Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal has rejected the AAP government’s proposal to award Rs 1 crore as compensation to the family of Ram Kishan Grewal, an ex-serviceman who allegedly committed suicide in November last year over the non-implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
Officials said Baijal took the decision on March 6 because the “death did not occur in the line of duty, as mandated under the existing policy”. The proposal, cleared by the Delhi cabinet in December last year, had also granted the martyr status to 70-year-old Grewal.
While Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal described the move as “anti-army”, Grewal’s son Jaswant said his family was not worried because the AAP government has promised to follow up on its promise. “When we spoke to the Delhi chief minister today, he said he will fulfill his promise against all odds. He had said there was no need to worry when our entire family met him in Delhi five days ago,” Jaswant added.
This is the first major decision of the Kejriwal government to be rejected by Baijal, who has cleared a slew of files that were stuck at the lieutenant-governor’s office since his predecessor Najeeb Jung’s tenure.
“This specific case does not fall within the parameters of the scheme for the grant of ex-gratia payment i.e. death occurring in the discharge of official duty. Therefore, while I fully sympathise with the family of late subhedar (retd) Ram Kishen Grewal, I’m not able to agree to the proposal for payment of ex-gratia relief,” Baijal said in a note sent back to the government.
Listing certain issues conveyed to the chief minister when he met Baijal in this regard last week, the document said the ex-serviceman was neither a permanent resident of the national capital nor associated with any service linked to the state government. “They (people qualifying for compensation) have to be either working with the GNCT of Delhi/Delhi Police or have their permanent address recorded as Delhi at the time of joining service. The situations that qualify for ex-gratia payment are well-defined in the scheme,” it added.
Grewal was a resident of Bhiwani in Haryana.
Reacting to the move, Kejriwal attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being “anti-soldier”. “Modiji himself doesn’t provide good food to soldiers. So, why is he stopping us when we are trying to help the family of a deceased soldier?” he tweeted.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the compensation should have been cleared by the lieutenant-governor because it was a cabinet decision adopted by an elected government. The government will take up the matter with Baijal again, he added.