February 2, 2010
War-injured to get maximum pension?
NEW DELHI: The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has come to the help of war-injured soldiers and directed the government to consider a maximum of the pay scale for an officer while fixing his war injury pension.
The tribunal headed by Justice A.K. Mathur also advised the government not to differentiate between a short service commissioned officer and a permanent officer while granting death-cum-retirement gratuity (DCRG).
The tribunal accepted the plea of the petitioner Disabled War Veterans and held: "We strongly feel that it is a matter which requires a serious consideration of the Government that a person whose career has been sacrificed for safeguarding the Indian border and he is to be treated in such a poor way that he is being paid war pension on the basis of minimum of the scale of that rank. Therefore, looking yeoman service rendered by incumbent, he should be given a fair treatment."
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Aiswarya Bhatti criticised the present government practice and said a war injury cut short an officer's service, forcing him to retire permanently. Therefore, she said, it would be harsh and unfair to the soldier if his maximum pay scale were not considered for determining the amount of war injury pension.
Observing that the discrimination on the basis of an officer's service violated Article 14 of the Constitution, the tribunal added: "Once the Short Service Commission officers and the Permanent Service Commission officers fight on the border shoulder to shoulder, they form same class and no further distinction can be made... and if unfortunately both of them receive an injury and they are disabled then no distinction can be made in payment of DCRG