RULING ON DISABILITY PENSION CASES FOR ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL
1.) The Armed Forces induct person with fit medical conditions the individual has to undergo medical test /examination at the time of entry into service thereafter at the time of starting of training again he/she has to undergo medical examination. Thereafter the person has to move at different places in different working environment as per requirement of service. The Armed Forces Personnel have tough life as they perform rigorous duties binding themselves in strict discipline in stressful conditions. During their service tenure they have to face various types of hazards being in different locations and facing different weather conditions all over the country.
Armed forces personnel always being engaged in training activities to maintain the fitness and preparedness for war like situations. They even do aroudous tasks during natural calamities to save the man and material keeping the interest of the nation above all and always ready to sacrifice. They retire at young age and any disability suffered by them during their service needs to be compensated as the same is deemed to be attributable to or aggravated to military service. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in catena of Judgements had held that a person join military service in a fit medical condition and if he retires with disability is deemed to be due to military service and required to compensated by grant of disability pension.
2.) The Govt of India, Min of Def has also framed a liberal policy issued vide their letter No 4(17)/2015/D(Pen/Legal) dated 29.06.2017 directing that if an individual meet certain conditions as observed by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Dharamvir Singh v. UOI & Ors (Civil Appeal No 4949 of 2013) 2013(7) SCC 36, 2013 (12) JT 44, 2013(8) SCALE 58. then he should be make entitled for disability element of pension. The said conditions mentioned in the letter are as follows :-
- The question whether a disability is attributable or aggravated by military service is to be determined under “Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards 1982.
- A member is to be presumed in sound physical and mental condition upon entering service if there is no note or record at the time of entrance. In the event of his subsequently being discharged from service on medical grounds any deterioration in his health is to be presumed due to service.
- If no note of any disability or disease was made at the time of individual’s acceptance for military service a disease which has laid to an individual’s discharge or death will be deemed to have arisen in the service.
- If medical opinion holds that the disease could not have been detected on medical examination prior to the acceptance for service and that disease will not be deemed to have arisen during service, the medical board is required to state the reasons.
3.) Govt of India, Min of Defence issued letter dated 07.09.2018 for implementation of recommendations of Expert Committee constituted by Hon’ble Raksha Mantri for reducing litigation. In this regard, various circulars have been issued to reduce the court cases. Expert Committee had recommended that whenever a legal principal is settled by a High Court or the Supreme Court, the same must be universally applied to all similarly placed employees or at least on individual representations after examining the same, rather than forcing them into individual litigation. It was also been held vide Office Memorandum dated 02.02.2016 in respect of filing appeal that in service matter, no appeal will be filed in cases where
- The matter pertains to an individual grievance without any measure repercussion.
- The matter pertains to a case of pension or retirement benefits without involving any principle and without setting any precedent or financial implications.
It is the view of the Govt that the pension cases may be dealt liberally and not to file appeal in cases where view has already been held by Hon’ble Court /Tribunal.
4.) There are various judgments passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court wherein a liberal view has been taken in disability pension cases. Few are mentioned below:-
- Dharamvir Singh v. UOI &Ors (Civil Appeal No 4949 of 2013) 2013(7) SCC 36, 2013 (12) JT 44, 2013(8) SCALE 58
- Union of India &Anr v Rajbir Singh Civil Appeal No 2904/2011, 2015(2) SCALE 371, 2015 (2) JT 392, 2015 (3) SLR 318
- Case No CA-5605/2010 titled Sukhvinder Singh v UOI 2014(14) SCC 364, 2014(8) SCALE 619 2015 (3) SLR 5,
- UOI & Ors v. Angad Singh Titaria, 2015(5) JT 478, 2015(2) SCALE 640, 2015 (5) SLR 403, AIR 2015 SC 1898
- Civil Appeal No 418/2012 titled UOI &Ors v. Ram Avtar vide judgement dated 10.12.2014 (For Broad Banding of Disability Pension).