O.A. No. 67 of 2015. Case: Annappa Giddali Vs Union of India and Ors.. Armed Forces Tribunal

Case NumberO.A. No. 67 of 2015
Party NameAnnappa Giddali Vs Union of India and Ors.
CounselFor Appellant: T.R. Jagadeesh, Adv. and For Respondents: P.J. Philip, Central Govt. Counsel
JudgesS.S. Satheesachandran, J. (Member (J)) and Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, Member (A)
IssueService Law
Judgement DateNovember 10, 2015
CourtArmed Forces Tribunal

Order:

Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, Member (A), (Regional Bench, Kochi)

  1. The Original Application has been filed by Annappa Giddali, Ex. Naik of Maratha Light Infantry, No. 3186155N seeking disability pension.

  2. The applicant was enrolled in the JAT Regiment on 01 January 1993 with terms of engagement of 20 years in colour and 03 years in reserve service. He was subsequently transferred to Maratha LIRC with effect from 25 April 1996. The applicant was downgraded to Permanent Low Medical Category P3 for 02 years with effect from 10 January 2013 to 09 June 2015 for disability "seizure disorder" and was initially provided with suitable sheltered appointment. In accordance with policy changes, the applicant along with some other personnel were discharged from service on 31 January 2014 under Army Rule 13(3) Item III(iii)(a)(i) in conjunction with Army Rules 13(2A) as sheltered appointments were not available in the Unit (Annexure R1/A1). Prior to discharge, the applicant was brought before a Release Medical Board which assessed his disability "Seizure Disorder" at 30% for life but it was considered as neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service (Annexure A3). The disability pension claim of the applicant was adjudicated by OIC Records and rejected in February 2014 (Annexure-R2). While the applicant was required to prefer an appeal against the decision within 06 months, (Annexure-R3), he did so only in January 2015 (Annexure A4). The case was not progressed further by Record Office Maratha Light Infantry (Respondent No. 3), since the applicant had not preferred the appeal within 06 months, (Annexure A5/R4).

  3. Shri T.R. Jagadeesh, the learned counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant was physically and medically fit in all respects at the time of his induction into the Army and no abnormalities were detected or noted at the time of his enrolment. The onset of the medical problem was observed in 2011 nearly 18 years after his enrollment into service. The learned counsel further submitted that the disability "Seizure Disorder" of the applicant was due to stress and strain of military service and in accordance with Rule 14(b) of the Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards 1982, the disability which led to his discharge should ordinarily be deemed to have arisen in service if no note of it was made at the time of his acceptance into military service. If it is held otherwise, then the Medical Board has to clearly spell out reasons for the same. Nowhere has the Release Medical Board of the applicant stated that the disease could not be detected at the time of his entry into the service. Further, in accordance with Para 54 of Guide to Medical Officers (Military Pensions) 2002 which deals with Psychiatric disorders, the applicant was eligible to be given the benefit that his medical condition is attributable to military service. This would also be in keeping with the decisions of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Dharamvir Singh vs. Union of India & Ors., (2013) 7 SCC 316 and Veerpal Singh vs. Secretary, MoD, (2013) 8 SCC 83. However, the Release Medical Board erred in their finding that the disability was neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service. The learned counsel therefore submitted that while the applicant has been granted 30% disability for life, it should also have been attributable to and aggravated by military service, based on the decisions of the Hon'ble Apex Court. He further submitted that the applicant has also to be given the benefit of broad banding the disability to 50% in accordance with the Government policy on the subject. The learned counsel also prayed that the applicant be permitted to file a time barred appeal, in the interest of justice, setting aside Annexure A5.

  4. Shri P.J. Philip, learned Central Government Counsel for the respondents submitted that the applicant was initially placed in low medical category S1H1A1P3E1 for 06 months in March 2011 for disability "Nervous System (INV) Seizure Disorder" and subsequently in various temporary low medical categories. The applicant was downgraded to permanent low medical category P3 in January 2013 and due to non availability of sheltered appointment he was brought before a Release Medical Board and discharged from service. The...

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