The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar on Monday dismissed the appeal filed by retired Indian National Army officer Lt Col PK Kapur, challenging the order dated October 4, 2016, of the Armed Forces Tribunal in New Delhi, refusing to treat him as invalided out from service from the date of his retirement on November 30, 1989, for the purpose of the ‘Pension Regulations for Army’ and to fix the war injury disability pension at invalidation rates from December 1, 1989.
The appellant contended that he was released in a lower medical category from service on November 30, 1989 than he was at the time of recruitment and, therefore, he should be treated as invalided from service with effect from the date of release for the purpose of grant of disability pension and be paid war injury pension at the rate of invalidation from December 1, 1989. He claimed he was unjustly given war injury pension at reduced rates.
It was submitted on behalf of the Ministry of Defence that the appellant retired on November 30, 1989, on superannuation. Having stood retired from service after completing full tenure of service, the appellant cannot now claim that he was invalided out of service. The concept of invalidment applies in cases in which the tenure of service is cut short due to invalidment on account of war injury or disability. The concept of invalidment does not apply to cases where an officer completes his tenure of service and retires on attaining the age of superannuation.
It was also argued on behalf of the respondents that though his war injury element was assessed at 30%, it was broadbanded to 50% in computation and the pension was paid accordingly from January 1, 1996, the cut-off date as prescribed under the Ministry of Personnel circular dated February 3 , 2000.
The bench observed that the judgments of the apex court relied upon by the appellant- Union of India and others v. Ram Avtar [C.A No. 418 of 2012] and Union of India v. KJS Buttar [JT (2011)(3) SC 626] - are not applicable to the facts and circumstances of the present appeal and dismissed the same.