Volume 5 Issue 3 - February 01, 2007

S.C. asks Punjab & Haryana H.C. to re-examine plea of visually disabled person

D.N.I.S. News Network – The Supreme Court has asked the Punjab & Haryana High Court (H.C.) to examine afresh the plea of a visually disabled ex-serviceman Shiv Dass, who filed a petition claiming disability pension even though his service was terminated 23 years ago.

In normal circumstance, the courts do not entertain such petitions after the three-year limitation period. But, in a rare departure from norms, the apex court asked the High Court to examine the plea in view of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the case. Shiv Dass, enrolled with the Army Medical Corps, Lucknow, from 1965 was relieved from service in 1983 as he had lost 80 per cent of his sight due to certain illness. The same year, he claimed a disability pension but the Chief Controller of Defence Accounts (pension), Allahabad rejected it.

In his petition, Dass claimed that he had subsequently filed an appeal before the appellate authority but did not receive any reply and he was forced to file a petition in 2005 in the state High Court. But the case was dismissed by the High Court under the “doctrine of delays and laches”, as it was filed more than two decades after his original claim was rejected by the authorities. In the Supreme Court, Dass pleaded that he had waited for long for a reply from the authorities and thus cannot be faulted for the delay in filing the petition.

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