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A claim is not a matter of right unless eligibility criteria is fulfilled: Supreme Court

When the claim is under a particular scheme of the government, unless one fulfills the eligibility criteria for grant of pension, as mentioned in the scheme, no applicant can claim such pensions, as a matter of right. This proclamation was made by the honorable Supreme Court presided by J. ASHOK BHUSHAN & J. R. SUBHASH REDDY in the case of Union of India vs. A. Alagam Perumal Kone & Others [CIVIL APPEAL NO.680 OF 2021].

The Respondent had submitted his first application for grant of pension under Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme which was forwarded by the 2nd Respondent through 3rd Respondent. In the said communication, which was received by the appellant it was observed that the application was not properly filled up and the certificate issued by one of the certifiers was vague. Non-Availability of Records Certificate (NARC) was not produced from the competent authority, as per the scheme. In absence of any categorical recommendation made by the 2nd Respondent, the application was rejected by the appellant. Thereafter, after a period of 13 years he again sent a communication to the appellant for grant of pension from 2011 under Pension Scheme, stating that he was imprisoned for more than six months 1944 during Quit India Movement. The appellant contended that as the said communication was not supported by any documents and the appellant forwarded the copies to the 2nd Respondent. At that stage, the 1st Respondent filed the Writ Petition before Madras High Court, seeking directions by way of mandamus to direct the appellant to grant pension. The writ petition was heard and disposed of without issuing a notice and without giving any opportunity to file counter affidavit to rebut the allegations, made in the petition. The appellant stated though specific grounds are raised before the Division Bench, inter alia, stating that no notice was issued in the writ petition; the application was not supported by required documents; and non-disclosure of the rejection of the first application for grant of pension, the High Court dismissed the appeal without assigning valid reasons and without considering any of the grounds raised in the appeal.

The honorable court observed, “In the instant case, the appellant stands on a better footing, for the reason that although the application made by the respondent was rejected and the said order has become final, he again approached the appellant with the same request. Even before the Competent Authority considers the application, the 1st Respondent approached the High Court by filing Writ Petition and the High Court, not only entertained the petition, but disposed of the same without even notice and opportunity of filing counter affidavit to the appellant. We have also perused the order passed by the Division Bench. Even the Division Bench of High Court has not considered various grounds raised by the appellant, while confirming the order of the learned Single Judge.”  

The court further contended, “It may be true that the Respondent is getting pension as per the scheme, mooted by the State, but, at the same time, to claim pension under the scheme of 1980, he has to furnish the required proof as contemplated under the scheme. When the claim is under a particular scheme, unless one fulfills the eligibility criteria for grant of pension, as mentioned in the scheme, no applicant can claim such pensions, as a matter of right. Whether a particular applicant is entitled for pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme of 1980, is a matter which is required to be considered having regard to facts and documentary evidence produced, therefore the appeal is allowed.”

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