New Delhi, Oct 11 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court today sought the response from the Centre and the State Bank of Patiala on a plea filed by a 78-year old widow, claiming dependent’s pension under the Freedom Fighters Pension Scheme, 1972.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on the plea seeking pension under the scheme, rechristened as Swatantrata Sainik Samman (SSS) Pension Scheme, 1980, from the date of death of her husband.
The woman challenged the ‘Guidelines for Disbursement of the Central Samman Pensions’ inasmuch as it provides that the family pension accrues from the date of application by the dependent and not from the date of death of the pensioner.
The matter will be taken up next on December 6.
The petition has been filed through Advocate Manoj K. Srivastwa, by one Bhagwani, wife of Late Sri Sis Ram who served the Indian National Army during the struggle for freedom of the nation.
The plea states that the husband of the petitioner passed away in March 2016, and thereby she moved an application before the Disbursing Authority (the State Bank of Patiala at Jhajjar, Haryana) requesting for payment of freedom fighter family pension qua her deceased husband.
Aggrieved by the inaction of the concerned authorities, the petitioner filed a petition before the Delhi High Court in the year 2020, seeking the release of the arrears and regular monthly Freedom Fighter Family Pension to the petitioner as per her entitlement. In pursuance of the order passed by the Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Amit Bansal, the petitioner’s account was credited with the arrears of pension w.e.f July 3, 2017 to June 30, 2021. As regards the future pension due to the petitioner, the Bench directed the same to be paid on a monthly basis. It was noted that in terms of the ‘Guidelines for Disbursement of the Central Samman Pensions’ dated August 6, 2014, dependent pension has to be paid from the date of application by the spouse/daughter and not from the date of death of the pensioner and thereby the pension has rightly been paid to the petitioner.
Citing the decision of the Apex Court in the case of “Mukund Lal Bhandari vs. Union of India”, the plea avers that the impugned guidelines cannot be invoked to deprive the petitioner of her legal right to get a pension from the date of death of the husband. “The Guidelines Dated 06.08.2014 should not be construed on a strict interpretation which would tend to disapprove the claims of the benefit to result in virtual frustration or negation of the laudable motive of the SSS Scheme, 1972 per se,” the plea claims.
In light of the above, the plea inter alia seeks disbursal of the pension due to the petitioner from the date of death of her husband, i.e March 19, 2016, till July 2, 2017.
The woman challenged the ‘Guidelines for Disbursement of the Central Samman Pensions’ inasmuch as it provides that the family pension accrues from the date of application by the dependent and not from the date of death of the pensioner./ILNS/KR/SNG/