High Court: Pay arrears to freedom fighter’s widow from 1974

Shimla, August 21

The Himachal Pradesh High Court has dismissed an appeal filed by the Central Government and directed it to pay all arrears of pension, including interest, to the widow of a freedom fighter with effect from 1974.

A division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Jyotsna Rewa Dua passed the order on an appeal filed by the Central Government, challenging the order by a single judge on the petition.

Petitioner Brahmi Devi had sought directions to the Centre and the state government to grant freedom fighter's pension to her, being the widow of Dhani Ram, who had served in Dogra Regiment as a sepoy till 1946 and participated in World War II.

Awarded the Pacific Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal, Dhani Ram, along with similarly placed people, were declared as freedom fighters of the nation.

In 1973, Himachal Pradesh issued a letter to award Tamrapatras to the freedom fighters in Bilaspur, Mandi, Hamirpur and Kullu districts and the petitioner''s husband name was there along with another freedom fighter Lance Naik Lashkari Ram.

On August 15, 1973, a Tamrapatra was awarded to Dhani Ram, who was acknowledged as a freedom fighter by the Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner and was issued an identity card. However, the state did not consider his request for the grant of pension to him. He went on making representations till his death on May 2, 2010. Thereafter, his widow had been pursuing his claim.

The single judge Bench had allowed her petition on September 29, 2016, observing that "it is proved on record that the husband of the petitioner was a freedom fighter and therefore, she is entitled for the grant of freedom fighter pension from the due date, i.e. April 4, 1974".

It had directed that the pension shall be released within eight weeks, failing which, the respondents shall be liable to pay nine per cent interest on the pension. — IANS

The background

On August 15, 1973, a Tamrapatra was awarded to Dhani Ram, who was acknowledged as a freedom fighter by the Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner and was issued an identity card. However, the state did not consider his request for the grant of pension to him.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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