In a landmark decision rendered yesterday which once again reiterates and restores the confidence of the soldier in our higher judiciary, the Supreme Court, in a much detailed judgement, has thrashed out law related to disability pension and attributability/aggravation of disabilities to service.
In what had been discussed umpteen number of times on this blog (See this, this and this), it is the pro-disabled Entitlement Rules promulgated by the govt which have to prevail while determining whether a disability is attributable to or aggravated by service or not, and not merely the opinion of the medical board. As would be discernible from this earlier blogpost, the same has also been reiterated in the past primarily by the Delhi and Punjab & Haryana High Courts and various Benches of the Armed Forces Tribunal, especially the Benches at Chandigarh, Delhi and Kochi.
While discussing the length and breadth of the Entitlement Rules and the law relating to disability pension, including judgements rendered in the past to the contrary, the Supreme Court in effect has come to the following conclusions:
That any disability occurring while in service shall be presumed to be in service unless reasons are recorded to the contrary.
The onus of proving attributability/aggravation of disability is not upon the soldier.
It is immaterial if the disability arises in field or in peace area.
There would be a presumption of a causal connection with service for disabilities which occur while in service.
I reiterate once again, if the men and women in uniform in India have to thank one entity for holding their hand, it is the higher judiciary.
The entire judgement of the SC can be downloaded by clicking here.
Another (old) 116 page judgement of the Kochi Bench of the AFT on the same subject can be downloaded by clicking here.