Monday, August 9, 2010
Widow of soldier entitled to dual pension
Widow of soldier entitled to dual pension ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL, KOCHI. Express News Service First Published : 23 Jul 2010 03:38:23 AM IST Last Updated : 23 Jul 2010 11:28:44 AM IST KOCHI: The Regional Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) in Kochi on Wednesday ordered that the widow of a reemployed soldier is entitled to dual family pension. Disposing of a petition filed by Sobhanakumari of Malappuram, wife of the late Sergeant Sivasankaran Nair, the AFT comprising Justice K Padmanabhan Nair and Lt General Thomas Mathew pronounced the Ministry of Defence's stand against the petitioner's entitlement to get two family pensions simultaneously as "illegal and unsustainable". The petitioner's husband, after being discharged from Indian Air Force, got reemployment in Canara Bank and died in harness while serving in the bank. Till the date of his death, he was getting the Air Force pension. But, after her husband's death, when the petitioner claimed family pension, the Air Force rejected it on the grounds that she was getting pension from the bank. In her petition before the Tribunal, Santhakumari pointed out that there is no provision which disentitles her from getting two family pensions at a time and that the pension from the Canara Bank is not paid out of the consolidated fund of India. The MoD took the stand that she was not entitled to get two pensions based on Regulation 195 (a) of Pension Regulations of Air Force 1961 according to a legal heir shall be eligible for family pension from Air Force only if he or she is not in receipt of another pension from the government. Pointing out that Canara Bank is a statutory body incorporated under the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act and that its funds are not part of the government funds, the AFT made it clear that the pension from Canara Bank cannot be treated as pension from the government. Hence there is no justification in denying family pension to the petitioner on the grounds that she has been already receiving pension from the bank The tribunal directed the MoD to disburse the pension within three months, failing which with interest at the rate of 9 percent a year.