UNION OF INDIA Vs. BHAVANI RAMAKRISHNAN
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
UNION OF INDIA
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(1.) This appeal is against the judgment in O.P.No.6801/2002. The appellants are the respondents in the Original Petition and the respondent is the petitioner in the original petition.
(2.) The respondent Bhavani Ramakrishnan is the wife of Sri. Ramakrishnan who is stated to have actively participated in the Punnapra - Vayalar Struggle which has been recognized as part of the Freedom Struggle. She filed an application for Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension (hereinafter referred to as "S.S.S. Pension") under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme. The said application was rejected by the Government of India as per Ext. P3 letter dated 12th February, 2002. In Ext. P3 though " the Government of India found that late Ramakrishnan was in lockup as an undertrial it was held that such undertrial imprisonment would not qualify for Freedom Fighter's Pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme. According to the Government, the respondent's husband had not undergone any imprisonment as defined in S.60 of the Indian Penal Code. Under the S.S.S. Pension Scheme undertrials except the one which led to conviction is not treated as suffering. It was also pointed out that bringing the undertrial which did not lead to conviction would be a substitution of new eligible criteria for the Scheme enlarging its scope which was impermissible. Hence the application was rejected holding that the applicant's claim was not eligible for S.S.S. Pension. Challenging Ext. P3, the respondent Smt. Bhavani Ramakrishnann fried the Original Petition praying for a direction to the first respondent Union of India to pay Freedom Fighter's Pension to the petitioner from the date of Ext. P1 application with 18% interest. The learned Single Judge relying on the decision of the Full Bench of this court in Union of India v. Peter Devassya ( 2003 (1) KLT 467 ) held that the petitioner was entitled to pension as a widow of the freedom fighter and directed the Government to pass further orders on the petitioner's application within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a copy of the judgment. Aggrieved by the said judgment of the learned Single Judge, the Union of India has filed this writ appeal.
(3.) It is not disputed by the learned counsel for the appellants that in Ext. P3 the Government of India found that late Ramakrishnan was in lockup as an undertrial. It is also not disputed that the respondent's application for Freedom Fighter's Pension was rejected by the Government only on the ground that imprisonment as an undertrial did not qualify for Freedom Fighters Pension under the S.S.S. Pension Scheme. It is also not disputed that in the Full Bench decision mentioned above, it was held that actual jail suffering during the trial of the case is an imprisonment for the purpose of the Scheme and it is immaterial whether the trial ended in conviction or acquittal. In the light of the above undisputed facts, the learned Single Judge was right in holding that the petitioner in the original petition was entitled to pension as a widow of the freedom fighter.;
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