Kaur’s case was taken up by the All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association under its Legal Aid Scheme and contested up to the Supreme Court of India.
Kewal Singh joined the Army on August 27, 1979 as Sepoy and served for 9 years and 131 days. During his service, he suffered from low backache, pleurisy with effusion and poly-arthritis due to stress and strain of service. He was downgraded to the Medical Category CEE (P).
However, he was posted to Andaman and Nicobar Islands against the medical advice and after his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to
When he applied for the disability pension, the PCDA (P) rejected his claim stating he had been discharged on compassionate grounds even though all the disabilities were held attributable due to service with 40 per cent composite disability. Singh died on December 10, 1997, and after his death his wife was refused any kind of benefits including family pension for the reasons that her husband was a non-pensioner.
The All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association took up the matter with the Ministry of Defence that fetched no positive response. Thereon, the association filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court for the grant of Arrears of Disability Pension from January 5,1989, to December 10,1997, to be paid to the widow and there after Special Family Pension from December 11,1997, onward for life.
A Division Bench of Delhi High Court, comprising Justice Vijender Jain and Justice B R Malhotra, allowed the petition and directed the Ministry of Defence to pay the Disability Pension Arrears as well as Special Family Pension within eight weeks along with 9 per cent interest.
But, Ministry of Defence filed a Special Leave Petition against the judgment of the Delhi High Court. The Supreme Court stayed the operation of the judgment of Delhi High Court in the meanwhile issuing the notice to the widow.
Ultimately when the matter came up for final hearing, the Supreme Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition thereby upholding the judgment of Delhi High Court.
Source: Express News Service. Apr 15, 2008