Chandigarh, November 27
More than 51 years after an Army jawan was discharged from service on medical grounds and almost 20 years after he died, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has ruled that his widow is entitled to receive family pension.
The jawan was enrolled in the Army in November 1965 and invalided out of service in July 1971 due to disability after rendering only five years and eight months of service. His disability was assessed at 6-10 per cent for life, but considered as neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service.
His claim for disability pension was rejected in 1971 and his appeal against the order was also rejected by then government in 1974. He passed away in April 2003. His widow moved the AFT, which took cognisance of the matter after condoning the delay in filing the case in March 2022.
The widow’s counsel had contended that at the time of enrolment, the jawan was found mentally and physically fit for service in the Army and there was no note in the service documents that he was suffering from any disease at the time of entry. He averred that since the disease was contracted during service, his disability should be considered as attributable to and aggravated by military service.
The respondents had contended that as per rules, he was granted death-cum-retirement gratuity, invalid gratuity, balance of provident fund at the time of invalidment. Further, disability below 20 per cent is not entitled disability pension.
The AFT’s Bench, comprising Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, observed that as per the pension regulations of the Army, the jawan was entitled to disability pension, being a case of invalidment. In this case, though the disability was assessed as less than 20 percent, he was entitled to disability pension till his lifetime as he had been invalided out of service.
The AFT has directed the authorities to give effect to this order four months, though pension arrears would be restricted to three years preceding the date of filing the case in accordance with directives of the apex court.
Denied claim in ’71
- The jawan was enrolled in the Army in November 1965 and invalided out of service in July 1971 due to disability
- His claim for disability pension was rejected in 1971 and his appeal against the order was also rejected by then government in 1974
- He passed away in April 2003. His widow moved the AFT, which took cognisance of the matter after condoning the delay in filing the case in March 2022
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