Chandigarh, May 24
The Armed Forces Tribunal has ruled that the date of institution of divorce proceedings by the daughter of a pensioner cannot determine her dependency on her parents and she is entitled to family pension even if the divorce proceedings were instituted after the death of the parents.
The tribunal has set aside relevant portions of the IAF pension policy that restricted grant of family pension to daughters of ex-servicemen in cases where divorce proceedings began after the death of parents.
The daughter of a retired Air Force sergeant, who expired in 2013, was granted a decree of divorce by the competent court in 2018. The daughter had been staying since 2013 with her mother, who died in 2016.
Her claim for family pension had been rejected by the Air Force Authorities on the grounds that as per policy, a divorced daughter is eligible for family pension if the divorce case is filed within the lifetime of the parents, but in her case the date of filing the case was after the death of her parents.
In her petition, she had averred that she had been permanently residing with her parents since 2013 and had filed a complaint against her husband for domestic violence in 2014 and sought maintenance.
She contended that the grant of pension to a widowed or divorced daughter is for survival and that divorce proceedings initiated after the demise of parents could not detract from her rights.
The Tribunal’s Bench comprising Justice Anu Malhotra and Vice Admiral Dhiren Vig observed that the only reason given why the petitioner was denied family pension was that the proceedings of divorce were filed after the demise of her parents.
“Merely because the divorce petition was instituted by the daughter of a deceased pensioner after his demise and after the demise of his wife cannot per se be a ground to disentitle her for grant of family pension, if otherwise entitled to the same,” the Bench ruled.
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