Pension to freedom fighters an honour, not charity – High Court
Do not reject claims on technicalities, government told
“Granting pension to freedom fighters is not a charity shown by government but a great honour bestowed on them for their selfless service rendered to the nation,” observed the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday.
A Division Bench of Justices K.Ravichandrabaabu and T.Krishnavalli made the observation while dismissing an appeal preferred by the Centre against the order of a single bench which had directed the grant of pension to legal heirs of a freedom fighter.
The court observed that it is the duty of respective governments to identify great freedom fighters, particularly those who live in poverty and grant them pension instead of waiting for them to apply for it. The government should not look into the hyper-technical conditions and reject such claims. It is better to extend monetary support even if there is one evidence, enough to sufficiently establish the claims.
The court directed the Collector of Madurai to forward the application for pension of the freedom fighter to the State Government within four weeks. The State Government shall forward the application to the Union of India within six weeks, to consider and grant the pension.
A single bench had directed the Centre to grant pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme to the legal heirs of freedom fighter P.S.Periaiah, the original petitioner who died during the pendency of the suit. P.S.Periaiah had filed the suit after his plea for pension was rejected by the Collector.
The Centre said that the petitioner had not satisfied the mandatory requirements. The petitioner had submitted two co-prisioner certificates, one by a co-prisioner who had spent only five months with him in prison. However, under the existing rules a co-prisioner can certify only if he had spent at least two years along with him in prison.