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Armed Forces Tribunal: The Coram of Justice SVS Rathore (Judicial Member) and Air Marshal BBP Sinha (Administrative Member) allowed an application filed under Section 14 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 for grant of disability pension.

Applicant herein, who joined the Indian Army in 2003, was admitted to the Military Hospital for psychiatric treatment in 2011. He was diagnosed with alcohol dependence syndrome (ADS), alcohol-induced psychosis, and deliberate self-harm; and was subsequently invalided out of service in 2013. Release Medical Board considered his disability as ‘neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service’ (NANA). Consequently, he was denied a disability pension. Hence, the present application.

Learned counsel for the appellant, Mr Vinay Pandey, submitted that the applicant was discharged in low medical category after putting in 09 years 11 months and 08 days of service. As such, he was entitled to get disability pension by condoning the shortfall of a few days for completion of 10 years of regular service. Whereas Mr VPS Vats, learned counsel for the respondent, contested this claim on the ground that the applicant’s disability was self-induced.

It was noted that the applicant had been invalided for a disability which was primarily induced by excessive alcohol consumption. The Tribunal recorded its displeasure at the rising incidence of ADS cases being invalided for pension in the Army. It observed that since ADS cases were invalided on medical grounds as NANA, legally there was no bar for an invalid pension.

In the present case, the applicant was short of 10 years’ of service by 22 days. In such a situation, where the livelihood of an individual was getting adversely affected, it was expected from a government organization to be magnanimous and considerate to its employee by delaying his discharge by 22 days.

In the interest of substantial justice, the impugned order was set aside and respondent was directed to treat applicant to be notionally in service till he completes 10 years of service, and grant him invalid pension for life.[ Jadhav Nilesh Dinkar v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine AFT 1028, Order dated 26-03-2019]

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Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench, Lucknow: Hon’ble Justice DP Singh and Hon’ble Air Marshal BBP Sinha, pronounced an order in respect to an application being filed in regard to refusal to grant disability pension under Section 14 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.

The applicant was commissioned in the Indian Army in Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME). He was posted at Jabalpur when the annual medical examination took place in which he was subjected to Medical Board proceedings and was put under the category of “primary hypertension i-10”, when further the re-categorisation was held applicant was placed in Medical category P2 (Permanent). Release Medial Board opined that the disability was neither attributable nor aggravated by military service and assessed the disability to be 30% for life.

The question of attributability of disability was considered to be no longer “res integra”, by citing the case of Dharmvir Singh v. Union of  India, (2013) 7 SCC 316, and further the proposition of law stated in the cited case declared that the applicant’s disability is considered as “attributable to military service”.

Next, the question of rounding off of disability pension was settled by citing the case of Union of India v. Ram Avtar (CA No. 418 of 2012 ), which explained the ratio and helped in concluding the judgment by entitling the applicant to the benefit of “rounding off” of his disability element of pension from 30% to 50%.

The Tribunal concluded its order by stating that the applicant was enrolled in the Indian Army in a medically fit condition and was discharged from service in low medical category. Since the applicant entered in Military service in a medically fit condition, disability will be considered as attributable to military service. Therefore, respondents are directed to grant disability pension to the applicant @ 30% for life which shall be rounded off to 50% for life from three years prior to filing of the original application. [Bimal Kishore Charan v. Union of India, OA No. 277 of 2016, decided on 04-1-2018]