UNION OF INDIA Vs. AVTAR SINGH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
UNION OF INDIA
SHRI AVTAR SINGH
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(2.)The Union of India calls in question legality of the judgment rendered by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissing the Letters Patent Appeal filed by it. Learned Single Judge whose order was assailed before the Division Bench had held that the respondent was entitled to freedom fighters pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 (in short 'scheme').
(3.)Background facts in a nutshell are as follows:-
The respondent claimed that he had participated in the freedom struggle of the country and had suffered imprisonment and was, therefore, entitled to pension under the scheme. Earlier there was a Freedom Fighter's Pension Scheme, 1972 (hereinafter referred to as the '1972 scheme'). The later Scheme was introduced in 1980. Though initially pension was granted to the respondent, by order dated 18.12.2000, it was indicated on inquiry that the respondent had indicated two different versions while claiming pension under the Scheme. In the application accompanied by an affidavit filed before the State of Punjab, the period of imprisonment was indicated to be 20.10.1942 to 20.10.1943. But a different period i.e. 20.10.1942 to 15.8.1943 was indicated in the application and the affidavit filed before the Union. It was also noted that the respondent had accepted the above position to be correct, but attributed the same to his illiteracy. The pension sanctioned to him was cancelled and he was directed to refund the amount which had already been paid to him. A writ petition was filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It was initially dismissed. The matter was carried before this Court in Civil Appeal No.8388 of 2001. Since the High Court's order was practically unreasoned, this Court directed the High Court to hear the matter afresh and dispose of the same by a reasoned order. The matter was heard afresh. The High Court noted the submissions of the present appellant that one of the persons who had certified the imprisonment of the respondent as a co-prisoner was black- listed. He had issued certificates to a large number of persons. Though the High Court accepted that there was difference in the dates indicated in the two affidavits, it was held to be inconsequential. Accordingly, direction was given for grant of pension. The matter was carried in appeal by a Letters Patent Appeal, which as noted above, was dismissed.
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