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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another landmark: With strong words, the Supreme Court again stands up for the dignity of our disabled soldiers released by the system without pension


Shocking it is that while a civilian employee cannot even be discharged on account of disability, some soldiers are not only discharged but also denied their disability pension by mechanically declaring their disabilities as neither attributable to, nor aggravated by service. It is yet another issue that most disabilities actually fall within the four corners of attributability/aggravation as per rules but are not considered as so by the establishment due to a literal and perfunctory interpretation of the applicable rules. Of course, when there is a positive finding returned to the effect by judicial bodies, the system is quick to challenge such findings out of egotism rather than accepting such decisions with grace, empathy and sympathy.

In line with the judgement of the Supreme Court last year in Dharamvir Singh vs Union of India, which was also followed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court in its landmark and detailed judgement titled Umed Singh vs Union of India, the Supreme Court has now rendered another detailed judgement on the subject which should wake up the establishment. The strong words of the highest Court of the land again go to show that more than any other entity, it is our Constitutional Courts that are more concerned for the dignity, livelihood and morale of our soldiers.

In this case, a soldier recruited in 2000 was released on medical grounds in 2002 without disability pension since his disability was considered as neither attributable to, nor aggravated by military service by a military medical board. Needless to state, the rules clearly stipulate that a member is presumed to be in sound health when he or she joins service and any deterioration in health is presumed to be due to service. Further, the rules also provide that soldiers would not be called upon to prove their entitlement and shall receive the benefit of any reasonable doubt.

Granting the soldier his due disability pension, the Supreme Court had this to opine on the issue:

....We are not a little surprised that although the Rules or Regulations (Chapter VII of the Regulations for the Medical Services of the Armed Forces, 1983) specifically postulate the formation of Invalidation Medical Boards, they do not set out the medical parameters justifying or requiring serviceman/officer to be removed from service. This feature renders decisions taken by such Boards pregnable to assaults on the grounds of capriciousness or arbitrariness, and this is especially so where the extent of the disability is below twenty per cent. Can the Authorities be permitted to portray that whilst a person has so minor a disability as to disentitle him for compensation, yet suffers from a disability that is major or serious enough to snatch away his employment?

We, just as every other citizen of India, would be extremely disturbed if the Authorities are perceived as being impervious or unsympathetic towards members of the Armed Forces who have suffered disabilities, without receiving any form of recompense or source of sustenance, since these are inextricably germane to their source of livelihood.

We are of the persuasion, therefore, that firstly, any disability not recorded at the time of recruitment must be presumed to have been caused subsequently and unless proved to the contrary to be a consequence of military service. The benefit of doubt is rightly extended in favour of the member of the Armed Forces; any other conclusion would be tantamount to granting a premium to the Recruitment Medical Board for their own negligence. Secondly, the morale of the Armed Forces requires absolute and undiluted protection and if an injury leads to loss of service without any recompense, this morale would be severely undermined...


Salute to our Constitutional Courts! Jai Hind. 

18 comments:

GURDIP said...

It is only the Honorable judicial officers who are protecting the poor victims of our corrupt system. What executive should do, as ours a Welfare State, they work on the reverse gear only. Waheguru change their psychic!!!

Anonymous said...

hear hear!!!!

Young50 said...

Dear Maj NS,
Thanks a ton for keeping us abreast on such landmark comments/judgement by the Hon SC. But it would be great if you could also make a mention of the case No.enabling all of us to study the entire case so that no else is forced to undergo such ill-treatment by the Services HQ (Med fraternity),MoD and thereafter PDAs in that order.
Thanks once again and God bless your tribe which has almost been reduced to a minority in the rotten set-up all around.

Anonymous said...

Good. But will the bureaucracy abide by the order of the HSC. I fail to understand who is supreme in this context the babu or the Honorable SC

ANR said...

Apparently, the concerned authorities, the babu as well as the uniformed ones, seem to be impervious to and unmoved by the pronouncements of the highest court of the land. Their attitude appears to be one of total recalcitrancy.The political leadership is, of course, too busy with many other more pressing matters to address the woes faced by the veterans. Would the sitting veteran MPs care to reverse this debilitating and disheartening trend by putting their shoulders together with alacrity on such veteran issues in Parliament? We need to wait and watch.In any case, the veterans are destined for a long and arduous haul, even as, with time, age and infirmities taking its toll, many of them disappear into the sunset, the forgotten soldiers of India!

Rajagopalan C said...

Dear Maj Navdeep Singh,You are doing great service to the military personnel.Congratulations and keep it up.We will be grateful if you can give a link to the judgement or the case details. Major Rajagopalan C

Anonymous said...

