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Monday, 30 November 2009

From Today's Papers - 30 Nov 09

MoD pays for ignoring SC ruling
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The Delhi High Court and the Armed Forces Tribunal have, in separate cases, imposed costs on the Ministry of Defence and the Army for not taking due cognizance of a Supreme Court order pertaining to grant of pension to disabled veterans and filing appeals contrary to the "settled legal position".

The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that disabled ex-servicemen are entitled to pension even it they have sought retirement voluntarily. The MoD, however, is continuing to file appeals against the order of single benches of high courts allowing pension in such cases. Disability pensionary benefits were not being released by the MoD to voluntary retirees though the Supreme Court had held voluntary retirees entitled to disability pension in 2008.
Acting on a petition file by Bachan Singh, a resident of Ludhiana, the Delhi Bench of the AFT had a few days ago, imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Adjutant General's branch. The Bench observed that the approach of the authorities was casual, which drove poor personnel to unnecessary litigation when the issue stood decided by the high court and the Supreme Court.
The AFT order also quotes a recent case where the Delhi High Court had imposed costs of Rs 25,000 on the MoD for denying disability pension to a voluntary retiree contrary to the settled legal position.It is learnt that the MoD had filed appeals against benefits granted by the courts to disabled veterans by sweeping under the carpet the legal opinion of the office of the Solicitor General.
Even after a bunch of judgments of the Supreme Court upholding an earlier decision by the Delhi High Court, the Legal Advisor of the MoD had recommended further SLPs in similar cases. The matter was then referred to the Solicitor General's office for opinion. The Additional Solicitor General, however, clearly opined that similar matters had been decided by the Supreme Court and had attained finality and such cases were not fit for SLPs.
Army Headquarters also requested that the MoD sanction disability pension to voluntary retirees citing that the same would result in reduction of court cases on the subject. The Army HQ had further pointed out that cases were "being contested by the government despite knowing the settled position of law."

New Delhi, November 29
Cross-border terrorism, illegal immigration, smuggling of narcotics and activities of North-east militants will come up for discussion at the Home Secretary-level talks between India and Bangladesh beginning here tomorrow.

The Indian delegation, led by Home Secretary G K Pillai, will seek cooperation from Bangladesh to deal with security issues, especially combating anti-India jehadi groups and North-east militants operating from its soil, sources said.
India is likely to stress the need for an extradition treaty between the two countries as it would help handing over of each other's wanted criminals.
India's hope with regard to cooperation by Dhaka in cracking down on militant groups stems from the fact that there is a "realisation" in the Sheikh Hasina government about fighting extremism and terrorism.
Illegal immigration is another issue that has been nagging bilateral relations and this matter will be discussed during the three-day talks.
The two sides are expected to discuss sensitive issues related to the border, smuggling of narcotics, fake currency and chalk out a strategy on how to deal with the problems.
India will ask the Bangladesh side, led by its Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder, to take steps to hand over jailed militants like ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia.— PTI 

Post-26/11, number of Army jawans from Maharashtra doubles
Kartikeya , TNN 30 November 2009, 02:57am IST
MUMBAI: Until now we have seen candle-light vigils and peace marches, debates and prayer meetings. But there has been another response to the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai that has gone largely unnoticed. And it has come not from the educated, well-to-do elite visible in the media but from every nook and corner of Maharashtra.

Since 2007, and especially in the wake of 26/11, the number of persons volunteering to serve in the armed forces to defend the country has doubled in Maharashtra. While there were a little more than 2,000 recruits in 2007, over 5,000 have already enlisted till November this year. These numbers relate not to officers but what the defence forces call personnel below officers’ rank (PBOR).

Simply put, they are the ordinary jawans or footsoldiers who form the fighting mainstay of our country. These recruits have come from both rural and urban areas of Maharashtra and their social background can be gauged from the fact that they do not possess the educational qualifications to seek service as officers.

The volunteers have been lining up at selection centres in Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Lonavla, Pune and Mumbai. As a result, recruitment from the state to all three wings of the defence forces â€" the army, navy and air Force â€" have shown a significant jump this year. In fact, in 2009, Maharashtra sent the second-largest number of PBORs to the Indian army.

