Gurdaspur's Sukhdev Singh, 70, who is suffering from epilepsy, will get pension after 40 years of struggle. The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has allowed this ex-sepoy's petition for the grant of disability pension from the date of invalidation, August 12, 1974.
The All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AIEWA) had filed the petition under its legal aid scheme on behalf of Sukhdev.
"He served the army from November 16, 1965, to August 12, 1974… He was fully fit at the time of joining and suffered the disease of idiopathic epilepsy after eight years of service due to the stress and strain of military service," said Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of AIEWA and counsel for Sukhdev.
Sukhdev was invalided out of service on the recommendations of the invaliding medical board in the lower medical category with 20% disability.
However, his claim for grant of disability pension was rejected by the principal controller of defence accounts (pension) as the board had held that the disability suffered by the petitioner was neither attributable nor aggravated by military service.
Sukhdev's counsel told the bench that the board had not given any reason to come to the conclusion that the disability was neither attributable nor aggravated.
The bench was further told that the petitioner's case was covered by the recent judgments of the Supreme Court where it was held that it is the bounden duty of the medical board to assign reasons for coming to the conclusion that the disease was neither attributable nor aggravated by military service.
The Union government stated that the disease was of genetic nature as the petitioner's sister also suffered from epilepsy, but the AFT dismissed the argument.
After hearing the arguments, the AFT bench allowed the petition and ordered to pay the arrears within three months, failing which they (Union government) are liable to pay interest at the rate of 9%.