SC directs state to pay pension to deceased freedom fighter’s widow
The Supreme Court (SC) directed the Maharashtra government to grant the Freedom Fighter’s Pension without further delay to Kamalbai Sinkar, whose husband had applied for the scheme, but passed away before receiving any benefits.
The court has now directed the state to grant the pension, along with the arrears, within four weeks to the widowed Sinkar.
The SC was hearing an appeal filed by Sinkar challenging a Bombay high court order, which had refused to grant her any relief. The Amravati collector, who received the pension request, had forwarded the petition to the state government, which had rejected Sinkar’s husband’s claim for the Freedom Fighters’ Pension in 2008, claiming that there was no concrete proof of his participation in the fight for freedom.
Citing an earlier judgment, the court reiterated that freedom fighters had suffered for the country more than half a century back without expecting a reward in return. “Once the country has decided to honour such freedom fighters, bureaucrats entrusted with the job of examining these cases are expected to keep in mind the purpose and object of the scheme,” said a division bench of justice TS Thakur and justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.
The SC now holds that claimants under this scheme can be determined on the basis of probabilities and not only by the test of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
The SC bench said that the high court ought to have examined the grievance before confirming the state’s rejection order, and also observed that Sinkar’s husband had made a genuine effort to collect all the credentials required by law.