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Haldwani man fights 40-year-long legal battle to get pension

He was suspended from government service for remaining absent due to health problems about 60 years ago. And eventually after four decades, he got both justice and respect back

dehradun Updated: Jul 25, 2018 22:12 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Justice Rajiv Sharma on July 11 directed the Uttarakhand government to pay Chandan Singh Khadai’s pension.(HT Photo)

He was suspended from government service for remaining absent due to health problems about 60 years ago. And eventually after four decades, he got both justice and respect back.

Meet 90-year-old Chandan Singh Khadai, a resident of Haldwani who was a fourth class employee in the silk department when Uttarakhand was a part of Uttar Pradesh.

He became a seer and for the past 40 years is spending his life at Belbaba Temple on the outskirts of Haldwani, Nainital.

Before beginning the battle against the government, he swore to remain barefoot and abstain from drinking tea, a sacrifice he made ahead the protracted legal battle.

Khadai was suspended in 1978 without any notice for remaining absent for about 60 days. Khadai was sick.

He lost his job and the right to pension. But, that did not deter the man who fought for his right.

Justice Rajiv Sharma on July 11 directed the Uttarakhand government to pay his pension and provide arrear with 9% interest within four weeks time.

After losing his job, Khadai filed claim petition before Public Service Tribunal that dismissed his petition in 1984. The litigation continued for following years.

When Uttarakhand was carved out of UP in 2000, the Nainital High Court was set up and he filed a writ petition in 2004. The court in 2005 directed the state government to provide a sum of ₹1.50 lakh to him with pension benefits. He received the money, but not the pension.

Against HC order, the silk department moved to Supreme Court but their plea was dismissed. Khadai was unaware of this development as he didn’t had money to hire an advocate at the apex court.

In 2012, a second petition was filed before the high court throwing light on the poor condition of Khadai and how he was devoid of his right to pension.

“I have fought my entire life to get this justice. It wasn’t for me, it’s for my family,” Khadai said with a screeching voice.

He has two daughters, a son and wife. “I looked after my children with the charity I received from the temple and devotees in last 40 years. Can anyone sustain like that? This fight was important for the future of my loved ones,” he added.

The judgment came out on July 24. Khadai was asked by his well-wishers to wear slippers now.

“I have spent half of my life without footwear. I don’t think I can wear them now especially when I can be summoned by God (die) soon. But, yes I would very much like to taste tea,” he smiled.

“The case is a classic example of how a poor man was tortured for his rights. We are thankful to the high court for providing this poor man the justice he deserved,” said Vinod Tiwari, advocate of Khadai.

First Published: Jul 25, 2018 22:12 IST