Parents, and not just the wives and children, of armymen killed on duty are entitled to monetary benefits, the armed forces tribunal has ruled.
In a significant judgement, the Jaipur Bench of the tribunal has directed the army to distribute one-third of the pension and retirement benefits of a slain jawan to his parents and two-thirds to his wife and children.
The judgement, though not necessarily always implemented in the same ratio, would be binding on all such tribunals in the country.
A division bench comprising Justice Bhanwaroo Khan and Lt Gen Susheel Gupta passed the order on a petition filed by Laxman Ram, the father of army jawan Panna Ram.
The order is expected to provide relief to parents of personnel who are usually deprived of pension benefits as they are ignorant of the rules, said lawyer, Col S.B. Singh.
Panna was killed in 2007 while deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. After his death, his widow and parents fought over the pecuniary benefits.
Tarun Choudhary, counsel for the petitioner Laxman Ram, filed an application for getting Panna's pension and retirement benefits.
Choudhary argued in court that Panna was the only son and after his death all his pensionary and retirement benefits had been given to his wife, Parmeshwari Devi. But since his parents were old and unable to work, they should be given some benefits too.
“We were fighting for this for long and are very happy,” Laxman said. “This judgement will benefit many others.”
Rajasthan’s Shekhawati region contributes a large number of soldiers to the armed forces, and the judgement
may affect several families here.