No action was taken since 1981 till 2014, i.e. or last 33 years by them, the court observed.
The Uttarakhand High Court has come down heavily on the state government for making a freedom fighter run from one office to another for the fulfilment of his legitimate claim of the grant of freedom fighter pension.
Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma imposed a cost of Rs.3,50,000 to be paid to the widow for the harassment for which her late husband, a freedom fighter, and she had suffered at the hands of the state agency. The court also directed the state to start paying freedom fighter pension, without any further delay, to the widow of the late freedom fighter Satyeshwar Sharma and to pay the entire arrears of freedom fighter pension, within one month.
The court was considering a plea of a 91-year-old widow of a freedom fighter, whose late husband died at the age of about 100 years. The claim of her late husband, who first applied for the pension in 1981, for the grant of Freedom Fighter Pension, was rejected by the state.
At the outset, the bench observed: Nothing could be a more pathetic litigation then the case at hand, where a person who has devoted his life in procuring the freedom of the country, our “Alma Mater”, have been pursuing for the grant of freedom fighter pension under the Rules of 1975 ever since 05/03/1981, but without any result.
The court also noted that the freedom fighter, who was almost of the age between 90 to 100 years, was being asked to run from pillar to post, from one table to another to ensure that the benefit of the freedom fighter pension for which he claimed to be eligible under the Rules of 1975, is accorded to him. “Nothing could be more worse and shocking in this administrative set-up of a welfare State where a freedom fighter ever since 1981 till 06.8.2012 i.e. almost for 31 years approximately, had been running from one office to another for the fulfillment of his legitimate claim of the grant of freedom fighter pension but all his efforts has been ruined and rendered in vain. It could be said that all these actions of the State authorities would amount to be an absolute and utter disrespect to a senior citizen and in particular, a freedom fighter who has contributed in the freedom movement against the British regime, and had suffered their wrath for the country,” the court said.
The court also criticized the act of the then Chief Minister, who when approached by the freedom fighter asked his principal secretary to look into the matter and directed the secretary to pay a sum of Rs. 50,000 to him. The court said it was done “as if the State was doing a charity to a freedom fighter while recognizing his services to the nation by extending an assistance of a poultry sum of money”.