The Bombay High Court has dismissed a writ petition filed by a man claiming to have participated in the Quit India Movement of 1942 recognised by the State of Maharashtra as a ‘freedom fighter’ seeking government pension.
The bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre decided not to intervene in the order by the Central Government rejecting the petitioner’s claim.
The petitioner, Parcharam Ailani, filed the petition in 2010 and died before the matter could be decided. But his legal heir was impleaded as a party in place of the petitioner.
It was the case of the petitioner that he took active part in the Quit India Movement, was arrested in the year 1943 and was sentenced to death for waging war against the then British Government. Thereafter, the death sentence was commuted to life and the petitioner claimed he managed to escape from jail after spending two months. Then, he remained underground and the British Government could not trace him until the Independence in 1947.
The petition also mentioned that Ailani was later elected as a member of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly as an independent candidate from Ulhasnagar constituency.
On the basis of the above, the petitioner sought his pension from the Central government, but the request was rejected. Then after, the petitioner sent a notice to the state government regarding the same, the state supported the petitioner’s claim and forwarded his case with requisite documents to the Union of India.
The Union of India rejected the petitioner’s claim again.
In order for one’s pension claim as a freedom fighter to be accepted, certain documentary evidence is mandatory. Now, there was no primary evidence produced on behalf of the petitioner to prove his claims. In that case, secondary evidence is permissible.
In terms of secondary evidence, a declaration on affidavit from a prominent freedom fighter who has proven jail suffering for a minimum of two years and who happened to be from the same administrative district qualifies.
Two such affidavits from co-detainees were submitted.
However, the court referred to a letter produced on behalf of the petitioner and noted that once the state government was informed that the petitioner allegedly underwent imprisonment and was detained in district jail, Karachi, and escaped from that jail, they concluded that he could not have produced any documentary evidence in such circumstances yet while recommending the petitioner’s request for pension to the Freedom Fighter Cell of the Union Home Ministry, the state government said the petitioner has all requisite documents.
“It is not possible for him to produce any document, much less on affidavit of any codetenu/s, it is not known as to how the Government of Maharashtra certified the petitioner as a freedom fighter,” the court said.
“It is in these circumstances, we find that the petitioner could not establish and prove his claim as a freedom fighter. Any support of the Government of Maharashtra in the facts and circumstances of the present case is beyond comprehension.”
Thus, the petition was dismissed.