Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, February 20, 2012
Providing succor to 86-year-old World War II veteran, Chandigarh bench of Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) allowed his petition and granted him pension.
Ishar Singh, a resident of Yamunanagar, joined signal regiment of Royal Indian Army on December 27, 1942. For serving the nation, he was awarded War Medal and Indian Independence Medal.
Ishar retired on April 12, 1948 as he was declared medically unfit to serve further. He was suffering from osteoarthritis of the spine.
The 86-year-old was granted disability pension at Rs 6 per month. It was stopped on April 12, 1950 as his disability had fallen below 20%.
Ishar made efforts and made representations to Army authorities for continuing his pension but in vain. He was brought before a re-survey medical board in 1989 which also ruled that his disability was lesser than 20%.
He had no source of income as he was illiterate. He was sustaining on agriculture in his village. His service element was not given as he had served for less than 10 years as per the rules when he retired.
"In March 2011, he approached All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AIEWA), which took up its case through its legal aid scheme. In October 2011, the petition was filed. A notice was issued to union government. In its reply, the government replied that there was no record available of the World War II veteran as the same had been destroyed," said Bhim Sen Sehgal, Chairman of AIEWA, who represented Ishar Singh in the court.
He added, "As per the change in the policies in 1968 and then in 1973, invalided soldiers should get service element. And later Supreme Court judgments also put a stamp on it, which removed the cut off dates."
The court took the documents-service record, pension book and certificate issued by re-survey medical board, submitted by Ishar Singh as evidence in the case.
The bench comprising justice NP Gupta and Air Marshal SC Mukul (retd) allowed the service element of disability pension but restricted the arrears to three years from the date of filing the petition in AFT.
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