The Bombay high court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to pay Rs 50,000 to a retired army officer who did not receive any benefits, or a gallantry award, after being wounded in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. He suffers from 30% disability.
The court also directed the state to allot agricultural and residential plots to him, as per a GR passed in 1971. A division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice CV Bhadang was hearing a petition filed by Lt Col V M Karve (retired) who participated in the 1971 war and was shot in the neck by the enemy.
The deputy secretary of the revenue and forest department, on behalf of the state, filed an affidavit, saying Karve received the ‘wound medal,’ renamed Parakram Padak, which is awarded to personnel who sustain wounds as a result of direct enemy action. The gallantry awards are given for display of valour against the enemy in war. The affidavit said the state cannot equate a ‘wound medal’ with a gallantry award. Moreover, Karve had not sustained disability of 50% or more, and so, was not entitled for grant of benefits as per the GR.
Justice Oka said it was unfortunate the deputy secretary did not understand the meaning of gallantry. The court has directed the state to pay Rs 50,000 to Karve by June 30 and provide the plots on or before August 31.