Armed Forces Tribunal: The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) slammed the Union of India opining that gross injustice done to the applicant was a case of mind set and adhering to old junk system. Opining that it requires interference by administration of justice so that one has to obey and respect law, the Bench remarked,
“It is a matter of great surprise that 23 years have elapsed but order of High Court Allahabad has not yet been complied with and respondents are stating that compliance of order is in process.”
Brief facts of the case were that the applicant’s husband was enrolled in the army on 15-12-1971 and dismissed from service on 22-11-1986, after completing about 14 years and 11 months of service. Noticeably, on 03-02-1985 the husband of the applicant had written a to Defence Secretary, Chief of Army Staff and GOC-in C, Southern Command containing allegation against his Squadron Commander. The matter was investigated and disciplinary action was taken against her husband for direct writing to superior officers.
The applicant’s husband was tried by District Court Martial (DCM) for an offence under Army Act Section 56 (a); i.e. making a false accusation. Consequently, he was punished and was dismissed from service.
The husband of the applicant preferred appeal before the Allahabad High Court which was allowed His appeal was allowed vide order dated 27.07.1998 and order of punishment awarded by DCM was quashed and respondents were directed to reinstate husband of the applicant in service and treat him in continuous service with all service benefits including increment and promotion as per relevant rules.
The grievance of the applicant was that instead of complying with the decision of the High Court, the respondents had filed an appeal on 18-11-1998 against the judgment which was dismissed on 08-07-2010. During pendency of the appeal, husband of the applicant died on 31-01-2002. The applicant contended that though there was no any stay against the order of High Court, the same was not complied with.
Noticing that the High Court had passed detailed order in favour of the husband of the applicant granting all service benefits including promotion and pay and allowance and that the appeal against the order was dismissed in the year 2010, the Bench opined that the respondents should have immediately reinstate the husband of the applicant in service and grant his dues.
The public interest demands that administration must abide by the promises held out to citizens. It is totally immoral to go back from the promises held out by the mighty state to the detriment of a small people.
Considering that the husband of the applicant died during pendency of the matter and applicant suffered mental pain and agony for more than 34 years and had to enter in unnecessarily litigation even after her case was decided by the High Court, the Bench imposed exemplary cost of Rs. 75,000 on the respondents for not implementing the order of the High Court for about 23 years.
Accordingly, the respondents were directed to grant all service benefits as applicable to the husband of the applicant in terms of order of the High Court Allahabad along with arrears and further grant family pension to the applicant from the next date of death of her husband within four months. Interest at the rate of 8% was also awarded on the amount accrued from due date till the date of actual payment. [Gulkandi Devi v. Union of India, Original Application No. 605 of 2018, decided on 13-10-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For the Applicant: Advocate Birendra Prasad Singh
For Union of India: Central Govt. Counsel RC Shukla