AFT | Claim for pension is based on continuing wrong, and relief can be granted if such continuing wrong creates a continuing source of injury

Armed Forces Tribunal: A Coram of Justice SVS Rathore (Judicial Member) and Air Marshal BBP Sinha (Administrative Member) allowed an ex-hawaldar’s application for disability pension holding that stress and strain of military service can also happen in peace areas.

Applicant herein was enrolled in the Indian Army in 1971 and after serving the Army for 22 years, he was discharged from service in 1973. Thereafter, the applicant was inducted in the Defence Security Corps (DSC) as Sepoy in medically fit condition and after serving for 15 years in the DSC, he was discharged therefrom in 2010. Before applicant’s discharge, the Release Medical Board (RMB) considered his disability as ‘primary hypertension’ and opined the disease as “neither attributable nor aggravated” (NANA) by military service and assessed it as 30% for life. The Medical Board further assessed the disability qualifying for a disability pension as NIL for life. Aggrieved with non-payment of disability pension, the applicant preferred representation which was rejected by the appropriate authority. Hence, the present petition.

The Tribunal noted that the only reason given by the RMB for declaring the disease as NANA was that it had not started in peace area and not in a field, high altitude area or counter-insurgency operation area. This reason was outrightly dismissed by the Tribunal opining that it amounted to saying that there is no stress and strain of military service in peace areas. Therefore, in terms of the judgment of Dharamvir Singh v. Union of India, (2013) 7 SCC 316 it was held that the applicant’s disability of ‘primary hypertension’ be considered as aggravated by military service.

The impugned order was set aside and the applicant was held to be entitled to benefit of rounding-off of disability pension. Relying on Shiv Dass v. Union of India, (2007) 9 SCC 274 he was directed to be granted disability pension at 30 percent for life which would be rounded off to 50 percent from three years prior to the filing of this application.[Ex Havildar Anand Singh v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine AFT 1408, decided on 26-03-2019]

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