On the eve of Republic Day, the Delhi high court upheld the Army rule of providing 3% reservation in each housing project to only those widows who applied within two years of the demise of their husbands.
This rule of the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO) was challenged by one Mona Thakur, whose husband Major Puran Chander was killed in the 1965 war. She was denied a house in Dwarka in a project floated by AWHO in 2007.
“The rule is for providing priority in allotment of dwelling to those women who lost their support in the recent past and who may still be grappling with the tragedy, and who on demise of husband may be in urgent need of a house. On the contrary, once the widow has come to terms with the bereavement and made provisions for settlement, need for priority has not been felt”, ruled acting chief justice AK Sikri and Justice RS Endlaw.
“In our opinion, such women do form a class unto themselves and such classification is found to have reasonable nexus to the objective with which AWHO is established,” the bench said.
Contending that all war widows were at par, Mona had argued that “neither the DDA nor the government can discriminate on the basis of date of widowhood”.