STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Armed Forces Tribunal sets aside Directorate General of Mechanical Forces order in nine-year-old case

The tribunal directed the Army authorities to pay ex-gratia relief and liberalised pension to the widow of soldier Naik Akhilesh Srivastava holding his death in 2009 to be a "battle casualty".

Published: 24th October 2018 01:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th October 2018 01:33 AM   |  A+A-

Court Hammer

For representational purposes

By PTI

KOLKATA: The regional bench of Armed Forces Tribunal here has set aside an order of the Directorate General of Mechanical Forces (DGMF), Personnel, which stated the death of a soldier due to heart attack in the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir over nine years ago was a case of "physical casualty" and not "battle casualty".

The tribunal directed the Army authorities to pay ex-gratia relief and liberalised pension to the widow of soldier Naik Akhilesh Srivastava holding his death in 2009 to be a "battle casualty".

The tribunal in its September 7 order urged "the authorities not to adopt a hidebound and negative approach to such cases in future."

Noting the plight of a war widow "who has to run from pillar to post to get her rightful dues", the tribunal directed that Srivastava's widow be granted liberalised family pension from the date following her husband's death.

The tribunal, on a petition filed by Srivastava's widow Kanak Lata, directed that a letter issued by the office of DGMF on February 2, 2011 stating that Srivastava's death was a case of "physical casualty" be quashed and "battle casualty" status be restored upon him.

The tribunal, comprising Justice Indira Shah, member (judicial), and Lt Gen Gautam Moorthy, member (administrative) noted in its order that Srivastava was posted in Rashtriya Rifles (Assam) and deployed on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Srivastava, the commander of a small team in an operation, was on an area dominating patrol from 6.30 am on June 20, 2009.

He had developed chest pain at 12.15 pm while returning.

He was administered on-the-spot medical aid and brought back to company operating base.

He went to sleep at 2 pm.

Srivastava had complained of severe chest pain again at 3.30 pm and was taken by helicopter to Mahore Sub-divisional Hospital where he was declared "brought dead."

A court of inquiry was conducted wherein his death was classified as "battle casualty".

Kanak Lata, a resident of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, had received a letter from the office of DGMF (Personnel), which said that though her husband's case was reported by 59 RR as battle casualty, it was classified as physical casualty by the Adjutant General's branch.

The tribunal noted that the respondents have said in their affidavit-in-opposition that the case was processed to Principal Controller of Defence Account (Pension), Allahabad, for adjudication for grant of special family pension and ex-gratia payment, but was rejected by PCDA(P) stating that "the death did not occur due to any accident while performing bona fide military duty."

After perusing appendix A of the Army Order 01/2003 regarding "circumstances for classifying casualties as battle or physical," the tribunal noted that as per paragraph 1(g) of the said Army order, casualties occurring while operating on the International Border or Line of Control due to natural calamities and illness caused by climatic condition entailed the casualty to be classified as battle casualty.

It also noted that the certificate rendered by the unit states that "while returning back from the operation, the individual developed chest pain due to illness caused by climatic conditions."

Ex-gratia relief of Rs 15 lakh was also directed to be paid to Kanak Lata.

The tribunal directed that the order be executed within three months from the date of receipt of the order.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp