52 yrs after ‘illegal’ discharge, IAF war veteran wins pension | India News

CHANDIGARH: Almost 52 years after an IAF war veteran was “illegally” discharged after only nine years of service, disentitling him from pension, the Punjab and Haryana HC has held that such an order could not have been passed “to the detriment and disadvantage of a defence personnel”.
Pension has to be treated as a personal right of an individual for service rendered to the state, a division bench comprising justices Sanjeev Prakash Sharma and Sudeepti Sharma held, while disposing of the petition filed by former sergeant Gopi Ram.He had sought directions to set aside an order by the Chandigarh bench of Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), rejecting his plea for pension on April 17, 2014.
The petitioner was enrolled in IAF as a regular combatant airman in the trade of radar operator, and on completion of training on Dec 10, 1964, joined Operational 43 Signal Unit. He actively participated in the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971 and also received decorations/medals. He completed nine years of service on Dec 26, 1971, and was abruptly discharged on March 28, 1972.
After hearing his plea, HC observed that no reasons had been cited in the order discharging the petitioner, and held that he was entitled to “benefit of completing 15 years of service for the purpose of pension alone”. The court found the AFT order “laconic”, and said: “His discharge order having been quashed, he would be entitled to full pension on completion of his full service on attaining the age of 58 years.”
It did not appear reasonable to deprive the petitioner, who had been promoted to the rank of sergeant, of the benefit of 15 years of pensionable service, the bench observed, and directed the defence accounts department under ministry of defence (MoD) to release the benefits within four weeks.

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