by the Government? Yes. This will also be applicable to the Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service in their respective State Cadres for which the relevant cadre controlling authorities will issue the orders, (Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure Notification dated 29th August, 2008 refers)
3 When were the guidelines on NFU issued by DOPT? DOPT have issued instructions on grant of officers of Organized Services in OM No. 14017/64/2008-Estt.(RR) dated 24th April, 2009.
4 To whom the instructions are applicable? NFU is applicable to the officers of Organized Group A services in PB-3, PB-4 and in HAG scale also where there is such a Grade in the Service
5 From which date the grant of NFU to officers of Organized group A services is to be made? The benefit is based on the recommendations of 6th CPC and will be available w.e.f the date of posting of IAS officers in various grades on/after 01.01. 2006.
6 What are the eligibility conditions to be met for grant of NFU? The terms and conditions for grant of NFU are prescribed in the Annexure to the OM dated 24.4.2009. As per the same all the eligibility criteria and promotional norms including ‘benchmark’ for upgradation to a particular grade pay would have to be met at the time of screening for grant of higher pay scale under these orders.
7 What is the definition of the term ‘Batch’? For the purpose of grant of NFU the ‘Batch’ for direct recruit officers in the induction grade shall be the year following the year in which competitive exam was held. In subsequent grades the ‘Batch’ would remain the same provided the officer is not superseded due to any reason. In case an officer is superseded the officer would be considered along with the ‘Batch’ with which his seniority is fixed.
8 Where the entry of officers in Organized Group A Service by DR is at STS, JAG level, how the ‘Batch’ shall be reckoned? In respect of officers entering Organized Group A service by DR at STS, JAG level, they shall be assigned the benefit of ‘Batch’ corresponding to the ‘Batch’ of the officers with whom the seniority is clubbed.
9 Whether the benefit is available to Group B officers inducted into the Organized Group A service? Yes. Such officers shall b assigned the benefit of ‘Batch’ corresponding to the batch of the ‘direct recruit’ officers with whom their seniority is clubbed.
10 Whether the officers can exercise option regarding date of fixation in the higher scale as provided in CCS(RP) Rules? Provisions of CCS(RP) Rules, 2008 will apply.
11 Whether retired employees are eligible for the benefit of NFU? Retired officers who are other wise eligible as on due date shall be considered for the benefit of pay upgradation.
12 Whether the scheme is applicable to Scientists, Doctors, etc. who are covered by their own in-situ promotion schemes? Non-Functional Upgradation and other in situ promotion schemes are separate schemes and it would not be desirable to mix one with the other. The benefit of NFU to Organized Group A Services shall not be applicable to the officers in those Organized Services where FCS and DACP Schemes are already operating and where officers are already separately covered by their own in-situ Career Progression Schemes.
13 Whether DOPT OM dated 13.4.2010 on communication of ACR prior to 2008-09 is applicable while considering cases for NFU? The instructions issued in this Department’s OM dated 13.4.2010 on communication of ACRs prior to 2008- 09 shall be applicable for considering cases of NFU also.
14 What is the due date of upgradation if found unfit on the date assigned to a batch? If an officer is not found eligible during a vacancy year and is found fit in the next vacancy year, NFU may be granted from the 1st April. i.e. the 1st day of the next vacancy year.
15 How to consider cases where the officers do not meet the qualifying service in the vacancy year in which the batch is covered for non functional up gradation? If an officer does not meet the eligibility requirement as on the 1st January of the corresponding vacancy year then such officer is to be considered for grant of NFU in subsequent vacancy year on completion of qualifying service w.e,f. 1st April, i.e. 1st day of the next vacancy year .
16 How the NFU shall be given in respect of officers given penalty? The NFU becoming due after the expiry of the penalty period may be granted w.e.f. the due date as per DOPT instructions. In respect of officers for whom NFU becomes due before the expiry of the penalty period, the same may be granted from the day next to the date on which penalty gets over.
17 Whether the instructions regarding counting of past Group A service at the time of lalteral entry on DR basis to higher grades as per DOPT OM dated 1.9.98 shall be applicable for grant of NFU also? In view of the provisions on meeting the prescribed eligibility criteria and promotional norms in DOPT OM dated 24.4.09. these instructions shall be applicable for the purpose of grant of NFU also.