Following the brutal 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai there was a surge of patriotism across the country. After watching images of military commandos fighting terrorists, several young men expressed a desire to don the army’s olive green uniform. Thus, states such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have also shown an increase in fresh recruits to the defence forces, but nowhere have the numbers gone up as significantly as in Maharashtra.

The armed forces are short of over 13,000 officers but there is no such problem with regard to PBORs. In the last three years, more than 1,24,000 PBORs have joined the army, navy and the air force.

Sound infrastructure needed on border with Tibet: Kapoor
PUNE: Chief of army staff General Deepak Kapoor on Sunday stressed the need to build sound infrastructure on the Indian side of the Tibetan border.

“Such development is necessary in view of the huge infrastructure build-up on the Chinese side of the border with Tibet. We have been constantly saying that we need to bring infrastructure on our own side up to the acceptable levels,� he said.

The army chief was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the passing-out parade
(PoP) of the 117th course at the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla here. His comments were in response to a query regarding the threat perception from China.

“Both India and China have an appropriate mechanism in place to take care of minor skirmishes or disputes, if and when they arise on the border front,� Kapoor said.

Pune boy bags President's gold medal
PUNE: Academy cadet captain Mohit M Markale, who commanded the passing-out parade of the 117th course at the National Defence Academy (NDA) here on Sunday, is the third member of his family to have opted for a career in the armed forces.

Mohit was presented the President's gold medal by army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor for standing first in the overall order of merit vis-a-vis academics, drill, physical training and games.

Mohit follows in the footsteps of his father Col (retd) Mahesh Markale and elder brother Lieutenant Kedar, who is an alumnus of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, and now part of the 6 Lancers unit posted somewhere in the western sector.

While the Markales hail from village Markal near the pilgrim town of Alandi, about 20 km from here, they have settled in the upscale Magarpatta City project at Hadapsar in the city since 2004. Mohit's mother Kanchan is a medical practitioner.

Says Mohit, "The thought of joining any profession other than army never crossed my mind. It is not just the inspiration from within my family but also the fact that I always liked the army way of living that firmed up my career choice." He started preparing for the NDA by joining the Services Preparatory Institute at Aurangabad (SPIA) after completing his early education from Army School, Ahmednagar.

According to Mohit, "The sense of pride that comes through wearing the uniform and the work culture one gets used to in the army mattered more than anything else. Our family has a lot of respect for the armed forces." No wonder, father Mahesh is his role model.

Mohit is already looking ahead to his upcoming training at the IMA, Dehradun, which will culminate into his formal induction as an officer in the army. "I want to join my father's regiment, the 5 Armoured Corps," he declared.

Col Mahesh, who retired from army in 2007 after 35 years of service, said, "I was inspired by my maternal uncle, who was a colonel with the EME branch, to join the army in the late 1970s.

"What makes me happier is that I never asked either of my sons to join the army. It was their choice," said the proud father. "I did tell them that army life is tough from the physical and mental viewpoint, but it can be highly rewarding as it provides a chance to perform acts of valour for the country," he said. Kedar, a commerce graduate from the Marathwada Mitra Mandal college here, echoed similar sentiments.

Leadership qualities win wars: Army chief
PUNE: Advancement in technology need not be an overwhelming factor for a soldier in the battlefield, as it is leadership qualities that transform technical capabilities into tactical victory, Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor said on Saturday.

Addressing the passing-out graduates of the 117th course of the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla, Kapoor said war has been and will always be fought by human beings and leadership. "High morale and fighting spirit will always rule strategies, which will be aided by modern technology," he said.

Kapoor urged the cadets to be constant learners and harness the knowledge and experience to set newer standards in their conduct as officers of the Indian defence forces and the country's citizens.

In all, 257 cadets, including four from Bhutan, were conferred their BSc, BSc (computer science) and BA degrees from the Jawaharlal Nehru University during the function. Cadet Vikas Garsa was awarded the trophy for topping the overall merit order and for academic excellence. He was also awarded the commandant's silver medal and the trophy from the chief of army staff for topping the BSc stream.

Cadet Jaspreet Singh was awarded the commandant's silver medal and a trophy from the chief of naval staff for topping the BSc (computer science) stream, while cadet Vivek Sharma, who topped the BA stream, was awarded the commandant's silver medal with the trophy from the chief of air staff.

Kapoor also released a coffee-table volume NDA Soaring To Greater Heights'.

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