Jawan’s Loan Travails: SSB Says It Gave All Help But Central Welfare Fund Will Be Affected If Loan Isn’t Repaid In Time
The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) has told the Delhi High Court that its Central Welfare Fund (CWF) has been raised through monthly subscription paid by officers and officials of the Force and any financial assistance given to the needy, if not returned timely, will hamper the functioning of this fund.
The SSB said so in an affidavit filed before the court on a petition moved by SSB jawan Manish Kumar ruing how 80 per cent his salary was being deducted towards defaulted installments of a medical loan taken for kidney transplant leaving him with only Rs 5,000 every month to fend for his family and himself.
Moved by his plight, a bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rekha Palli had by an order in February called for an affidavit from Additional DG, SSB, explaining the rules which empowers the Force to make such “hefty deductions” from the salary of a jawan “leaving a paltry amount of less than Rs.5,000 for him to sustain himself for the entire month”.
In its affidavit, the SSB said Kumar was “supposed to refund the loan amount to Central Welfare Fund (CWF) in the month of October 2015, but he intentionally did not refund the amount and defaulted wilfully”.
It said the decision to make deductions from his salary towards the defaulted payment was as per the Governing Body Meeting which was held on 29.1.2015 which took a unanimous decision that, "on receipt of Medical Reimbursement by the individual, the amount of advance from Central Welfare Fund should be recouped in total and not in instalments”.
“The ibid decision of the governing body led to recovery from the petitioner,” it informed the court.
While Kumar said in his petition that he was given hard postings which affected his health, the SSB affidavit said the Force provided him all assistance as a welfare measure and even sent his request for loan beyond the approved rates to the MHA besides not giving him any hard postings.
Kumar’s counsel Tushar Sannu said Kumar was recruited in SSB as a constable in year 2006 and was given hard postings for six years which affected his health. He was diagnosed with kidney ailment and was kept on dialysis for almost two years from October, 2013 to March, 2015.
He said doctors advised him kidney transplant on which he opted for operation at Ganga Ram Hospital which, he said, had high success rate of kidney transplants.
Sannu says Kumar applied for loan of Rs 11 lakh, of which Rs 6 lakh was sanctioned on the condition that it has to be repaid in 60 equal instalments.
After depositing five instalments between July 6, 2016 and June 8, 2017, totalling a sum of Rs 40,000, Kumar could not deposit the balance amount due to acute financial crisis as his medical bills continued to mount and him being the sole dependent for his family.
As a result, a notice to show cause was issued to Kumar on August 1, 2017. In his reply, Kumar requested that monthly instalments may be deducted from his salary and he be given six months' time to pay the entire amount.
Sannu said even prior to receiving his reply, SSB had started making deductions from his salary from the month of July, 2017 onwards.
The SSB, however, stated in its affidavit that “as a welfare measure, SSB had extended the facility of interest-free loan for treatment. SSB also took up the matter with MHA for medical expenses and CGHS for passing of petitioner’s claim exceeding CGHS rates and thus tried to help petitioner in all respect. Due to his ill-health, he has also been posted to FHQ Delhi since April 24, 2014 and no hard duties are assigned to him keeping in view his health conditions. All necessary assistance is being provided to him by SSB”.
The affidavit goes on to state that CWF is private fund and it is raised through monthly subscription paid by the officers and officials of Force personnel.
There are a total of 78054 subscribers of CWF – 1345 officers and 76709 officials.
“All the members have availed some or the other benefits at some given time from CWF. The financial assistance given to the needy if not returned timely will hamper the functioning of the Central Welfare Fund (CWF),” it said.
The affidavit also said Kumar was first referred to Nephrology Department Government Medical College Jammu for treatment of kidney ailment in August, 2013. Subsequently he was admitted in Super Hospital Jammu and remained under treatment there for almost a month.
It said Kumar was provided all assistance by the Force even during his treatment at SSB-empanelled hospitals and he was not given any hard postings when his request seeking permission for kidney transplantation from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi was received.
“…the unit had categorically apprised him vide communication 22.02.2014 to get treatment either from AIIMS, Government Hospital or empanelled hospitals. However, despite the prevailing instructions on the subject, the petitioner willfully ignored the advice/suggestion of the Authority based on the rule position and proceeded ahead on his own to get treatment from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi,” said the affidavit.
On his application for medical advance of Rs 11 lakh, the affidavit informed that the MHA returned the remark that treatment in private hospitals can be obtained only in case of emergency or accident and when no government hospital is nearby which is not the case with the petitioner.
He then applied for loan of Rs 6 lakh from the CWF.
“…petitioner has taken treatment at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, which was not a CGHS-empanelled hospital without any referral by SSB or by any government hospital or by any CGHS-empanelled hospital.
“…it has been clarified by the Comdt. Medical that Kidney transplant operation facility exists in many government hospitals i.e AIIMS/Safdarjung or in many private (CGHS empanelled) hospitals, where treatment cost is as per the approved CGHS rates, but the petitioner took treatment from non-empanelled hospital on his own,” said the affidavit.
The SSB submitted that till July 2017, Kumar refunded only Rs 40,000 and in due course, the status of pending recovery of loan amount from CWF was reviewed by ADG, SSB and list of all defaulters (10 cases) was put up for perusal. The name of the petitioner (Kumar) appeared at serial No.8 of the defaulter list.
“ADG, SSB …ordered recovery of loan from all defaulters as per pendency against each. It was decided that monthly recovery of Rs, 30,000 should be made from the salary of Constable (GD) Manish Kumar…,” it said.
The affidavit further added that till date, Rs 2.20 lakh has been recovered from him but since January, 2018 no recovery is being made from Kumar.Read the Affidavit Here