Making it easier for Army personnel to get the disability pension,the Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that the personnel will be entitled to the benefit on a presumption that he became disabled on account of service conditions,which will cover both battle and non-battle situations.
A Bench of Justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhaya held that disability pension will accrue to a personnel on the ground that he is to be presumed in sound physical and mental condition upon entering service if there was no record at the time of entrance.
Disability pension is granted to an individual,who is invalidated out of service on account of a disability,which is attributable to or aggravated by military service,and is assessed suffering with at least 20 per cent disability. In the event of his subsequently being discharged from service on medical grounds,any deterioration in his health is to be presumed due to service, said the Bench,adding the onus of proving this fact was not on the personnel.
The Bench said that to check if the cause of a disability or death from a disease was attributable to service or not,it is immaterial whether the cause giving rise to the disability or death occurred in an area declared to be a field service/active service area or under normal peace conditions. On the Medical Board,which sends its recommendations to the pension sanctioning authority,the court said it must give adequate reasons if it opined that the disease could not have been detected on medical examination prior to acceptance for service and that disease will not be deemed to have arisen during service.
The ruling came on an appeal by one Dharamvir Singh,who was enrolled as sepoy in the Corps of Signals of the Indian Army in 1985. After nine years of service,he was boarded out as he was found suffering from epilepsy.