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Posted at: Sep 15, 2018, 1:45 AM; last updated: Sep 15, 2018, 5:48 PM (IST)

48 yrs on, visually impaired ex-serviceman gets pension

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14

For almost half a century, a visually impaired ex-serviceman ran from pillar to post in dire straits as he had to do without pension that had been rejected by the Defence Accounts Department even though the Army had recommended it.

Sepoy Mohinder Singh of the Sikh Regiment, now 70 years old and resident of Banur village near here, had joined the Army in 1968. In 1970, after having served for just two years and four months, he was invalided out on medical grounds due to failing sight.

“We were deployed near Babina on a field exercise when I fell in the darkness and received an injury on my head. Later, I donated blood for another jawan and suffered loss of vision,” he said. “I was kept for about two months at military hospitals in Gwalior and Bhopal and since my vision deteriorated, I was discharged with the promise that I would be given pension,” he added. He was escorted home, then near Rajpura, by two of his unit personnel.

Mohinder said he kept waiting for his pension, which never came. He tried to seek some help from various sources, but was unsuccessful. With no source of income, his wife took up petty jobs to keep the household running.

“About four years ago, he came in touch with our organisation and we took legal recourse to help him out by filing a petition before the Armed Forces Tribunal.

It turned out that though his disability had been assessed at 40 per cent at the time of discharge, the erstwhile Medical Adviser on Pensions in the office of the Controller of Defence Accounts had rejected the claim for pension on the grounds that his disability was neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service,” Lt Col SS Sohi, president of the Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell, Mohali, said.

The cell also approached the Army, Punjab’s Department of Defence Services Welfare and other organisations for garnering financial assistance for Mohinder, managing to collect over Rs 1 lakh for him.

The Chandigarh Bench of the tribunal, comprising Justice Mohamad Tahir and Lt Gen Munish Sibal, held that given the circumstances of the case, his disability was attributable to military service. Granting him 40 per cent disability and commensurate pensionary benefits along with arrears for four years that the case took to conclude and for another three years preceding the date of filing the case, the tribunal also ordered that his disability would be reassessed by a medical board within four months. Sohi said that since his disability was now 100 per cent, which had also been certified by the Civil Surgeon, Mohali, Mohinder’s benefits were expected to increase after reassessment by the medical board.

Was invalided out on medical grounds

Sepoy Mohinder Singh of the Sikh Regiment, now 70 years old and resident of Banur village, had joined the Army in 1968. In 1970, after having served for just two years and four months, he was invalided out on medical grounds due to failing sight.

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