A legal battle for an ‘extra ordinary family pension’ awarded to her when her husband died 60 years ago and halted just four years later has finally ended for a war widow with the Punjab High Court and Haryana ordering the Center to pay the amount owed to it since 1966 with interest at 6 percent per annum.
A bench of Judge Harsimran Singh Sethi passed the order hearing the petition of Dharmo Devi whose husband Pratap Singh of the 9th Battalion, CRPF, died during the 1962 war.
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Devi, through her solicitor, solicitor RA Sheoran, had argued that after her husband’s death, she was sanctioned with an extra ordinary family pension, but that this was cut off by the Center and other concerned authorities from August 3, 1966 and that too without any valid justification.
The extraordinary family pension is paid to the civil servant or his family if his invalidity or his death is imputed to the civil service.
At a previous hearing, the High Court had sent summonses to the Center and the CRPF. The Respondents later argued that upon reconsideration, they concluded that the extraordinary pension granted to Dharmo Devi had been wrongfully terminated. They argued that the said benefit, effective August 3, 1966, is granted to him by an order dated March 15, 2022. In addition, normal pension arrears were calculated and paid to Dharmo Devi in 2020, they argued, adding that the extraordinary family pension arrears were being calculated and will be paid to him.
The claimant’s lawyer, on the other hand, argued that Dharmo Devi has been denied his legitimate benefit for 56 years and is therefore entitled to interest on the arrears of the extraordinary family pension.
The CRPF and the Center however objected saying that there was no bad faith in the withdrawal of Dharmo Devi’s extraordinary pension and that it happened due to a lack of communication.
Passing the order, Judge Sethi said: ‘It is clear that the petitioner was not at fault at any time. On the contrary, a war widow was treated unfairly by the respondents with regard to the granting of the family pension. It is not disputed that even on the day when the extraordinary family pension was withdrawn, the applicant’s right to the grant of it still existed. She must be compensated. »