(Mukta Goel)

Original Order :

Sergeants’ Grade Pay & Status!

Sergeant Major Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in South Africa during the Boar War

Sergeant rank is the backbone of the Indian Air Force.  Requisite justice has not been done to them in the matters of pay and pension. After the 6th CPC, the Sergeants have been given grade pay of Rs 2800.

Civilians drawing pay in the 5th CPC S-9 scale of 5000-150-8000 have been given grade pay of 4200 after the 6th CPC.

Civilians drawing pay in the 5th CPC S-8 scale of 4500-125-7000 have been given grade pay of 2800 after the 6th CPC.

Sergeants of Group ‘X’ were in the pay scale of Rs.4670-85-5945 which was upgraded to 5000-100-6500 for those Sergeants who qualified a special technical test on par with diploma in engineering.

Few comments from the are reproduced below:-

Anonymous said…

The MOD had approved the Machine Operator(Offset) (in 4500-7000 scale) GP @Rs. 4200/- and The Asst Master in Military Schools (in 5500-9000scale) GP @Rs.4600/- w.e.f. 1.1.2006. But the Air Force Group X -Sgt ( with a BP of Rs.5000/- and Edn Inst.(Sgt GpX) ( PG Degree/B.Ed.qualification) with a BP of 4965/- are still in the GP of Rs.2800/- and similarly, the fate of Navy Personnel Art.III-I, who is equivalent to a JCO rank is in the GP of 3400/- w.e.f. 1.1.2006.

As far Group pay is concerned to tech personnel. This has been given to all the ranks (PBORs) in technical trade. Why exclusively only Sgt is believed to have been componsated by this Gp Pay. This is not at all correct comparison The fact is Sgt of technical gp has been placed below at 2800 Rs. Just the paycommision wanted to raitionalise the payscales of ranks of PBOR. Civilian in the pay scale of 5000 (Vth CPC) has been granted 4200/- GP but Sgt 2800/-. But done is done.

X-Sgt KS Balaji said…

Sir, my regards and thanks for this wonderful platform. Presently after VI CPC all Central govt jobs with diploma qualifiction have a grade pay of Rs. 4200/.(PB-2). But, for the defence services why it is fixed at Rs. 2800/ for Sergeant in PB-1. Alas!.What is your opinion on this? Is there any justification given from defence services in accepting it?

Hence the grade pay of Sergeant of ‘X’ group who meets the requirements of diploma in engineering should be more than Rs 2800.

Following MOD letter is reproduced here.

Government of India
Ministry of Defence
New Delhi,                                                                                   the 10th November, 2000

The Chief of the Air Staff
New Delhi

Subject : Removal of anomalies arisen from the implementation of the revised pay scales consequent to the 5th CPC recommendation – Pay scales of PBORs.
I am directed to refer to the SAFI 1/S/98 dated 12th December, 1997 and this Ministry’s letters No.1(3)/97/D(Pay/services) dated 21st November, 1997 and (26)/97/D (Pay/ Services), dated 3rd October, 2000 on the above subject and to state that one of the recommendations of the HLC relates to the revision of pay scales of Sgt, in the Air Force.

The present pay scale of Sgt of Group ‘X’ in the Air Force is Rs.4670-85-5945. The HLC had recommended enhancement of the scale to Rs. 5000-100-6500 to restore relativity with civil diploma holders. The said recommendation of the HLC has since been considered by the Government in the light of the recommendations of the Committee, specifically constituted on the above subject, and it has been decided that while the existing pay scale of Sgt of X Group in the Air Force would remain at Rs.4670-85-5945, those Sgts, of X category who qualify a technical examination at par with diploma in engineering to be designed and conducted by Air HQ will be
given the upgraded scale of Rs.5000-100-6500.

2. It has also been decided that the special dispensation to Sgts, of Group ‘X’ of Air Force who successfully qualify the prescribed technical examination, referred to above, to be conducted by Air HQ would be given financial benefit from 10.10.1997 as a one-time measure.

3. This issues with the concurrence of Defence (Finance) vide their UO No.1708/AG/PD dated 8.11.2000.
Yours faithfully,

(RK Grover)
Under Secretary to the Govt. of India.

Appendix A to Special AFI Page 12 of 64