‘The Reason To Deny The Petitioner His Right To The Amounts As The Sole Surviving Heir Of His Freedom Fighter Father Is Baseless.’: Calcutta HC
The single judge bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya of the Calcutta High Court on 11th of May, 2023, in the case of Dipak Kumar Giri v. Union of India (WPA 4865 of 2022) ordered the Union Government to transfer a deceased Freedom Fighter pension entitlements, which were due to him and were credited under the Swatantra Sainik Samman (SSS) Pension Scheme but were later returned to the Union Home Ministry because he failed to submit the Life Certificate (LC) to his only son.
Facts of the Case:
The petitioner’s father was a freedom fighter who received a pension from the SSS Pension Scheme. The petitioner’s father died on April 21, 2014, and his mother died earlier. The petitioner sought that the letters dated August 19, 2015 and July 10, 2018 issued by the Union of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs about the discontinuation of the SSS Pension Scheme be set aside. He also requested a mandamus ordering the Union of India to transfer his father’s pension claims from June 2011 till his father’s death on April 21, 2014, and distribute such amounts in his favour. The letter dated July 10, 2018, stated that vide paragraph 2.3 of the Revised Policy Guidelines dated August 6, 2014 the pensioner is required to submit his Life Certificate by November 30 every year. If this is not done till next October 31, the pension shall be deemed to have been canceled.
The Court observed that the Revised Policy Guidelines were brought out by the Home Ministry after the death of the petitioner’s father on 21.4.2014. The Revised Policy Guidelines would be deemed to have a retrospective effect. Hence, the “deemed cancellation” referred to in Para 2.3 of the Revised Policy Guidelines will not apply in the present case. The court further noted that the pension had been auto-credited to the petitioner’s father’s account from 2008-2011 even without the furnishing of the Life Certificate. The court further noted that the petitioner is the only surviving legal heir of his father who was the beneficiary of the SSS Pension Scheme and was also made a nominee during his father’s life. Thus, the court directed the Union of India to transfer the pension entitlements of the deceased freedom fighter to the petitioner’s account from June, 2011 to April 21, 2014 within 7 days. The court further directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to refund the amount of Rs. 5, 69,119/- to the petitioner’s account within a period of 6 weeks from the date on which the petitioner intimates the account details to the Bank and the Ministry.
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JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY DIVYA SHREE GN