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Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme

Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme

Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme: The Supreme Court upheld the extension of benefits towards 'divorced' daughter of freedom fighter

The pension under Swatantrata Sainik Samman Yojna is available towards a freedom fighter, his widow or unmarried daughters. The Delhi High Court has stated this while rejecting an appeal in order to extend it to his widowed daughter.

The Judge has been informed by the Central Government that the said scheme is not offered to the married daughter of a freedom fighter.

Therefore, the Judge held that the scheme also specified that only one individual shall be allowed to the pension. Considering the above-mentioned point, the petitioner is not allowed to pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Yojna and the relief as wanted shall not be granted.

The High Court heard an appeal filed by petitioner who was seeking pension based on that she is the widowed daughter of the demised freedom fighter.

The applicant’s father was acknowledged as a freedom fighter as well as was accorded the pension under the scheme. He had expired in the year 2004 and the pension has been given to freedom fighter mother who also expired last year.

The applicant had claimed that the pension is required to be disbursed to her.

The government last year had approved the continuance of the scheme till 2020, beyond the 12th Five Year Plan which had ended on 31st March 2017.

The approval furnishes a monthly pension towards freedom fighters as a gesture of respect for their role and involvement in the national freedom struggle.

On their death, it was provided to their entitled dependents like spouses and after that, unmarried as well as unemployed daughters and dependent parents inconsistent with the set eligibility norms and procedure.

The Supreme Court judgment relating to Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme

The Supreme Court has stated a ruling of Punjab and Haryana High Court which extended the benefits of the Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme towards the divorced daughters of freedom fighters.

The scheme, for the intention of granting of pension, initially included mother, father, and widower/widow if he/she has not since remarried, unmarried daughters in the definition of family of the deceased freedom fighter.

Khajani Devi who was a divorced daughter of a freedom fighter had filed a writ petition and claimed benefits under the scheme; however, the single bench had rejected the same holding that a divorcee is not integrated in the list of entitled dependents, although an unmarried daughter does find mention.

While keeping aside the single bench order, the division bench had observed that there shall be no rationality towards the reason that the unmarried daughter could be integrated in the list of entitled dependents and a divorced daughter shall stand excluded. When allowing her claim, the bench had held that:

The basic object in the clause of the scheme listing entitled dependents is that only one who shall be granted the said pension. Thus, the authorities are required to construing the admissibility of benefit from that viewpoint. It is not the matter that the daughters are excluded on the whole. An unmarried daughter also had a mention in the list of entitled dependents. It shall be a travesty towards excluding a divorced daughter.

There shall be no rationality in the direction of the reason that the unmarried daughter could be integrated in the list of entitled dependents as well as a divorced daughter shall stand excluded, mainly when she is the only entitled dependent and accordingly, entitled for the benefit, which has been concededly made allowable only to one dependent.

The court held that such a beneficial scheme must not be fettered or constructed through a rigorous understanding which tends towards depriving the claimants of the benefit to result in virtual disturbance or negation of the admirable motive of the Scheme itself.

By dismissing the Special Leave Petition which has been filed by Union of India, the bench comprised of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Krishna Murari who had observed that:

“We are of the view that the impugned order adopts a progressive and socially constructive approach to give benefits to a daughter who was divorced treating her at parity with the un-married daughter. We fully agree with this view.”

Author:

eStartIndia Team



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