O.A. No. 177 of 2015. Case: C. Swaminathan Nair Vs Union of India and Ors.. Armed Forces Tribunal

Case NumberO.A. No. 177 of 2015
CounselFor Appellant:T.R. Jagadeesh, Adv. and For Respondents: Subash V.N., Central Government Counsel
JudgesS.S. Satheesachandran, J. (Member (J)) and Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, AVSM & BAR, NM, Member (A)
IssueService Law
Judgement DateDecember 20, 2016
CourtArmed Forces Tribunal


Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, AVSM & BAR, NM, Member (A), (Regional Bench, Kochi)

  1. The Original Application has been filed by C. Swaminathan Nair, No. 14277982, Ex Naik of Corps of Signals seeking disability pension with the benefit of broad banding.

  2. The applicant was enrolled in the Army (Corps of Signals) on 17 Aug 1967 and was invalided out of service on 25 May 1983 under Army Rule 13(3)III(iii) being in low medical category ('Primary Pigmentary Degeneration of Retina Both Eye (377)'. The applicant had rendered 15 years 282 days of service and was granted service pension (Annexure R1).

  3. Shri T.R. Jagadeesh, the learned counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant was medically fit at the time of his enrolment in the Army and no abnormality was recorded by the Medical Board at the time of his recruitment. After nearly 15 years in the Army during which he had served in various places, including in high altitude and field areas, in 1982 the applicant suffered night blindness, which was diagnosed as a case of Primary Pigmentary Degeneration of Retina Both Eye and was invalided out (Annexure A1). The Medical Board assessed his disability at 80% for two years, but held that the disability was neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service. The applicant's claim for disability pension was adjudicated and rejected by PCDA(P) (Annexure A2). The applicant submitted an appeal against the rejection of his disability claim which was also rejected by the respondents (Annexure A3).

  4. The learned counsel further submitted that the applicant subsequently preferred a second appeal in March 2011 (Annexure A4). This was rejected by the respondents without entering into the merits of the case (Annexure A5). The applicant therefore filed a Writ Petition in the Hon'ble High Court of Kerala, which was disposed of directing the respondents to consider the second appeal of the applicant on merits within a period of three months (Annexure A6). Since there was delay in considering the appeal, the applicant filed a contempt petition in the Hon'ble High Court of Kerala, but soon thereafter, the respondents considered and rejected the second appeal of the applicant (Annexure A7/A8).

  5. The learned counsel submitted that in accordance with Rule 14(b) of the Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, a disease which has led to an individual's discharge will ordinarily be deemed to have arisen in service if no note of it was made at the time of his entry into service, unless specific reasons were stated by the Medical Board. In the instant case, no reasons were given by the Medical Board and hence the disability of the applicant should be considered as attributable to/aggravated by military service, which would be in keeping with the decisions of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Dharam Vir Singh v. Union of India & Ors (2013) 7 SCC 316), Veerpal Singh v...

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