Patiala man gets pension 30 years after getting boarded out of army
Jit Singh of Patiala was hit by a truck and was injured while returning to his unit in Ambalapunjab Updated: Aug 22, 2018 11:54 IST
Three decades after he was medically boarded out, a disabled soldier has finally got justice. In a decision largely supportive of disabled soldiers released from the Army without pension, the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) comprising Justice MS Chauhan and Lt Gen Munish Sibal has ruled that disability sustained when a soldier is headed for his unit with an authorised ‘outpass’ (permit to leave the unit) will be ‘attributable to military service’.
This will entitle such personnel to disability pension.
The decision came on July 27 on a petition filed by a soldier, Jit Singh, who was invalided out of the Army in 1989 without any pension after he was hit by a truck and injured while returning to his unit in Ambala from the market. He was carrying an authorised permit to leave and enter the unit.
Though the driver of the civil truck was held guilty for rash and negligent driving, Jit Singh was denied disability pension by military authorities on the grounds of the disability not being ‘attributable to military service’ since he was on an outpass when injured.
He was also not granted service pension since he could not complete the qualifying service for regular pension.
In his petition filed in the AFT, Jit Singh referred to rulings of the Supreme Court and various high courts granting pension to soldiers injured and disabled while returning from leave. As he was very much on duty and had merely gone to the market after getting an authorised permit, he had every right to the pension, the soldier said.
Agreeing with Jit Singh and granting him disability pension three decades after he was invalided out, the AFT has held that beneficial provisions must be interpreted liberally and it is the duty of courts to iron out the creases so that the situation does not lead to absurd consequences. The soldier’s return to his unit on an authorised permit had a direct link with military service.
Lawyers specialising in defence cases and familiar with the matter say there are many such soldiers suffering because of denial of pension. Government employees not from the forces do not face such problems as the law prohibits the government from discharging them from service in case of any disability sustained.
First Published: Aug 22, 2018 11:49 IST