Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Alexander Thomas, J. while hearing civil writ petition filed for grant of freedom fighter’s dependant pension ruled that the same is available from the date of sanctioning order and not from the date of submission of an application for grant thereof.

Petitioner’s husband was the recipient of freedom fighter’s pension under Kerala Freedom Fighters’ Pension Rules, 1971. His application for grant of freedom fighters’ pension under the Central Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 (Central Scheme) was rejected. After his demise, the petitioner filed an application under the Central Scheme for grant of freedom fighter’s dependent pension. State government recommended grant thereof but Union government rejected her claim. In view of court’s order requiring Union government to reconsider petitioner’s claim, she was granted dependant pension from the date of the court’s judgment. The said order was challenged vide instant petition.

Contention on behalf of the respondent was that since the petitioner had made available only secondary evidentiary materials to prove her claim, she was entitled to grant of dependent pension only from the date of court’s judgment dated and not from the date of her application.

Relying on the dictum of Apex Court in Union of India v. Kaushalaya Devi, 2007 (9) SCC 525, it was held that since the petitioner had produced only secondary evidentiary materials in support of her claim, therefore, she was entitled to get dependant pension and its arrears only from the date of sanctioning order and not from the date of submission of her application.

However, the Court noted that secondary evidentiary materials submitted by petitioner had been duly acknowledged by the State government and despite the State government’s positive recommendation, the Central government had rejected the petitioner’s claim. Therefore, it was held that the petitioner would be entitled to pensionary benefits and its arrears from the date of State government’s recommendation and not from the date of court’s judgment requiring reconsideration thereof by the Central government. [Aleyamma Kunjappan v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 4909, decided on 22-10-2018]

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