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Monday, 3 July 2017

Ministry of defence will not challenge disability pension for soldiers

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Indian Military Veterans



CHANDIGARH: In a significant move, the ministry of defence (MoD) has decided not to challenge court orders asking the defence forces to give disability pension to its soldiers. The move will affect thousands of soldiers who have suffered disability during military service or died because of a disability while in service.




MoD has told defence services headquarters to grant 'absolute sanction' for disability pension in cases of personnel have been granted relief of disability pension by courts and tribunals.

Despite a settled legal position and directions by the SC, HCs and various benches of the Armed Forces Tribunal, authorities often denied soldiers disability pension on grounds that were seen as 'hyper-technical' or hairsplitting. The benefits were denied declaring disabilities as "neither attributable to, nor aggravated by military service" (popularly known as NANA cases).

Legal experts say that in many cases defence authorities would appeal against a lower court's order in the Supreme Court for what were small increases in the pension.

TOI has reported several such cases where disabled soldiers or their family members were deprived of the pension. In one case, a widow from Himachal Pradesh whose husband was posted on guard duty at the Indo-China border, died while relieving himself was denied the disability pension.

MoD's June 29 letter has now asked military authorities to grant disability pension as per law laid down by the Supreme Court. In 2013, the Supreme Court in the Dharamvir Singh versus Union of India case had held that for acceptance of a disease as attributable to military service, conditions are to be satisfied that the disease has been arisen during the military service and caused by the conditions of employment in military service.

The MoD letter, however, has not issued directions to withdraw pending appeals. It has asked the authorities to issue 'absolute sanctions' after dismissal of pending appeals.

Increasing litigation against disabled soldiers and other personnel had led to the constitution of a committee of experts by then defence minister Manohar Parrikar
It comprised former Adjutant General Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal, former Military Secretary Lt Gen Richard Khare, Punjab and Haryana high court lawyer, Maj Navdeep Singh, former head of the army's legal branch, Maj Gen T Parshadand Kargil disabled veteran Maj D P Singh.

The committee had come down heavily on the ministry and defence services stating that most appeals emanated of an 'ego-fuelled' approach, rather than accepting the law laid down by Supreme Court and other courts. The panel had asked MoD to withdraw all pending appeals since the law was well settled and also to concede pending cases of disability pension on a case to case basis.

Major Navdeep Singh said while the move will end a dark chapter of mindless appeals, MoD should show magnanimity and withdraw all appeals against disabled soldiers.

Centre To Soon Come Out With Fresh Norms For Disability Pension

Indian Military Veterans

Centre To Soon Come Out With Fresh Norms For Disability Pension

The decision has been taken in view of the long-standing demand of the armed forces that the current system of determining disability pension needs an overhaul.

Centre To Soon Come Out With Fresh Norms For Disability Pension
Any personnel with more than 75 per cent disability will be considered 100 per cent disabled.
The government has decided to remove existing "anomalies" and come out with a specific percentage-based system for granting disability pensions to Army, Navy and Air Force personnel sustaining injuries in the line of duty.

The decision has been taken in view of the long-standing demand of the armed forces that the current system of determining disability pension needs an overhaul.
Official sources said the government has finalised a new slab-based system which is aimed at addressing most of the concerns of the armed forces that is expected to reduce litigation against the government.

Under the existing mechanism, 30 per cent of the last salary minus the dearness allowance is given as disability pension to those sustaining 100 per cent disability.

The pension amount reduces depending on specific percentage of the injury and sources said the affected personnel often take legal recourse, alleging discrepancies in determining quantum of injury.

As per the new slab-based system, security personnel with 20-50 per cent disability will be considered 50 per cent disabled while those with 50-75 per cent bracket will come under the 75 per cent disabled category.

Any personnel with more than 75 per cent disability will be considered 100 per cent disabled.

So all the eligible disability pensioners will be considered under three broad categories and accordingly pensions will be determined.

"It will be a robust system and will address long-pending grievances of the armed forces," a senior official said.

Explaining the new system, he said, "Any person with 50 per cent disability will get half of the total pension being given to a person with 100 per cent disability under existing mechanism."

The government had started giving disability pension with effect from January 1, 2006 to those who had taken pre-mature retirement due to injuries sustained in line of duty.

The changes being introduced to calculate disability pension are based on recommendation of a committee headed by former Adjutant General of the Army, Lt Gen (retd) Mukesh Sabharwal.

The mandate of the committee was to suggest remedial measures to reduce litigations and disputes in various courts relating to disability pension. 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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