Friday, March 18, 2011

Disability Pension: Litigation Policy Flouted- Rs 50,000 slapped as costs

Disability Pension Case
Defence Ministry ordered to pay Rs 50,000 as costs by Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17, 2011
Taking the Union of India to task for filing a “frivolous appeal” and “misusing the process of the court” by presenting incorrect facts in a case relating a soldier’s disability pension, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has imposed costs of Rs 50,000.

The Bench also ordered that the said amount, to be paid to the soldier, is to be recovered from the officers who had pleaded a false ground in the affidavit, after holding an inquiry and fixing responsibility thereof.

Earlier, a single Bench of the high court had allowed the grant of disability pension to ex-recruit Sukhjinder Singh on grounds that his disability was attributable to military service. The government had thereafter filed an appeal against this order. The single Bench order was based on an earlier order by a Division Bench on a similar issue of law.

Disposing of the appeal, the Bench expressed “amazement” at the conduct of the appellant and its officers and observed that the perusal of the appeal showed that a false plea had been set out which was simply against the records. In the original proceedings of the medical board, it was categorically found that the disease was aggravated by military service, whereas the proceedings of the board were misquoted in the appeal to show that the disease was not aggravated by military service.

The Division Bench also observed that the National Litigation Policy framed by the Central Government had been completely overlooked by appellants. The policy states that in service matters, no appeal would be filed in cases where the matter pertained to individual grievance without any major repercussion, or the matter pertained to a case of pension or retirement benefits without involving any principle and without setting any precedent or financial implication.

Holding that filing an appeal by the appellants in this case was wholly unwarranted as the matter was already decided in respect of the issues concerned, the Bench ruled that the appeal was an illustration of frivolous litigation initiated at the instance of the Union of India and its officers.
Defence Ministry ordered to pay Rs 50,000 as costs

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