Armed Forces Tribunal

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava (Chairperson) and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve (Member) A, heard the instant application seeking grant of special family pension.

Husband of the applicant was enrolled in the Army on 22-12-2003. While being posted to 20 RAJ RIF unit, he was granted 04 days Advance of Annual Leave from 06-11-2010 to 09-11-2010. On 06-11-2010 husband of applicant met with a road accident and subsequently died on 15-11-2010 in Command Hospital, Lucknow. A Court of Inquiry was convened and it was opined that death of husband of applicant was neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service and also not connected with military service. Accordingly, the applicant was granted an Ordinary Family Pension.

The applicant approached the government to sanction Special Family Pension but her case was rejected. Thereafter, she preferred O.A. No. 384 of 2018 before this Tribunal which was disposed of on 31-08-2018 with direction to the respondents to decide the pending appeal of the applicant by a speaking and reasoned order in accordance with law within a period of three months. Till date, the order had not been complied with. Thereafter, applicant filed Execution Application No. 236 of 2018, during which government passed the impugned order dated 18-11-2019 denying Special Family Pension to the applicant.

Noticing the report of the Court of Inquiry, the Tribunal expressed, the State had denied special family pension to the applicant on the reason that for getting special family pension, in respect of injury sustained resulted to death during course of employment, there must be some causal connection between the injury/death and military service, which was being lacking in applicant’s case.

 The Supreme Court, in  Madan Singh Shekhawat v. Union of India, (1999) 6 SSC 459 framed following points for consideration regarding grant of pension:-

“(a) When Armed Forces Personnel proceeds on casual leave or annual leave or leave of any kind, he is to be treated on duly

(b) There has to be causal connection between the injury or death caused by the military service. The injury or death must be intervention of armed forces service and not an accident which could be attributed to risk common to human being.”

In view of above guiding factors, the Tribunal reached to the findings that husband of the applicant was on advance of annual leave when he met with accident with another motorcycle and later succumbed to injuries, the activity in which he sustained injury resulted to death were neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service and not connected with his military duties in any manner’. Hence, the Tribunal dismissed the petition holding that the widow was not entitled to special family pension. [Neelam Singh v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine AFT 1815, decided on 04-02-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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