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Strict Interpretation of requirements prescribed needs to be met to avail pension under the Swatantrya Sainik Sanman Pension Scheme, 1980 : Allahabad High Court

The freedom for Indian Independence came at a great cost at the sacrifices of the freedom fighters. The government recognizes and honours those freedom fighters, however those government schemes shouldn’t be exploited. This was held in the judgment passed by a two bench judge comprising HON’BLE JUSTICES S.V. GANGAPURWALA & R.N. LADDHA, in the matter Smt. Rukhminbai V. The State of Maharashtra (WRIT PETITION NO. 8029 OF 2021), dealt with an issue where the petitioner filed a writ petition claiming to be entitled to the benefits of Pension which, according to her, should have lawfully accrued to her deceased husband Asaram, during his life time, under the “Swatantrya Sainik Sanman Pension Scheme, 1980.

The petitioner is the widow of Asaram Kale, who had been claiming himself to be a freedom fighter. The petitioner claims that her husband and upon his death, she herself is entitled to the benefit of the Scheme. According to the petitioner, her husband had actively participated in the Hyderabad Liberation Movement and as a consequence thereof had suffered various losses and hardships.

After her husband’s death, her claim for pension came to be turned down by relying on Govt Resolution dated 2 June 2016. According to the petitioner, the decision taken by the State Govt was erroneous as it failed to consider the material placed on record.

The counsel for the petitioner prayed for quashing and setting aside the impugned orders and further prayed for grant of pensionary benefits under the scheme to the petitioner.

Learned A. G. P. appearing for the respondents, on the other hand, submitted that the husband of the petitioner had applied for grant of pension in the year 1994; the claim was considered and rejected by the concerned Authority. He also claimed that after an enormous delay of 22 years of the rejection of deceased Asaram’s claim, this petition is filed. According to him, the petition suffers from delay and latches. Again, the documentary evidence filed by the husband of the petitioner did not meet the conditions laid down in the Scheme and Government Resolution dated July 4, 1995. The mere fact that some certificates had been submitted or recommendations had been made would not entitle the husband of the petitioner to pensionary benefits. The benefit accorded by the said Government Resolution was circumscribed by the conditions laid down in the said Scheme and the Government Resolution dated July 4, 1995.

After hearing both the parties, the Hon’ble Jharkhand High court dismissed the petition as the   Court held that to claim pension under the Scheme, one has to furnish the required proof as contemplated by the Scheme & unless a person fulfills the eligibility criteria as prescribed in the Scheme, he or she cannot claim such pension as a matter of right. It also believed that the petitioner’s husband, who, incidentally, during his life time did not choose to challenge the same before this Court. In any case, the petitioner herein has no locus standi to lay a claim to pension under the Scheme once her deceased husband’s claim to the same was rejected by the concerned Authority.

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