HC seeks Centre’s reply on PIL flagging MoD’s policy on mass litigation against disabled soldiers - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

HC seeks Centre’s reply on PIL flagging MoD’s policy on mass litigation against disabled soldiers

By, Chandigarh
Feb 28, 2024 06:00 PM IST

Punjab & Haryana HC seeks Centre's response on PIL challenging MoD's policy of litigating against disability benefits for soldiers, burdening exchequer.

: The Punjab and Haryana high court has sought response from the Central government on a public interest litigation (PIL) flagging the defence ministry’s policy on

HC seeks Centre’s reply on PIL flagging MoD’s policy on mass litigation against disabled soldiers
HC seeks Centre’s reply on PIL flagging MoD’s policy on mass litigation against disabled soldiers

challenging mass litigation against grant of disability benefits to disabled personnel.

HT launches Crick-it, a one stop destination to catch Cricket, anytime, anywhere. Explore now!

The high court bench of justice GS Sandhawalia and justice Lapita Banerji has sought response by July 6.

As per the plea, the decision to challenge high court and other forums orders was based on the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) advice in this regard.

The PIL filed by President of Ex-Services Grievances Cell, Mohali, colonel Sadhu Singh Sohi (retd), had stated that the new policy of the ministry of defence (MoD) and JAG to “flood the courts with en masse, unethical, damaging and unnecessary litigation against disabled soldiers and old pensioners” would burden the exchequer and disabled soldiers. Pursuant to prime minister’s intervention, the MoD has already withdrawn appeals from the Supreme Court in 2019 but is now flooding the courts again with exactly similar cases, it states.

The PIL points out that it had been decided by the government that only those verdicts would be challenged which involve disabilities due to negligence, intoxication or substance-abuse and that stress and strain of military service affects the health and longevity of soldiers.

The apex court had also ruled that benefit of doubt is to be given to soldiers’ disabilities irrespective of the manner of exit from service or whether the disabilities have occurred in peace or field areas, the plea says, adding that thousand odd appeals filed by the MoD against disabled soldiers were dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2014. A high level panel had came down heavily on the Army and MoD for indulging in “ego-fuelled” litigation following this development. But after in 2023, a series of coercive orders were passed by Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) against MoD officials for not complying with judgments for years together, this policy has been notified whereby all orders passed in favour of disabled veterans, are being challenged, it further underlines.

“... JAG officials have taken opinion of senior law officers to initiate such litigation without informing them the correct legal position and practical realities of the tough conditions of service of soldiers and also hiding past government decisions taken to withdraw such litigation,” it claims, adding that the ministries such as the ministry of finance have taken appreciable steps to curtail litigation but the MoD remains unaffected and is bent upon washing-out the efforts undertaken by the other ministries and would result in clogging of the justice delivery system.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On