Consider case of dead jawan’s kin for grant of pension: HC

Jammu Wing of J&K High CourtLegal Correspondent

Jammu, June 15
Justice JP Singh of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, while allowing a writ petition filed by the legal heir of a deceased soldier, directed the Union of India and its functionaries to consider the petitioners’ case in view of their entitlement to pension being the members of the family of the deceased soldier and pass appropriate orders within three months for the sanction of pension in their favour in terms of the rules governing the grant of family pension.

“When the deceased soldier had earned pension rendering requisite service in the Army, in terms of the rules governing the grant of pension, the members of his family cannot be denied pension, which is permissible under rules to the family of the deceased soldier,” ruled the Judge.

Om Parkash, a jawan of the 20th battalion of the J&K Rifles, was convicted by a Summary Court Martial, convened by the 2 Mountain Division, and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of 10 years, besides earning the dismissal from service for committing the offence punishable under Section 376 (2)(g) read with Section 34 of the IPC. However, his conviction and sentence and the order of dismissal were set aside by the High Court.

Questioning the judgement delivered in the petitioners’ writ petition, the Union of India preferred a Letters Patent Appeal before the Division Bench of the High Court. It was during the pendency of the Union of India’s appeal that Om Parkash again approached the High Court through a service writ petition 2264/2002 seeking the sanction and release of his service pension to which he had become entitled to under the pension rules in view of the setting aside of his conviction and sentence.

Unfortunately, during the pendency of the writ petition and the Union of India’s appeal, Om Parkash died, consequent, whereupon, the Union of India’s appeal against the judgement was dismissed, having abated. Om Parkash’s widow, a daughter and sons were substituted in the service writ petition.

The High Court, while allowing the service writ petition, observed that, “With the dismissal of the Union of India’s appeal and setting aside of Om Parkash’s conviction, sentence and dismissal, there remains no stigma or punishment against the predecessor-in-interest of the petitioners, on the basis, whereof, he could be denied pension. On the hearing of the petition, it was, therefore, not disputed by the learned counsel appearing for the Union of India that with the setting aside of the findings and the sentence awarded by the Summary General Court Martial, the deceased soldier had become entitled to pension under the Army rules”.

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