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SC allows Centre's appeal challenging HC order on pension

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, July 23 (UNI) The Supreme Court has allowed the appeal of the central government challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement holding that respondent Avtar Singh was entitled to pension as freedom fighter.

Singh in his affidavit filed before the state of Punjab had stated that he was imprisoned during freedom struggle from October 20,1942 to 0ctober 20,1943. But in his affidavit given to the union government he had said that he was imprisoned till August 15,1943.

Singh admitted that the mistake was due to his illiteracy.

Pension granted to him vide order dated December 18,2000 was subsequently cancelled and he was directed by the Union Government to refund the pension already paid to him.

A bench comprising Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta vide judgement dated July 18, allowing the appeal of the central government, directed that the pension already paid to him would not be recovered.

The court allowed the appeal on the grounds that the respondent had neither filed jail certificate nor had he filed a certificate from jail superintendent certifying that the jail record for relevant period from 1942 to 1943 were not available and hence his application for grant of pension was defective.

The apex court, however, made it clear that if the respondent filed requisite authentic documents and filed a fresh application, the same would be duly considered, uninfluenced by the findings recorded in this case on the factual scenario involved.

Avtar Singh was found entitled for grant of freedom fighters pension under the Swantrata Sainani Samman Pension Scheme, 1980.

The high court had even ignored the centre's plea that one of the persons who had certified the imprisonment of the respondent was black-listed as he had issued such certificates to large number of people.

The respondent, who is presently above 80 years, required certificate from at least co-prisoners certifying that he was in jail during freedom struggle.

The counsel for the respondent pleaded that jail-term of six months was required for becoming entitled for pension under the scheme.

UNI AKS/SC MSJ VA KN1038

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