Original Application No. 54 of 2014. Case: Amar Pal Singh Vs Chief of the Army Staff, Integrated Headquarter of the Ministry of Defence (Army) and Ors.. Armed Forces Tribunal

Case NumberOriginal Application No. 54 of 2014
Party NameAmar Pal Singh Vs Chief of the Army Staff, Integrated Headquarter of the Ministry of Defence (Army) and Ors.
CounselFor Appellant: P.N. Chaturvedi, Advocate and For Respondents: Ishraq Farooqui, Learned Counsel
JudgesV.K. Dixit, J. (Member (J)) and Lt. Gen. Gyan Bhushan, Member (A)
IssueArmed Forces Tribunal Act 2007 - Section 14
Judgement DateSeptember 16, 2015
CourtArmed Forces Tribunal

Order:

Lt. Gen. Gyan Bhushan, Member (A), (Regional Bench, Lucknow)

  1. The instant Original Application has been filed on behalf of the applicant under Section 14 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007, and he has claimed the reliefs as under:--

    (a). Issue/pass an order or direction to the respondents to quash/set-aside the arbitrary and illegal CCDA (P) letter No. 14513372/D-8/Pen dated 20.12.1989 (Annexure No. A-1(ii)) rejecting the disability pension to him.

    (b) Issue/pass an order or direction of appropriate nature to the respondents to grant the disability pension to the applicant between 20% to 30% as required vide guide to Medical Officers (Military Pensions), 2002 and as decided by the Release Medical Board with effect from 01.08.1988 for life.

    (c) Issue/pass any other order or direction as this Hon'ble Tribunal may deem fit in the circumstances of the case.

    (d) Allow this application with costs.

  2. The admitted and undisputed facts of the case are that the applicant was enrolled in the Indian Army on 18.07.1973 and was discharged from service with effect from 31.07.1988 (Afternoon) on fulfilling his terms & conditions of enrolment. He was in medical category BEE (Permanent) due to NEUROSIS (REACTIVE DEPRESSION). The medical board before his discharge was held in February 1988, which assessed the disability @ 20% for two years and considered it neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service being constitutional disease. His claim for disability pension was rejected. The applicant did not prefer any appeal against the rejection of his disability pension. Aggrieved by rejection of his disability pension, he has filed the instant O.A. There is a delay of approx 24 years in filing of the O.A., however, since the claim is recurring any nature, the delay in filing of the application was condoned vide this Tribunal order dated 19.02.2014.

  3. Heard Shri P.N. Chaturvedi, Learned Counsel for the applicant, Shri Ishraq Farooqui, Learned Counsel for the respondents and perused the record.

  4. Learned Counsel for the applicant has submitted that when the applicant joined the Army in 1973; he was medically fit and onset of the disease happened in January 1985. At the time of enrolment the applicant was found medically fit and there is no note of the disease at the time of acceptance in military service. Since the onset of the disease was during the service, as such the disease/disability has to be considered attributable to and aggravated by military service. Learned Counsel for the applicant further submitted that as per judgment of Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Sukhvinder Singh v. Union of India reported in (2014) STPL (WEF) 468 SC even if the disability is assessed below 20%, the disability pension is to be granted and should be rounded off to 50%. Since there is no note of such disease or disability in the service record at the time when he entered the service, it has to be considered that the disability was attributable to and aggravated by the service conditions. The applicant's Counsel placed reliance on the judgment of Hon'ble the Apex Court in the case of Dharamvir Singh reported in (2013) 7 SCC 316, and the subsequent judgment of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Sukhvinder Singh v. Union of India reported in (2014) STPL (WEF) 468 SC. Lastly, the learned counsel for the applicant also made an oral submission, though not contained in the pleadings, that as per Government Order dated 31.01.2001 the disability pension be rounded off to 50%.

  5. Per contra, the Learned Counsel for the respondents submitted that since the medical board had assessed the disability as neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service, as such the applicant was not fulfilling the primary condition for grant of disability pension as laid down in para 173 of Pension Regulations. His claim for disability pension was rejected with an advice to prefer an appeal to the Appellate Committee within six months, if he so desired but the applicant failed to prefer within the stipulated time. It was thereafter presumed that he is satisfied with the decision of the competent authority. He has now filed this O.A. after a lapse of 24 years.

  6. Learned Counsel for the Respondents further submitted that applicant's claim for disability pension had been rejected because it was considered neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service.

  7. Before dealing with the rival submissions, it would be appropriate to examine the relevant Rules and Regulations on the point. Relevant portions of the Pension Regulations for the Army 1961 (Part I), Chapter IV of Entitlement Rules 1982 and the provisions of Rules 5, 9, 14(b) and 20 of the Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pension Award, 1982 are reproduced below:--

    "(a) Pension Regulations for the Army 1961 (Part I)

    Para 173. "Unless otherwise specifically provided a disability pension consisting of service element and disability element may be granted to an individual who is invalided out of service on account of a disability which is attributable to or aggravated by military service in non-battle casualty and is assessed at 20...

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