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Supreme Court denies freedom fighter's pension; rules that eligibility norms under Govt. Scheme has no infirmities

The Supreme Court denied a freedom fighter's pension claim, ruling that the eligibility criteria has no infirmities.

Aishwarya Iyer

The Supreme Court recently highlighted that while providing a relaxation to a particular category for claiming benefits under a Scheme, the ones not included in that category could not claim violation of fundamental rights.

Having held thus, the Court allowed an appeal by the Government of India against an order of the Bombay High Court which had allowed the claim of a freedom fighter for pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980.

The Court explained the difference between the eligibility norms of the Central and State Schemes and how being eligible under one could not inherently mean being eligible under the other.

The respondent freedom fighter had challenged the notification issued by the Government of India as well as its orders rejecting his claim for pension under the 1980 Scheme before the High Court.

His claim for pension was denied by the Government on the grounds that he failed to comply with the eligibility criterion and the cut-off date to apply for the said Scheme.

The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court had allowed the petition and directed grant of pension under the Scheme. The Centre then approached the Supreme Court in appeal.

The judgment on appeal was delivered on February 11 by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Justice Navin Sinha.

The Supreme Court held that the eligibility criterion under the Central and State Pension Scheme were entirely different from each other. The creation of subsequent conditions regarding eligibility could not be considered as a violation of the right to equality of the respondent.

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