Tribune News Service Chandigarh, September 12, 2010
Thirty years after the family pension of a soldier’s widow was abruptly stopped, it has now been restored. Ordering release of the pension, the Armed Forces Tribunal has directed that the widow should also be paid arrears for three years preceding the date of her petition along with 12 per cent interest within 90 days.
Kamla Devi’s husband, Nk Sis Ram was enrolled in the Army as a combatant from June 1963 and had died in service in July 1968. After his death, she was granted family pension, but suddenly in 1980 the pension, according to the petitioner, was discontinued without any process of law.She made representations from time to time, but without any result. In November 2009, she served a legal notice on the pension authorities and was informed that she was disqualified for family pension because she had remarried. Thereafter, she approached the Tribunal.The respondents, in reply before the Tribunal, stated that Kamla Devi was in receipt of ordinary family pension, but consequent to her remarriage with her real brother-in-law, she was disqualified to receive the ordinary family pension and same was accordingly discontinued. It was also submitted by the respondents that Sis Ram, while serving with 259 Coy ASC (Supply), had committed suicide. Special family pension claim by his widow was adjudicated by the Principal Controller of Defence Account (Pensions), Allahabad, and rejected as the death was due to suicide, which was neither attributable nor aggravated by military service. The Tribunal observed that the when the family pension was discontinued in 1980, at least she should have been served with a notice in this regard, but it seemed to have not been done and suddenly family pension was discontinued on the ground that she has remarried. Further, a circular issued by the government in November 2008 for implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations clearly mentioned that remarriage was no more a disqualification for family pension.
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