Mentally challenged persons entitled to family pension: CAT’s Chandigarh bench
Also awards 47-year-old Rs 50,000 relief with 9% interest per annum till the realisation of the indicated amount, directs Centre, CAG, Punjab govt to do the needful.punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2017 09:50 IST
The Chandigarh bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) held that a mentally challenged person is entitled to family pension for life and directed the finance ministry and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), New Delhi, and Principal Accountant General, Punjab, to pay an amount of Rs 50,000 as compensation to a Hoshiarpur resident.
Sheel Nidhi Mehan, the applicant, is the son of Shiv Murti Mehan was in government service before he died on October 13, 2005. The son had moved the tribunal after he was denied pension after his mother, Prem Mehan, passed away in June 2013.
The tribunal observed, “The competent authority is directed to calculate the entire amount of family pension and release it to the applicant with costs of Rs 50,000 within a period of three months positively, from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order, failing which the applicant would also be entitled to interest at 9% per annum till the realisation of the indicated amount.”
The son was born in March 1970 to Shiv Murti Mehan and Prem Mehan. He is mentally challenged (permanent disability), is incapacitated to take care of himself, cannot travel without an escort, cannot speak properly and is physically crippled/disabled, rendering him unable to earn a living throughout his life. His permanent disability/mental retardation certificate was also presented in the court.
The applicant was being looked after by his parents. But after their death, Ved Parkash Kirpal (maternal uncle), was appointed his guardian as per a judgment dated February 27, 2015, by additional district judge, Hoshiarpur.
Taking a strict note, CAT in its judgement also stated, “The tendency and frequency of such competent authorities to deny legitimate right of benefit of pension of the retired employees, on unsustainable grounds, has been tremendously increasing day by day, which needs to be curbed.”
“The matter in hand, who is a mentally retarded person, is a burning example of such like cases. Strangely enough, the respondents, instead of helping and immediately releasing his family pension, have taken a very evasive, false and speculative stand (on) the record of the pension,” observed CAT.
Sheel Nidhi had claimed, through his guardian, that after the death of his mother he was entitled to the family pension for life under rule 54 (6) of “Pension Rules, 1972, but it was illegally denied to him without giving any plausible explanation.
The Ministry of finance and CAG, New Delhi, and Principal Accountant General, Punjab, vaguely denied all the allegations despite accepting that Nidhi’s father was a government employee and that he was granted pension by the office of CAG. The CAT observed that after the death of his parents, the applicant is the only surviving member of the pensioner family, and is naturally entitled to family pension as per rules.
Pension Rules, 1972, give entitled heirs due family pension
According to Rule 54 (6) of the Pension Rules, 1972, if the son or daughter of a government servant is suffering from any disorder or disability of mind, including the mentally retarded or is physically crippled or disabled, so as to render him or her unable to earn a living even after attaining the age of twenty-five years, the family pension shall be payable to such son or daughter for life.