22 years on, HC asks Centre to give pension to freedom fighter’s widow

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 07, 2016 00:07 IST
The freedom fighter, Darshan Singh, had approached high court in 2014 but died while the petition was pending. (HT file photo)

Twenty two years after claim of a Patiala freedom fighter was rejected by the central government, his widow would now get the pension with orders in this regard from Punjab and Haryana high court.

The freedom fighter, Darshan Singh had approached high court in 2014 but died while the petition was pending. Hence, his wife, Jagdish Kaur was impleaded as petitioner in the matter.

Singh had approached central government in 1993 seeking pension under Swatantarta Sainik Samman Scheme, 1980, enclosing his own affidavit, certificates of the co-prisoners Balwant Singh and Gurmukh Singh as the official record of Lahore jail, where they were put up in 1942-43, relating to the imprisonment was not available. He had relied upon the secondary evidence. The central government rejected the claim in 1994. But Punjab government upon an enquiry through deputy commissioner, Patiala granted pension to him from 1998, the court was told.

In 2014, Singh slapped legal notice on central government but as it did not yield any results, the petition was filed seeking pension with arrears since 1993.

Initially, the central government had argued that it was not bound by the recommendation of state and could independently assess the genuineness of the case of pension and also that in many cases fake certificates were issued. Later, upon his death it was also argued that pension cannot be granted because of a government as per which, if the legal heir/widow of the freedom fighter was getting pension of Rs 20,000/- per month, then she would not be entitled to the pension on account of death of her husband. His wife proved that she was getting a pension of Rs 15, 793 and not of Rs 20,000.

The high court stated that there was no dispute that Darshan Singh was getting freedom fighter pension from the Punjab on the basis of the certificates. Hence, it was held that he was entitled to freedom fighter pension. but it would be from the date of order passed in this case by high court.

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