New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Armed Force Tribunal (AFT) to constitute a special bench to hear and decide the plea of army doctors seeking raising of their age of superannuation, from 58 years to 65 in view of the public announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit directed the tribunal to expeditiously decide all the matters pending before it on the issue within three months.
"Since there are various similar matters pending before the Armed Force Tribunal (AFT), the chairman of AFT is directed to constitute a bench to decide these matters expeditiously within three months," it said.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, said that several similar matters are pending before the tribunal which has jurisdiction to decide the issue at hand.
The bench granted liberty to the counsel Indrasen Singh and Sarvesh Singh, appearing for the army doctors, to withdraw the pleas and approach the tribunal.
The apex court had earlier issued notice to the Centre on a batch of pleas but refused to grant any interim stay on the superannuation of the army doctors.
The doctors, all of Colonel rank, including Amitabh Thapliyal, A K Hota, Yogesh Verma, have sought a direction to ministries of Defence, Health, Chief of Army Staff and Director General Armed Forces Medical Services that the notification of May 13 be followed to enhance their age of superannuation to 65 years.
Their plea said that the notification, issued after the announcement made by the Prime Minister, is being followed in paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP, NSG and Assam Rifles.
"Executive instructions have been issued by the Railway Ministry and other ministries/departments of the central government, thereby enhancing the age of superannuation of all medical doctors serving under the respective ministries/ departments to 65 years.
"However, no such executive instructions have so far been issued in respect of the medical officers serving under the Ministry of Defence, including the medical officers belonging to the Army Medical Corps/Army Dental Corps (AMC/ADC) of Indian Army," the plea said.