32 years after ‘removal’ from service, IAF officer gets disability benefits for injury suffered in 1965 : The Tribune India

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32 years after ‘removal’ from service, IAF officer gets disability benefits for injury suffered in 1965

The officer had sustained fracture as result of ejection from a Gnat fighter from a height of 25,000 feet

32 years after ‘removal’ from service, IAF officer gets disability benefits for injury suffered in 1965

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock



Tribune News Service

Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, February 22

About 32 years after an IAF officer was ‘removed’ from service, he has been granted disability benefits for an injury that he had sustained during an ejection from a fighter aircraft in 1965 following judicial intervention by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).

The officer, then a Wing Commander, was the captain of an AN-32 aircraft that had landed at Jamnagar, along with two other aircraft, after a foreign trip. The Custom authorities confiscated certain dutiable goods from the aircraft and the officer was removed from service in February 1992 and paid 90 per cent of the pensionary benefits as per relevant regulations.

He contended that he had been removed for no fault of his in as much as the only allegations were that someone had been able to bring undeclared household goods worth a few thousand rupees in the aircraft captained by him for which custom duty was not paid, though others who were responsible for getting prohibited items were given censure and the case was closed.

He had sustained an anterior wedge compression fracture as the result of an ejection from a Gnat fighter from a height of 25,000 feet in December 1965 and was subsequently placed in low medical category for a prolonged period.

The release medical board assessed his disability at 20 percent and held it attributable to military service. Subsequently, it was reassessed and reduced to 11-14 percent. He said that was disheartened by the reduction and denial of benefits and at that point did not question the decision then.

He moved the AFT in 2011, questioning the reduction in pension and denial of leave encashment and sought disability pension, which resulted in partial relief. A reassessment medical board was held in 2013, which held his disability to be 20 per cent for life. However, he was denied disability benefits on the contention that persons removed from service are not entitled to such benefits.

The Tribunal’s Bench comprising Justice Anu Malhotra and Rear Admiral Dhiren Vig observed that there was no provision of the Pension Regulation for the Air Force that the respondents have put through to contend that the disability pension cannot be granted to the applicant whose disability was admittedly attributable to service and the percentage of disability has been assessed as 20 percent.

“That the applicant, despite having been removed from service in 1992, has been granted pensionary benefits to the extent of 90 percent is thus clearly entitled to the grant of disability element of pension which was clearly attributable to service,” the Bench ruled.

 

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