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Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme: SC Upholds Extension Of Benefits To 'Divorced' Daughter Of Freedom Fighter [Read Order]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
4 Oct 2019 5:57 AM GMT
Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme: SC Upholds Extension Of Benefits To Divorced Daughter Of Freedom Fighter [Read Order]
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The Supreme Court has upheld a judgment of Punjab and Haryana High Court which extended the benefits of the Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme to divorced daughters of freedom fighters. The scheme, for the purpose of grant of pension, originally included mother, father, widower/widow if he/she has not since remarried, unmarried daughters in the definition of family of...

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The Supreme Court has upheld a judgment of Punjab and Haryana High Court which extended the benefits of the Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme to divorced daughters of freedom fighters.

The scheme, for the purpose of grant of pension, originally included mother, father, widower/widow if he/she has not since remarried, unmarried daughters in the definition of family of deceased freedom fighter.

One Khajani Devi (divorced daughter of a freedom fighter) filed a writ petition claiming benefits under the scheme, but the single bench dismissed the same holding that a divorcee is not included in the list of eligible dependents, even though an unmarried daughter does find mention.

While setting aside the single bench order, the division bench observed that there would be no rationality to the reason that the unmarried daughter can be included in the list of eligible dependents and a divorced daughter would stand excluded. While allowing her claim, the bench had observed:

The underlying object in the clause of the Scheme listing eligible dependents is that only one be granted the pension. Therefore, the authorities have to construe the admissibility of benefit from that angle. It is not the case that the daughters are excluded altogether. An unmarried daughter finds mention in the list of eligible dependents. It would, thus, be a travesty to exclude a divorced daughter. There would be no rationality to the reason that the unmarried daughter can be included in the list of eligible dependents and a divorced daughter would stand excluded, particularly when she is the sole eligible dependent and thus, qualifies for the benefit, which is concededly made admissible only to one dependent. Even otherwise, we are of the opinion that a beneficial Scheme such as the one in hand should not be fettered or constructed by a rigorous interpretation which tends to deprive the claimants of the benefit to result in virtual frustration or negation of the laudable motive of the Scheme itself.

Dismissing the Special Leave Petition filed by Union of India, the bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Krishna Murari observed:

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.

Click here to Read/Download Order



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