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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Supreme Court again upholds the dignity of disabled soldiers

Again coming to the rescue of disabled soldiers denied disability pension, the Supreme Court has yesterday rendered a detailed landmark decision holding that any disability that arises during service is to be deemed to have been caused by military service unless reasons are recorded as to how the disability was such which could not have been detected at the time of entering into service.

Before I proceed with more details, I must put it on record that the present times are the best for military veterans. The political leadership, that is, the current Defence Minister, is inclined to resolve all such issues, especially related to disabled veterans, and the military brass dealing with the subject seems to have a pragmatic leader in the new Adjutant General. They need to now implement their vision and enforce the law of the land without being bothered about the personal opinion of their staff. I have, in the past, discussed in detail the issue how the establishment (more specifically the medical set-up) is being unfair to our disabled soldiers by its hyper-technical and mathematical approach.

The decision, while dismissing 26 appeals filed by Ministry of Defence against disability pension granted by High Courts and Armed Forces Tribunal to physically and psychiatrically disabled soldiers, again reiterates what had been held by the Supreme Court in 2013 in Dharamvir’s case, in 2014 in Sukhwinder’s case and also by the Punjab & Haryana High Court in its landmark judgement in Umed Singh’s case again in 2014. The following is notable from the dicta of the Supreme Court:

A. The opinion of the medical board stating that a disability is “neither attributable to, nor aggravated by military service” is not sufficient to deny disability pension to disabled soldiers.

B. As per rules, a presumption of fitness operates when a person joins service and it is also presumed under the rules that any deterioration that has taken place in the health of a soldier is due to military service.

C. Claimant is not to be called upon to prove entitlement and he/she shall receive the benefit of doubt.

D. If the medical board holds that the disability could not have been detected on medical examination at the time of acceptance in service, reasons for the same shall be stated.

E. Provision for payment of disability pension is a beneficial provision which ought to be interpreted liberally so as to benefit those who have been sent home with a disability at times even before they completed their tenure in the armed forces

F. The burden to establish non-connection of disability with service would lie heavily upon the employer since the rules raise a presumption that deterioration in the health of soldiers is on account of military service or aggravated by it. A soldier cannot be asked to prove that the disease was contracted by him on account of military service or was aggravated by the same.

Thanks to the Supreme Court and the Delhi and Punjab & Haryana High Courts for ensuring a life of dignity to our disabled soldiers.  

13 comments:

Venkatesh VT said...

Justice rules again !

cato kaiser said...

superb,nothing can be more clear than this.all specialist and board members look what they are signing before signing on the dotted lines.most of the time the dealing clerk decides the degree/attributability.could never understand the hypertention detected in peace and field are different

Y Singh said...

I was detected with primary hypertension while serving in CI Ops area in fd and HAA for many months but my disability pension papers have been sent back by the IFA at IHQ asking for the duties i was performing so as to establish the causal connection. Though in the RMB my condition has been accepted as aggravated due to Mil service. What do i do

Anonymous said...

Fantastic, long long overdue. A civilian by Constitutional Protection can be retained in service till 60 yrs even with Disability. A fauzi loses it if Disabled, now thanks to Honourable Supreme Court, a military person will benefit, in an unfortunate event.
Regards
Conscience

exweltrust said...

Dear Major sir,

Kindly accept our sincere thanks for bringing this valuable information for our veteran brothers who were denied disability pension .

Sgt.S.kanthiah,
Exwel trust ,Tamil Nadu.

Sansar Singh said...

Thank you Sir

Anonymous said...

Sir what is the implication of this judgement on serving persons. I see a lot of men are denied the clause of aggravated by military service since they get a disease or are downgraded to lower medical category in peace station. Can this judgement be invoked to make it beneficial to any individual.

Puneet said...

We have seen in a majority of the cases that the MoD either fails to implement a Supreme Court judgment or deliberately misinterprets it to the detriment of the veterans. Is there a way we can hold the individual officers of M0D personally responsible for such obfuscation.

Y Singh said...

Y Singh said...
I was detected with primary hypertension while serving in CI Ops area in fd and HAA for many months but my disability pension papers have been sent back by the IFA at IHQ asking for the duties i was performing so as to establish the causal connection. Though in the RMB my condition has been accepted as aggravated due to Mil service. What do i do

Anonymous said...

Need scientific study to prove disabilities eg hypertension, metabolic syndrome, hyperlipidemia, diabetes etc are more common among soldiers than civilian population in India ....everyone tying to collect disabilities...no incentive to be in SHAPE 1

Anonymous said...

I was detected with hypothyroid and since then i have been downgraded medically and permanently. Though I am performing all my duties, infact more responsibilties with seniority I am not considered for permanent commission as it is not attributable to military service. I wonder if I can project this issue again.
Regards

Anonymous said...

Navdeep the issue of broadbanding of disability pension seems to have gone into hibernation. Pl update the status for the information.

neeloo said...

Respected Sir,

This is to inform you that I am Mrs. Santosh Dvivedi W/O of EX-NK (14368291Y) Shri.Rama Shanker Dvivedi. I would like to inform you that my husband had worked in Indian military Force as Naik from 29th October 1982 in 165-field area regiment, Indian Army. My Husband had worked for the country for 9 Years 9 months in different critical places including, leh ladakh (Glacier), Jammu and Kashmir, etc. during his service period, he was awarded by Sainya Sewa Medal with class p (J&k) and 9 Year long service medal.

In the year of 1985 after the reliving from Jammu & Kashmir posting, he gone for medical treatment under Captain Nand Kishore Sharma in Army hospital Jalandhar (Punjab), Doctor informed that he was suffering from psychosis depression. Under that disease person have false thoughts (delusions) and /or see or hear thing that are not there (Hallucinations). As doctors convey us that it is serious mental disorder characterized by thinking and emotions that are so impaired. They are indicating that the person experiencing them has lost contact with reality.
Under such health condition, doctor discharge him after six-month treatment .Then he was got posted at multiple critical places and at last he was posted in leh-ladakh (Glacier).

In leh-ladakh (Glacier),his health condition get worst, so he taken the leave but due to financial issues of family he once again joined the duty in Meerut but suddenly I had got the information that he had resigned from his service on 31st July 1992 against “Personnel boarded out of service under Rule 13(III)(iv) of the Army Rules, 1954 .

are we eligible for disability pension and family pension?

i would like to thank you in advance for your advice and support.

Regards