india

HC allows Centre’s appeal

Rejects woman’s plea for freedom fighter pension

Madurai

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday allowed the appeal preferred by the Centre against the grant of freedom fighter pension to a woman, who claimed that her father was a freedom fighter.

The woman, Kalarani of Ramanathapuram district claimed that her father Muthu Servai was a freedom fighter and sought the grant of pension. She said that her father had first approached the court in 1993 and subsequently in 1998 for the claim of freedom fighter pension.

It was said that the High Court on both the occasions had directed the representation of Muthu Servai be considered. However, Muthu Servai had failed to support his claim with necessary evidence and did not challenge the subsequent rejection of his representation in 2000.

After he died in 2002, Kalarani filed a petition seeking the grant of pension on the ground that she was his unwed daughter. A Single Bench of the High Court considering her plea directed the grant of pension.

Allowing the Centre’s appeal and setting aside the Single Bench order, a Division Bench of Justices K. Ravichandrabaabu and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy took note of the fact that the woman’s father had failed to respond to the rejection of the representation made by him.

He had failed to submit acceptable evidence in support of his claimed suffering and in the absence of necessary evidence, his claim was not substantiated, the court said. Also, the Centre and the State had not granted any pension to Muthu Servai.

The court also took cognisance of the fact that as per the revised policy guidelines, only the spouse or unmarried daughter were eligible to get the freedom fighter pension. However, the father himself was not granted pension.

Therefore, the woman, as the daughter of the said person, was not entitled to seek pension in the absence of any pension granted to her father. Both the Centre and the State had failed to recognise him as a freedom fighter, the court said.

Normally, this court would be liberal and pragmatic in considering the claim of freedom fighter’s pension. In this case, we are not in a position to accept the claim for pension sought by the daughter, when the father himself had not challenged the rejection, the court said.

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