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HC orders Haryana to pay BSF constable’s widow ₹20

December 07, 2019 06:33 AM

COURTESY TOI DEC 7
Injured On Duty In 1996, He Died 18 Years Later
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana high court has held that a state government cannot deny benefit of exgratia meant for operational casualities merely because the armed forces retained a disabled soldier in the force and did not board him out on medical grounds.


Justice G S Sandhawalia passed the order while hearing a petition filed by Manjit Kaur, a resident of Haryana’s Jhajjar district. Her husband, BSF constable Dilbagh Singh, was injured in firing by Pakistan during his deployment at a border outpost.

She approached the high court after her claim for exgratia grant of Rs 20 lakh under the Haryana government’s policy for personnel of central police forces in case of operational casuality was denied by the state.

Her claim was denied on the grounds that the deceased had suffered a gunshot injury on October 22, 1996, but had been retained in service. Having died 18 years later and not having been boarded out on medical grounds even though his disability was attributable to service had led the Haryana government to reject her case.

As per the state’s policy, personnel of the central paramilitary forces are eligible for ex gratia payment in case of death due to war action against militants, terrorists, extremists or during border skirmishes. Thus, the whole purpose of the policy as such is to recognize the bravery and the martyrdom achieved by these personnel.

CLAIM DENIED
Manjit Kaur's claim was denied on the grounds that the deceased had suffered a gunshot injury on October 22, 1996, but had been retained in service.

Policy aim to grant benefit: HC

After hearing the petition, the HC observed that the purpose of the policy as such was only to grant benefit to the residents of Haryana and the ex gratia amount is to ensure that the family of such personnel, who lay down their lives for the nation, are well looked after financially. “Merely because the BSF authorities as such had retained constable Dilbagh Singh in the central paramilitary forces and had not boarded him out on medical grounds recognizing his valour would not be such a ground to deny the benefits on a technical ground,” the high court has held. The high court in its judgment also held that even otherwise, once the operational casualty certificate had been granted by the BSF, which has also paid ex gratia amount, and also the central government, it was incumbent upon the state government to have recognized the said certificate rather than denying relief on technical grounds. The high court has ordered the state government to release an amount of Rs 20 lakh to the family.

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