The Supreme Court has issued notice on a Special Leave Petition challenging a judgment of the Himahcal Pradesh High Court which held that divorced daughter of a freedom fighter is not eligible for pension under the Swantantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme (Tulsi Devi vs Union of India).
The petitioner is the daughter of late Shri Gopal Ram, Ex-Freedom Fighter.
The petitioner stated that she was totally dependent on her parents after obtaining divorce from her husband in 2015. After the death of her father, the petitioner was totally dependent on her old ailing mother for carrying on her life, as the mother of the petitioner was drawing pension under Freedom Fighter Scheme, stated the plea. But the pension has been stopped after the death of petitioner's mother.
"The petitioner is about 54 years of age, having no child out of the wedlock and after death of her parents ( Freedom Fighter), the petitioner is living a life of penury and, therefore, with great humbleness and respectfulness prays that the benefit of Swantantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme may also be extended to her being the divorced daughter by treating her at parity with unmarried daughter", stated the SLP filed in SC through Advocate Dushyant Parashar.
The petitioner placed reliance on a judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case Khajani Devi vs. Union of India, which extended the benefit of freedom fighter's pension to a divorced daughter.
The petitioner points out that the said judgment of P&H HC was upheld by the SC in September 2019.
The SC had dismissed the SLP against the judgment of P&H HC observing :
"We are of the view that the impugned order adopts a progressive and socially constructive approach to give benefits to daughter who was divorced treating her at parity with the un-married daughter. We fully agree with this view."(Special Leave Petition (Civil) Diary No.17706 of 2017, Order dated 27.09.2019)
In the instant case, the petitioner seeks the application of the ratio of the judgment in Khajani Devi vs Union of India.
A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran issued notice on the SLP, returnable by the last week of July.