Victimization of 1349338K MEG’s Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah. Date of Enrollment: 20.04.1968, Date of Discharge: 21.10.1981. Total Service: 13 Years 6 Months 1 day. Discharge on own request under Army Rule 13(3) item III (V) of 1954. This is an excerpt from an email dated 24.06.2019 to Commandant, MEG & Center, Bengaluru with copies to COAS & AG’s Branch among others by AIR VETERAN MANDETIRA NANAYYA SUBRAMANI, President, VeKare Ex-Servicemen Trust, Mysuru, Karnataka.
Ours is a NGO, a Charitable Trust, floated by a group of military Veterans primarily to serve the Ex-Servicemen community and their dependents. VeKare Ex-Servicemen Trust (VKET) is committed to provide an appropriate forum for each beleaguered Ex-Serviceman, widows of Ex-Servicemen, war widows’ dependents of battle casualties and serve as a meeting ground to exchange views, foster brotherhood and promote bonhomie amongst the Ex-Servicemen fraternity.
The object of our Trust is multifold. One of the objectives is to help ESMs, widows and dependents of ESMs whenever they approach us seeking our intervention to help them to get their problems resolved by projecting their just cause to appropriate authorities through our representations and through various print, electronic and social media to attract attention of service HQs and the MoD.
We are addressing this email to Commandant of MEG & Centre with copies to COAS and AG’s Branch among other relevant authorities and a few senior retired Armed Forces Officers as we have been approached by MEG’s Ex-Spr of yore, Belliappa Motaiah along with his wife M. Jancy with a complaint/grievance against MEG’s Record Officer. In his complaint he states that his representation dated 12 Dec 2018 which was forwarded through Office of Joint Director, Dept of Sainik Welfare & Resettlement, Madikeri, Kodagu Dist along with (a) Original Marriage Certificate issued by Registrar of Marriages, Ponnampet, Kodagu Dist. (b) An Affidavit in original swearing regarding the marriage after discharge. (c) Copy of Aadhaar Card of wife and (d) copy of Voter’s Identity card of Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah’s wife CM Jancy, requesting to publish Part-II Order regarding his marriage after discharge with his wife has been arbitrarily turned down.
The above said ex-Spr also requested our Trust to intervene and project his helplessness to all the concerned authorities and send the copies of the emails/letters to various media to attract the attention of Army and other authorities forcing them to intervene to get his marriage documented/Part-II Order published by MEG Record office without any delay or citing any frivolous reasons. Hence, I am sending this e-mail based on the Army Discharge Book issued by Army authorities, Ex-Serviceman Identity Card issued by Dept of Sainik Welfare & Resettlement, Madikeri, Kodagu District and the letter addressed to the above said Ex-Spr from MEG Records dated 22.04.2019 along with certain original documents pertaining to his marriage with CM Jancy.
The following are the bogus grounds cited by the Captain of MEG’s Record Office for refusal to publish Part-II Order in MEG’s letter (bearing reference No. 3606/GEN/172/NE-3 dated 22/04/2019) addressed to Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah with a copy to office of the Joint Director, Dept of Sainik Welfare & Resettlement, Madikeri, Kodagu Dist:
- Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah is a non-pensioner.
- Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah’s service documents have already been destroyed on completion of its preservation period of 25 years. Hence, Part-II Order cannot be published.
- Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah’s family is not eligible for any benefits from Army side since the individual being Non-Ex-Serviceman status.
It appears to our Trust that, the Captain has originated the above said letter without any foresight or referring to the policy on the ‘Definition of Ex-Servicemen’ issued by the Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances & Pensions, Dept of Personnel & Training, New Delhi from time to time. The Record Officer who signed the letter has displayed his utter disregard, ignorance, insensitivity and callousness to the request of Ex-Serviceman.
The Captain also should have mentioned his name while signing the said official letter/communication addressed to Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah because there cannot be any Captain or any Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army without any name. When most of the Commissioned Officers in other Record Offices of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force mention their name clearly in bold capital letters while signing any official letters/communications, why do MEG Record Officers hide their names? The following are my arguments countering the theories advanced by the ignorant and insensitive Captain.
Definition of Ex-Serviceman Prior to 30/06/1987
Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah is an Ex-Serviceman as per the definition of Ex-Serviceman as mentioned in page 5 of ‘Information Broacher-2019’ published and circulated by Directorate General Resettlement, Ministry of Defence and as per other relevant policy letters issued by Govt. of India on definition of Ex-Serviceman. Ex-Spr Belliappa Motaiah was discharged on 21/10/981 on his own request honourably, after a total service of 13 years 6 months including boys service but before earning his pension. It appears that, the Chief Record Officer of MEG Records Lt Col MP Choudary, Major Chintamani, Officer In-Charge, NE Records and the Captain (who signed the letter without mentioning his name) are to be educated regarding the Definition of Ex-Serviceman defined by the government of India from time to time.
As the Commandant of MEG & Centre, you may kindly educate the CRO, SROs and ROs of MEG Records to the extent that only those Armed Forces Combatant/Non-Combatant (Enrolled) personnel who are discharged on or after 01.07.1987 on their own request, before earning any pension are not covered under the definition of Ex-Serviceman. It is disgusting to note that the Captain who signed the letter without mentioning his name is not even educated enough to know the correct Definition of Ex-Serviceman.
