Decided on May 03,2006

Bero Devi Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


- (1.) The facts which are not in dispute are as under: The husband of the petitioner was enrolled in the army (JK Rifles) as Constable on 14th Dec' 61. He was discharged from service on 4th July' 67, under Rule 13(3) Item III(iv) of Army Rules, 1954, at his own request on compassionate grounds. He was re-enrolled in Defence Security Corps (DSC) on 15th Nov' 71. While undergoing training at DSC Training Centre at Cannanore, he suffered from illness and was admitted to Military hospital, Cannonore (Kereala), on 26th Nov' 71. As the condition of the husband of the petitioner deteriorated and he became unable to walk, he was transferred to Indian Naval Hospital Sanjivani, Cochin, where it was identified to be a case of 'Pulmonary Tuberculosis'. The husband of the petitioner was invalidated out of service on 21st March' 72 under Rule 13(3) Item IV of Army Rules, 1954. His disability was assessed at 70%. He made a representation to respondents for grant of disability pension on 31st Aug' 72 and finally died on 31st Dec' 82 at home, as per death certificate Annexure 'C'. The representation filed by the husband of the petitioner, however, was not decided by respondents. Petitioner received a communication from respondents vide Annexure F dated Ist May' 96, that the case of the husband of the petitioner for grant of disability pension has been rejected on the ground that the disability from which the husband of the petitioner suffered was neither attributable to nor aggravated by army service. It was further stated in the communication that the case of the petitioner for grant of family pension cannot be allowed.
(2.) The only question which is to be determined in this case is whether the husband of the petitioner was entitled to disability pension and the petitioner is entitled to family pension.
(3.) Learned Counsel for respondents raised a preliminary objection that this petition is liable to be dismissed on the ground of delay and laches. He submitted that the present petition has been filed after 29 years of passing of impugned order declining disability pension to the husband of the petitioner. It is stated that the husband of the petitioner filed a representation, Annexure B in the year 1972. The said representation was considered and rejected but the husband of the petitioner did not file any appeal or challenge the order vide which his claim was rejected.;

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