The Central Information Commission on Friday directed the Delhi Administration to offer an unconditioned apology to a Freedom Fighter who was denied pension.
“The Commission recommends the Chief Minister of Delhi to pay due attention to this person, felicitate this freedom fighter and facilitate pension besides initiating disciplinary action against the concerned officer who did not properly deal with the application for pension of this old man, for such negligence and disrespect. It will be honourable to offer an unconditioned apology to the freedom fighter/appellant,” Information Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu observed.
It hence directed Delhi Administration to “explain why it should not be directed to pay suitable compensation to the appellant for harassment meted out to him due to lethargy and red tape in getting prompt reply and action on his application.” The case has now been posted to August 12 for compliance.
The Commission also directed the PIO/GNCTD to guide and provide necessary assistance, in order to facilitate securing of pension from the Government of Delhi, “with some human concern and respect for this freedom fighter.” The Commission was assured by Mr. Amitabh Kundu, Dy Secretary, GAD that he would take personal care in processing the claim of the appellant within 45 days and report compliance to the Commission.
The CIC was hearing an appeal filed by Mr. Radha Krishan, who had participated in the Quit India Movement, and was supposed to receive pension pursuant to an order of the High Court of Delhi.
He however alleged that his files were mixed up with other persons of the same name and his claim was denied reasoning that he had already been granted Freedom Fighter Pension. “I was the Instrumental in breaking the shackle of the tyrannic of British Rulers, but after attainment of Independence my back has been broken by our own Babus of Independent India (sic),” Mr. Krishan had submitted.
He had hence demanded that the Government of Delhi be directed to sanction Freedom Fighter Pension under DUTFF Scheme, 1989.
Ruling in favour of the appellant, the CIC observed, “It is disturbing to know that a 99-year old freedom fighter has to face inaction and non-governance. The office has not shown any regard for his sacrifice, sufferings like floggings in custody, bullet injuries and travails while resisting British forces.”
“Present generation should not forget that it was the united effort of all the freedom fighters like appellant made us free. After a few years, we may not find any freedom fighters living. Respecting and rewarding them is the least we could do. Pension in the name of Samman is what state can give. The centenarian appellant’s woes should have been addressed appropriately by helping him in giving required documents, instead of rejecting or returning it. Why this old and senior citizen should not be responded to on priority?” it further observed.
Read the order here.