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Friday, May 19, 2017

After decades of judicial pronouncements, disability benefits finally made admissible by the Government to pre-2006 voluntary retirees with effect from 01 January 2006

The Government has finally given effect to judicial pronouncements whereby cases of premature retirement and personnel ‘discharged at own request’ were held eligible to disability and war injury benefits.

Earlier, as per regulations, disabled and war injured retirees were not allowed disability and war injury benefits if they had sought retirement on their own volition. This practice was held to be illegal by the Delhi and the Punjab & Haryana High Courts. Later when a Government letter was issued by the Ministry of Defence entitling such personnel to benefits, it was made applicable only to those who had retired after 01-01-2006. This cut-off date was also held illegal by the Armed Forces Tribunal later. The Punjab & Haryana High Court had also endorsed the action of the Tribunal. Later, the Chandigarh Bench of the Tribunal had taken the official establishment to task for not giving effect to judicial dicta.

A Committee of Experts constituted by the then Raksha Mantri, Mr Manohar Parrikar, had also strongly recommended the resolution of the issue and the recommendation on the said point was accepted by the Minister.

The letter resolving the matter has finally been issued by the Ministry of Defence and can be downloaded and accessed by clicking here.

The benefits have been made applicable with financial effect from 01 January 2006 and to all cases where the disability was declared attributable to, or aggravated by military service.

This settles one of the most important issues concerning our disabled veterans.

There is however one problem still existing in the dispensation wherein the letter again only talks about ‘disability element’ and not ‘disability pension’ which consists of both elements, that is, service element as well as disability element. 

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