AFT | Claim for family pension not maintainable if name of applicant not mentioned in service records of the deceased soldier

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Bench of S.V.S. Rathore, J. and Lt. General N.B. Singh (Member) dismissed an application challenging the denial of family pension, holding that the same was without any substance.

Applicant herein claimed to be the eldest son of a deceased soldier Mohd. Rafique and applied for a family pension as he was totally blind. His claim for pension was denied by respondent on the ground that his name did not figure in the service book of Mohd. Rafique. Aggrieved thereby, the instant application was filed under Section 14 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.

Learned counsel for the applicant placed reliance on relation certificate issued by the SDM, Sultanpur, wherein apart from five other sons and daughters of Mohd. Rafique, the name of the applicant was also mentioned. Learned counsel for the respondents raised an objection to this certificate stating that the certificate clearly mentioned that it had been issued only for administrative purposes and that it could not be used in any court of law.

The Tribunal held that a plain reading of Regulations 216 and 219 of the Pension Regulations for the Army, 1961 (Part-1) made it clear that name in the service record as son of the applicant was a condition precedent to grant the relief claimed. Admittedly, the name of the applicant was not mentioned as nominee in the service record of the deceased soldier. This gave rise to an inference that the father of the applicant deliberately avoided mentioning the name of the applicant in the service record to debar him from such pension. Thus, the application was dismissed holding that there was no infirmity in the impugned order.[Akhtar v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine AFT 3, Order dated 13-02-2019]

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