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Withholding freedom fighter’s pension for long period not justified, says Bombay HC

Bombay High Court seeks state’s response to a plea by 1942 'Quit India' movement participant's widow

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
September 27, 2021 6:41:28 pm
The Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court recently pulled up the Maharashtra government and said that withholding freedom fighter’s pension is not justified and sought its response to a plea by a 90-year-old widow of Laxman Chavan, who took part in the 1942 quit India movement.

A division bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Madhav Jamdar on Friday was hearing a plea by Shalini Laxman Chavan — freedom fighter’s wife — which stated that late Laxman Ramchandra Chavan was a freedom fighter, who had participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942.

The plea said that though the State of Maharashtra has framed a pension scheme for freedom fighters called Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980, the benefit of the said scheme has not been extended to the petitioner whose husband passed away in 1965.

Advocates Jitendra M Pathade and Shrikant Raokar, representing the petitioner, said that the denial of pension was due to the fact that the old records in the Byculla District Prison containing details of Chavan’s imprisonment may have been destroyed.

The bench held, “Be that as it may, from the available materials on record, there does not appear to be any dispute as to the status of late Laxman Ramchandra Chavan as a freedom fighter and as regards petitioner as the widow of late Chavan. If that be so then withholding of freedom fighter’s pension that too for such a long period is not justified.”

The court then asked the government pleader Purnima H Kantharia to obtain instructions and apprise it on the grievances raised by the petitioner and posted further hearing to September 30.

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