This service entangled with exhaustive list of rules and regulations which dealing officers confuseing with their own interpretation is a discouraging.Rather lending a sympathetic helping hand to disabled soldier's,the system is making them begger only to be laughed at by peers .I fail to understand why such asympathetic and unintelligent people are occupying these chairs.Is only self egotism only left in this service.Time to change has come!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep, you have done great job for the serving and retired faujis. Well done. Keep it up. I just want to ask one question to the Medical Authorities of Armed Forces and the Top Brass: If the law of the land is applicable to the every citizen of India,including the Armed Forces Personnel, why should the degree of disability of a soldier be a deciding factor to grant disability pension? This indifferent attitude and rule made by concerned authorities must be in sync with the law of the land, not outside our Constitution. Two,so much is needed to make the house (Armed Forces) in order so that it can stood up in front of its civil counterparts, viz, Bureaucrats and politicians to claim its RIGHTFUL DUE, lest cribbing will do no good. Jai Hind.

Regards,
Maj SK.

Anonymous said...

Dear major

with your vast knowledge of the defence pension , invalidation , injury and other infirmities which a solder, sailor , airmen, suffer may i request you to give a written draft to the generals admirals and marshals in office so that the new gen of officers and ranks are covered by simple , liberal awards rather then being made to run from pillar to post as was shown on tv on the 15th anniversary of kargil diwas , where a legless injured major was made to run from pillar to post by the butchers of service hqs and MOD

Anonymous said...

Dear major

with your vast knowledge of the defence pension , invalidation , injury and other infirmities which a solder, sailor , airmen, suffer may i request you to give a written draft to the generals admirals and marshals in office so that the new gen of officers and ranks are covered by simple , liberal awards rather then being made to run from pillar to post as was shown on tv on the 15th anniversary of kargil diwas , where a legless injured major was made to run from pillar to post by the butchers of service hqs and MOD

COL RAGHBIR SINGH said...

Yes ,I agree that any disability not recorded at the time of recruitment must be presumed to have been caused subsequently and the individual must be eligible for Disability pension benefit. The other point that they should be retained in service rather to be sent home is certainly may not be possible to the full extent. The commentators must understand the job of CO and limitation imposed my medical authorities and the soldiers take shelter of this and don't want to do duties as required from them.

Dr.ChandranPeechulli,Ph.D;MBA;FIE(INDIA) said...

Many of those ex-servicemen with service pension have relocated themselves in State/Central Govt. service and drawing two pensions, e.g. colleagues who started their army life early WHEREAS those who had been medically invalided during their course of service like me, neither they could opt for State or Central Govt. Service but becomes unfit for civil private services. The hard-working ESM who is not addicted, some how looks for sources to his own suitability and survives> Such of those discharged by a constituted Medical Board to be considered for disability pension alike, with out any discrimination. As all his ambitions to make a career in the Army is lost and as per any National or International Law(ILO).“Labour is not a commodity” that can be used and thrown-away, when not needed. While the actual Army Discharge Service Code ought to be 13 3 III. * which is meant for those discharged from Army on medical grounds, by a constituted Army Medical Board. WHY SHOULD THE SOLDIER (EX-SERVICEMAN), SUFFER on account of the wrong-entry by the recordists in SIGNAL RECORDS. It is common sense to note, that all recruits medically boarded-out by a constituted Army Medical Board with the Service Code 13 3 III are drawing the medical disability pension and availing all the ex-serviceman’s benefits.While the actual Army Discharge Service Code ought to be 13 3 III. * which is meant for those discharged from Army on medical grounds, by a constituted Army Medical Board. WHY SHOULD THE SOLDIER (EX-SERVICEMAN), SUFFER on account of the wrong-entry by the recordists in SIGNAL RECORDS. It is common sense to note, that all recruits medically boarded-out by a constituted Army Medical Board with the Service Code 13 3 III are drawing the medical disability pension and availing all the ex-serviceman’s benefits. Self victimized and neglected with discrimination against fundamental rights. Please do view the Circular No.444 dt.15.10.2010, in continuation to Circular No.411 dt. 22.05.2010. wherein said specifically.” THE CODE NO. OF CLAUSE OF DISCHARGE FOR RECRUITS. “
The clause of discharge codes for RECRUITS, are as under:-
(1) Recruits who are invalided out from service on medical grounds, under low medical category, the code should be filled as “ 3 “.
(2) Recruits who are invalided out from service on other than medical grounds, the Code should be filled as “ 6 “
This may be included in Annexure 9, of this Office Circular quoted under reference.
( R.K.Saroj),
Dy.CDA(P)
Self victimized and neglected with discrimination against fundamental rights. Please do view the Circular No.444 dt.15.10.2010, in continuation to Circular No.411 dt. 22.05.2010. wherein said specifically.” THE CODE NO. OF CLAUSE OF DISCHARGE FOR RECRUITS. “
The clause of discharge codes for RECRUITS, are as under:-
(1) Recruits who are invalided out from service on medical grounds, under low medical category, the code should be filled as “ 3 “.
(2) Recruits who are invalided out from service on other than medical grounds, the Code should be filled as “ 6 “
This may be included in Annexure 9, of this Office Circular quoted under reference.
( R.K.Saroj),
Dy.CDA(P)

k iman singh said...

