Thursday, March 30, 2023

Dependents of Freedom Fighters not Granted Pension during Lifetime, still Entitled: P&H High Court

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has clarified that in cases of freedom fighters who have not been granted pension during their lifetime, their dependants will still be entitled to pension. In cases of deceased freedom fighters, their eligible dependant would be entitled to pension from the date on which they apply for such pension before the authorities

The High Court passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Kamla Devi along with other widows of freedom fighters who were not granted pension when they were alive.

The petition was filed to pray for directions to be issued the Central Government and the State government to firstly grant pension to the petitioner’s deceased husbands and then to the petitioners, according to how the grant of pension had been made to other employees who were similarly placed.

The husband of the main petitioner Kamla Devi had joined Ist Bahwalpur Infantry as a sepoy and served in the Punjab Regiment before he was discharged in 1946. He passed away on August 28, 1992.

When the petitioner, being his wife, applied for the freedom fighters’ pension under the ‘Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980’,in 2013 her case was neither processed by the Haryana Government, nor was it sent to the Union of India.

When the petitioner moved the High Court with her petition the Central and the State government contended that petitioner’s husband had never applied for pension under the scheme, and the petitioner should not have taken 25 years after her husband’s death to approach the Court.

A single bench presided by Justice Suvir Sehgal, held that in case of deceased freedom fighters ,their eligible dependants would be entitled to pension, and directed that Government of Haryana to verify facts of the petitioner’s application and forward it to the Union Government which has been directed to consider the release of pension with arrears at 9% rate of interest ,within four weeks.

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