#India – Former Army Sepoy to get disability pension after 50 years


Thanks to an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench

Fifty-years after he was discharged from the Army, a former sepoy is set to get disability pension, thanks to an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench.

disability-discrimination1

Chennai, April 25,2013

Hailing from Virudhunagar, M. Sundaram was enrolled as sepoy in the Madras Regiment in 1958. He was invalidated from service after being diagnosed with psychosis. As he was exposed to a hostile work environment, he was discharged after five years and four months of service at the age of 25.

He contended that he was not suffering from any ailment and had no history of any constitutional disease at the time of joining the Army. He said the subsequent medical examinations conducted were found that he was fit in all mandatory requirements till he was invalidated.

Even though, he was entitled to disability pension, it was rejected by the authorities.

A Review Medical Board was constituted in 2011 and he subjected himself to examination to assess the disability after a long spell of 47 years. The Medical Board had opined that the disability of psychosis was due to non-service conditions.

The Board said since there was no disability attributable to service, he was not entitled to any disability pension.

The counsel for forces said that as per the Guide for Medical Officers (Military Pension) 2008, psychosis was considered a genetic biological disorder and it was not connected with military service.

The opinion of the Review Medical Board was final. The disability of the applicant was constitutional in nature.

Disposing the application, the AFT Bench, comprising its judicial member Justice V.Periya Karuppiah and its administrative member Lt. Gen (Retd) Anand Mohan Verma, found that there was vast contradiction in the opinion of the president of Medical Board in the proceedings and the opinion of the psychiatrist.

Concluding that the Board had erred in its decision, the Bench noted that the psychiatrist had noted that the disability persisted owing to past illness, as he was invalidated from service for it.

However, the board’s president had given an opinion that his 40 per cent disability would have arisen due to non-service factors.

Stating that opinion of psychiatrist should prevail, the AFT set aside the orders of the Army rejecting the former sepoy’s plea and held that Mr. Sundaram was entitled to disability pension from 2007.

 

#Manipur- Upholding the right to life #AFSPA


April 11, 2013, The Hindu

MANIPUR

In northeastern India, Manipur remains the State worst affected by insurgency. The Assam Rifles, the Army and other security forces have a tough job on their hands. But admittedly, nothing can justify the scale and extent of the fallout of that fight — what the Supreme Court has described, possibly in an understatement imbued with a touch of irony, as “a pattern of carelessness.” It was referring to the findings of the Santosh Hegde Committee appointed by the court, on a public interest petition that sought to highlight mass killings in the State over the last decade. The committee found that seven killings in six instances were the consequence of fake encounters. The petitioners had claimed over 1,500 such deaths. The findings now add force to widespread complaints of human rights violations, reinforced over time by some striking incidents including the assault and killing of Manorama Devi in 2004. The Central government has told the court the Hegde report would be considered at the highest level. But given past experience, it is unlikely that the Centre would act on its own to make a meaningful difference on the ground. The court, which expressed a sense of sorrow and helplessness, must ensure the most precious of all rights — the right to life. The committee having recommended the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act with respect to Manipur, the court may need to take a call on that contentious question as well — including, crucially, whether the Act is meant to aid civil powers or substitute for them.

The National Human Rights Commission’s plea, in response to the report, to ensure that all encounter incidents be thoroughly investigated under the terms of its guidelines, is a sensible one. That will involve reporting incidents promptly to the NHRC and holding detailed and systematic magisterial inquiries within three months. But all this will add up to nothing if the Centre is unwilling to ensure that security personnel, be they from the Army or the paramiltaries, are held to account for any illegal use of force on their part. Soon after Manorama’s killing at the hands of the Assam Rifles in 2004, the Justice Upendra Commission was set up to probe the incident. Nearly nine years later, its report has yet to see the light of day, let alone be acted upon. It is this culture of pervasive impunity that allows innocent persons to be killed in staged encounters. Coming out with a list of “dos and don’ts for the security forces,” as the government has promised it would do, will hardly suffice. A similar list ensued the last time the apex court heard a major case on the role of the armed forces in the northeast. That was in 1997. This time, it must do more.

India- Karnataka Court asks #Army not to behave like #Khap Panchayats #VAW #genderjustice


Don’t behave like a khap panchayat, Karnataka HC tells Army

, TNN | Oct 31, 2012, 01.46AM IST

e:Major Vikas Kumar|Karnataka High Court|Army
Don't behave like a khap panchayat, Karnataka HC tells Army
Karnataka high court on Tuesday compared the Army to a khap panchayat for blocking a young officer’s bid to marry a 29-year-old Sri Lankan woman he’s in love with.
BANGALORE: A bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen of the Karnataka high court on Tuesday compared the Army to a khap panchayat for blocking a young officer’s bid to marry a 29-year-old Sri Lankan woman he’s in love with.

Major Vikas Kumar’s dreams of marrying the Bangalore-based 29-year old Sri Lankan student hit a roadblock with the Army ordering an investigation into “the purpose behind him coming in contact with a foreign national”. In response to his plea to quit since service rules bar officers from marrying foreigners, his commanders refused to relieve him, citing a severe staff crunch. The signals corps officer then went to court.

A division bench presided over by Chief Justice Sen Tuesday reserved judgment on an appeal filed by the Union government challenging an order of a single judge bench which had ruled in Maj. Kumar’s favour.

Displeased with the arguments of the government counsel, Justice Sen observed: “This is not a khap panchayat, this is the Army.” He also said, “We can’t understand the Army’s stand at all. This is most unfortunate for the man. One of India’s Presidents, also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was married to a foreigner.” (A reference to K R Narayanan who was married to Ma Tint Tint of Myanmarese origin).

Maj Kumar won round one of the legal battle this June. A single judge of the high court ruled in his favour saying, “The Army can’t refuse his request for release from the services since he wants to marry a foreign national.” The Union government challenged the order in the division bench.

The government counsel argued, “We have ordered an investigation to find out under what circumstances and for what purpose he has come in contact with a foreign national. Also, his regiment is severely short-staffed, so we cannot relieve him.”

Maj. Kumar’s advocate told the court he filed his second petition after the single judge’s order had been pending with the Army for about four months. “As per the rules, you were expected to decide the application within 120 days either saying Yes or No. Such an inquiry ordered by you is an unknown law,” said Justice Sen.

Case snapshot

* Maj. Vikas Kumar joined the Army in 2000 and underwent a BE course sponsored by the Army

* He’s with the Corps of Signals in the northeast India

* On June 29, 2011, Vikas Kumar filed an application seeking release from the services saying he wanted to marry a foreign national unwilling to give up her nationality

* Application rejected it saying ‘it was incomplete’

* Maj Kumar challenged the order in the high court, where a single judge ruled in his favour

* Union government challenged the order in the division bench

 

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