Dear sir

i am looking for 'Regulation for the Medical Services of the Armed Forces' but not able to get it ...i request if you can guide me where to look for said ruling....iam all ready in alteration with medical authorities

regards

maj iman

Anonymous said...

DEAR MAJOR \LEARNED COUNSEL

MY I REQUEST YOUR GOOD SELF TO GUIDE TO AVAIL BENEFITS AS SANCTIONED BY goi TA PERS ON JOINING CIV GOVT

INCENTIVE FOR PRIOR MILITARY SERVICE BASED ON THIS GOI LETTER


560/43/TA-(a)/03/00/S(GS-1)
Government of India,
Ministry of Defense
, New Delhi,
7th Jan 1994

To
The Chief Secretary
to All State Governments/Union Territories .


Subject: Concession Incentives sanctioned by State Governments to Territorial Army personnel

. Sir,

This refers to Ministry of Defense letter No.47560/GS/TA/-3(a)/306-B/D(GS-VI) dated 19th February 1985 and letter of even number dated 8th September 1992 on the incentives by State Governments to Territorial Army personnel.

2. Most State Governments have instituted some cash awards/grants for the winners of Territorial Army decorations/Medals. However, these awards were instituted a long time back and have been rendered insignificant by inflation. In many States, this reward is limited to Rs.2500/1500 only. It is requested that this may be revised to a minimum of Rs.5000/- for TA decorations and Rs.3000/- for TA medals. Some State Governments have already made the revision.


3 Government of India had also recommended that the facilities listed below may be considered for Territorial Army personnel. These incentives were listed by a committee which was set up to go into the Territorial Army and are already being given by most State Governments :-

(a ) Grant of 01 increment for every 03 years Territorial Army service, as is being given by the Government of Uttar Pradesh.

(b) Counting of Territorial Army embodied service for purposes of seniority, promotion and other considerations to those entering civil services.

(c) Exemption of Road tax on vehicles owned by Territorial Army personnel as is being given by west Bengal Government


. Yours faithfully,

Sd/xxxx-
(S.K. JAIN) Joint Secretary (G

Brig dhingra(retd) said...

this is with ref to Maj Iman's blog dated 18 Aug14.
Regulation for medical service is part of DSR. It should be avl in any med unit/ fmn HQ.

Brig Dhingra (retd)

MANGE PANGHAL said...


said....

Dear Maj K Iman,

Regulations for Armed Forces Medical Services (RAFMS) is Ministry of Defence publication.

Similarly Guide to Military Pensions, 2002 containing all the relevant rules and regulations on disability pension is Ministry of Defence publication. Both the publications are available on payment from MoD Department of Military Regulations and Forms.

Anonymous said...

the Hon'ble Supreme Court observed also in the case of Sukhvinder Singh v/s UOI & Ors
where disbility was less than 20 % in para 9 as follows: -

9. We are of the persuasion, therefore, that firstly, any disability
not recorded at the time of recruitment must be presumed to have been
caused subsequently and unless proved to the contrary to be a
consequence of military service. The benefit of doubt is rightly
extended in favour of the member of the Armed Forces; any other
conclusion would be tantamount to granting a premium to the
Recruitment Medical Board for their own negligence. Secondly, the
morale of the Armed Forces requires absolute and undiluted protection
and if an injury leads to loss of service without any recompense, this
morale would be severely undermined. Thirdly, there appears to be no
provisions authorising the discharge or invaliding out of service where
the disability is below twenty per cent and seems to us to be logically
so. Fourthly, wherever a member of the Armed Forces is invalided
out of service, it perforce has to be assumed that his disability was
found to be above twenty per cent. Fifthly, as per the extant
Rules/Regulations, a disability leading to invaliding out of service
would attract the grant of fifty per cent disability pension.
10. In view of our analysis, the Appellant would be entitled to the
Disability Pension. The Appeal is, accordingly, accepted in the above
terms. The pension along with the arrears be disbursed to the
Appellant within three months from today.

S S Tanwar said...

On 25.06.2014 Hon'ble Supreme Court also held in its latest judgments that if any soldier discharged with the disability even less than 20 % than either the soldier will be entitled for disability pension or the soldier will be reinstated back in service.