Retired Freedom Fighter of 102 yrs Gets Arrears of Pension After The Interposition of Karnataka High Court.


The Karnataka High Court on 20th February, in H.Nagabhushana Rao V.  The Under Secretary FFR Division & Others (WRIT PETITION No.405 OF 2023) held that Pension is a trite, not a bounty and no elderly at this age should be bound to produce his life certificate before the bank rather the bank should go and obtain it. The judgement was presided by Honorable Justice M Nagaprasanna.


The writ petition is filed under Article 226 of the constitution of India praying to direct the R1 to pay Rs. 3,71,280/- along with the interest to the petitioner. The petitioner, who is now 102 years old, was a recipient of  Swatantra Sainik Samman Gaurava Dhana pension being a freedom fighter from 1974 from Government of  India. This pension was granted to the petitioner by both the Central and the State Governments respectively. The pension of the petitioner was abruptly disrupted and when enquired ,it was implied to the petitioner that he had not submitted his Life Certificate for the year 2017-2018 and later he submitted the Life Certificate on 24-12-2018. The Government issued sanction letter belatedly releasing pension for the period from 24-12-2018 to 05-10-2020. However, the arrears of pension between 01-11-2017 to 24-12-2018 were not paid, which amounted to `3,71,280/-.So, the petitioner knocked at the doors of the court.


The Court held that the petitioner would be entitled to all the arrears along with interest, as the Bank has failed to collect Life Certificate from the petitioner. The Bank should have visited the petitioner and collected the Life Certificate and regulated pension. A caveat, in some cases of the Bank is obliged to do so. In cases ,where the pensioners face genuine problems it is the obligation of the Bank officers to visit those persons and take Life Certificate and update them. The pensioners could be septuagenarians, octogenarians, nonagenarians or centenarians like the petitioner. Therefore, this order cannot be construed to be sweeping direction in all cases where the Life Certificate has to be obtained by the Bank officers, the Bank officers ought to perform their duty in terms of the guidelines so as to avoid unnecessary litigation of the kind that has been generated not once, twice, but three times under clause 2.4. The court opined that The raison d’etre for grant of pension is the inability to provide for oneself due to such old age. This can only be withheld, curtailed or taken away, only in accordance with law.

Justice M Nagaprasanna said “Ebbing mental prowess and physical incapacity due to age was one of the prime reasons why the certificate could not be submitted in time. This, in the peculiar facts of this case, by no stretch of imagination, can be construed to take away the right of the petitioner for grant of pension, particularly, in the teeth of the guidelines.”


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