However, every military Veteran is aware that Short Service Commissioned officers who complete their initial term of engagement are covered under the definition of Ex-Servicemen even though they are not entitled for any pension and I am sure, the MEG Record Officers would also know this aspect at least since, it concerns Commissioned Officers and they are not gullible and cannot be fooled very easily.
Destruction of Service Documents of Non-Pensioners after Preservation Period of 25 Years
It is needless to mention that all the Ex-Servicemen belonging to Personnel Below Officer Ranks who are honourably discharged from the Army with or without pension are issued with Army Discharge Book with all the service details of the individual mentioned in the discharge book, which is an official document. This Army Discharge Book, when produced in any court of law, will be considered as primary evidence for all purposes for having served in the Indian Army by the individual.
The Record Officers in MEG Records should not hold any different view and cannot dispute any entry made officially in the Discharge Book or cannot refuse to accept Army Discharge book as an authentic service document of an Ex-Serviceman of yore either deliberately or ignorantly when it is issued by the competent authority of Indian Army. MEG’s Record Officers should also never ever claim that all the documents pertaining to any particular Ex-Serviceman who happens to be a non-pensioner have been destroyed after completion of its preservation period of 25 years when an ex-serviceman possesses his discharge book.
I am also of the firm opinion that MEG’s Non-Effective Record Office certainly possess the Sheet Rolls/Long Rolls with the basic details of all the Sappers, NCOs/JCOs at least those who have enrolled MEG after 1965 Indo-China war. The Sheet Rolls/Long Rolls as official records/documents would be preserved for a very long period, whether the MEG Ex-soldiers are in receipt of pension or not. The Record Officers just cannot burry the details of living or dead MEG’s gallant soldiers who fought wars right from World War-II till 1971 Indo-Pak war and brought laurels to MEG perpetually.
The Army Discharge Book of any Ex-Serviceman is a document good enough to extract the details of any Sapper who preserves his Discharge Book like one of his proud possession for rest of his life and also by his next generations. Our Trust is in possession of the scanned copy of the Sapper’s entire discharge book issued by the competent Army authorities and Ex-Serviceman Identity card issued by Dept of Sainik Welfare & Resettlement, Madikeri, Kodagu Dist. If Belliappa Motaiah would not have been covered under the definition of Ex-Serviceman, he would have never been issued with an Ex-Servicemen Identity Card by Dept of Sainik Welfare & Resettlement, Govt. of Karnataka.
Refusing a living Ex-Serviceman or a legally married wife of an Ex-Serviceman after the demise of Ex-Serviceman to document their marriage/publish a Part-II Order regarding their marriage and birth of children at any point/stage of their life by any Record Officer of any Army Record Office is a clear violation of human rights. Stipulating a period of less than 25 years after discharge from the Army without pension for getting the marriage documented/Part-II Order published pertaining to a Ex-Sapper by MEG Records is certainly against principle of natural justice.
Any local policy formulated by the MEG Record Officers with a view for reducing the clerical work load which is contrary to the practice in other Record Offices of Indian Army and policies formulated by Army Headquarters and Ministry of Defence will not stand the test of judicial scrutiny. However, poor, hapless Ex-Sappers of yore living in distress and who are not in receipt of any pension despite having fought wars in the past under odd conditions should not be made to knock the doors of Armed Forces Tribunals or other courts spending huge amount of money in the autumn of their lives in litigation and legwork.
Non-Pensioner ESM’s Family is not Entitled for any Benefits
MEG’s Record Officer has no locus standi to pass any judgment that a non-pensioner ESM’s family is not entitled for any benefits. Who can predict that the central government will never formulate any policy in future sanctioning pro-rata pension to all the Ex-Servicemen who fought one of the 1965 or 1971 declared Indo-Pak war or both and served for a period not less than 10 years and family pension for widows of such Ex-Servicemen? What if the government extends the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) benefit for all the Ex-Servicemen and their dependent family members who fought 1965 war or 1971 war ignoring the prevailing mandatory condition that ESM/ widows of ESM should be in receipt of defence pension/family pension to be eligible to become a member of ECHS?
I wish to place on record that the Captain who has signed the letter without mentioning his name has committed a unpardonable wrong/sin by indirectly refusing to recognize the fact regarding the legal marriage of an ex-soldier of yore, from MEG who fought Indo-Pak 1971 war. Refusing to recognize the legally married relationship between the Ex-Spr in question and his wife by the Captain of MEG Records is not only an insult to the ex-soldier but also to his spouse.
In view of the problem created by the Record Officer of MEG Records, I humbly request the Commandant of MEG & Centre, Bengaluru and the competent authorities to whom I also endorsed copies of my email to intervene and resolve the issue projected by our Trust and to set a precedent to deter other possible insensitive, ignorant Record Officers from any Record Office of Indian Army from committing such blunders in future since most of the hapless soldiers of yore are mostly not so educated but gullible.
Mandetira N. Subramani is a retired Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (Ex-Sgt) of the Indian Air Force’s Accounts Branch. He is a post graduate in Business Studies and a Law Graduate. After his release from the IAF, he was appointed as a Senior Grade Lecturer in a college under the government of Karnataka and taught Business Studies and Accountancy for two decades at different colleges in Mysuru district. He has been taking up the just causes of military Veterans for the past 29 years. MN Subramani can be contacted through Email: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org. This article first appeared in the print version of the magazine, in the latest July 2019 issue.