The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday stated that definition of a dependent cannot be restricted to unmarried daughters, unemployed daughters and parents. It said all legal heirs of the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme holder must be included in the definition.
The high court bench of justice AG Masih did not accept the contention of the Centre that it was not bound to change the definition of “dependents” of the scheme, so as to include all legal heirs of such pensioners in the definition.
Acting on a petition filed by one Malwinder Singh Waraich in April 2012, the high court had directed the Centre to include all legal heirs in the definition of “dependents” of the scheme. The high court held that the clause defining the dependents by limiting the legal heirs to unmarried daughters and unemployed daughters and parents is not in conformity with the object of the scheme, and directed the Centre to appropriately amend scheme. However, as Centre failed to amend the scheme, contempt has now been filed in the high court.
In response to the contempt petition notice, the Centre stated that scheme was in vogue since 1972, and to date, it has been liberalised substantially from time to time. Thus, there was hardly any scope for expanding the scope of clause of eligible dependents for grant of family pension.
Seeking a fresh affidavit by October 6, the high court bench observed that there would hardly be any parent of the pensioner alive at this stage. Likewise, the question of having any unmarried daughter or unemployed daughter at this stage will be a remote possibility.