Low Medical Category Soldiers in the Indian Army, like in any other military organization, may have various personal reasons for wanting to discharge from service before completing their minimum pensionable service. Serving in the military can be physically and mentally demanding. Soldiers with severe nature of health issues, both physical and psychological, that make it difficult for them to continue their service.
In such conditions they have option to get released from the Army by expressing his unwillingness to accept sheltered appointment as and when it is asked to them. Now, we must know the fact and a clear concept of Sheltered appointment and instances where it is granted/refused by the Army.
Once a soldier is placed in permanent low medical category, he is placed in alternative duties which is in generally termed as sheltered appointment. As per instructions of service HQ/ Record office, once a Jawan/JCO/Officer is placed at permanent LMC, and after every recategorisation (in general every 2 years in interval) is offered / not offered sheltered appointment based on the availability and authorisation of LMC strength in a unit. In such cases the indl is supposed to give in writing that whether he is willing to accept sheltered appointment or not. The Standard format available which is known as Suitabilty Cum Retention Certificate (SCRC). Two different consequences may be resulted after this kind of actions.
(a) If the Permt LMC individual is willing to accept Sheltered appointment and OC unit not offer him alternate appointment/ not recommend him for sheltered appointment/ not reccommend him to continue in service, the individual will be discharged from service.
(b) If the Permt LMC individual is unwilling to accept Sheltered appointment and OC unit recommend him / not recommend him fo alternate employment/sheltered appointment, the individual will be discharged from service.
(c) If the Permt LMC individual is unwilling to accept sheltered appointment but OC unit recommend him for continue in service with sheltered appointment, the individual will be discharged from service.
According to Pension Regulations for the Army, 2008 part –I, Regulation 81,82,95 and 98 the indivual discharged from service on the grounds mentioned at (a), (b) and (c) above will be treated as medical invalidated out of service. In the event of such discharge, if disability is attributable to / aggravated by military service and minimum disability is assessed as 1%, he will be entitled to get Disability Pension comprises of service element and disability element both. Which is not less than 65% in total of the last RE (Basic Pay + MSP + Class Pay). So, it is evident that this amount of pension is more than the service pension if he would have entitled to draw. No minimum qualifying servicce is required o earn disability pension. It is apparent to mention here that Amount of service pension is 50% of last RE only. DR is applicable to all the elements/pension.
Now, it has been observed from the environment that, in Indian Army, thousands of LMC PBOR who have not completed minimum qualifying service for earning service pension and placed in LMC (Permanent) with disability attributable/ aggravated by military service are eagerly waiting to proceed to be released from service on the basis of the provisions mentioned at para (b) above. A number of individuals with 5years, 6 years, 10 years of total service have placed their unwillingness to accept sheltered appointment and as per SOP , the certificate alongwith DO Part-II Order have been forwarded to the Record office by the OC Unit as a routine practice.
The difficulties arises here at the sanctioning level that an instructions was issued by ADG/MP-3 (PBOR) on 30 Sep 2010 instructed that, “ All endeavors should be made to allow LMC personnel to complete their minimum pensionable service (i.e 15 years) in their present rank before considering their case for disch under permanent LMC due to non-availability of sheltered appointment.” The Unwilling certificate of all LMC persons with less than 15 years of service is being returned by the Record office to reconcile the cases in adherance with the letter of ADG(MP) of 30 Sep 2010 to avoid future litigation/court case.
In such a situation, we must observe that the content of the letter of ADG (MP) dt 30 Sep 2010 is not applicable to the situation where the indl is unwilling to accept sheltered appointment but OC Unit has recommended him to continue in service and also offered him sheltered appointment.
To deal with such a situation, those who are still unwilling to accept sheltered appointment and want to be released as per Army Rule 13 (3) Item III(v) read with sub rule 2A, may submit a request to their CO to reconsider his case. However, this is just a discussion on the topic and the subject matter is totally depends on the latest policy of the Regiment/Department.
It is true that, each soldier’s decision to seek discharge before completing their minimum pensionable service is influenced by their unique circumstances, goals, and priorities. The Indian Army, like other armed forces worldwide, has procedures in place for handling discharge requests and assessing the reasons behind them.