Shimla, January 2
The HP High Court has quashed and set aside the order issued by the Commandant of 9th Battalion of Indo-Tibetan Police Force (ITBP), Union Ministry of Home Affairs, whereby it had rejected the claim of disability pension to a soldier on the ground that he had only 40 per cent disability.
While passing this order, a division bench comprising Justice Sabina and Justice Satyen Vaidya observed that “the case reveals weary tale of a soldier who instead of fighting on the battlefield had to fight in the courts.”
The court further directed the government last week, on an appeal filed by Bhisham Singh of Shimla, to pay him disability pension as applicable under Central Civil Services Extraordinary Pension Rules along with arrears with 9 per cent interest per annum within a period of three months.
Allowing the appeal of a former constable, Indo-Tibetan Police Force, who suffered an injury to his left eye while in service and due to which he was declared unfit for duties by the medical board, the court observed that “Central Civil Services Extraordinary Pension Rules nowhere provide that the person with disability less than 60 per cent was not be eligible for grant of benefit thereunder.”
The court further observed that “it is not in dispute that the appellant had suffered disability to the extent of 40 per cent as a result of eye injury suffered by him. Since the appellant had 40 per cent disability, his claim was rejected on this ground alone.
A plain reading of the provisions Central Service Extraordinary Pension Rules makes it clear that for every percentage of disability, the disability pension is payable but the rates and incidence is different under the rules. By virtue of this, the percentage of disability to be reckoned for computation of disability element has been prescribed and even in the cases of disability assessed by Medical Board at less than 50 per cent, the same was to be reckoned at 50 per cent.”
The court further held that the appellant is entitled to disability pension in addition to his service pension.