The Bombay High Court dismissed the petition wherein Freedom fighter's pension was claimed and observed that no material was shown by the petitioner to show that the petitioner's husband was a freedom fighter and was involved in freedom fighter's activities.

The Bench of Justice Ravindra V. Ghuge and Justice Arun R. Pedneker observed that "all care has to be taken to see that the real freedom fighters do not suffer and their claims are accepted, but at the same time, fictitious claims have to be sternly dealt with on merits."

In this case, the petitioner's husband was an underground activist and various applications were filed by her husband for claiming freedom fighter pension as per the Central Government's Scheme of 1980. The said applications were, by order dated July 31, 1999 passed by the State Government, rejected by the Collector as well as the Freedom Fighter Committee for not being eligible to get the freedom fighter's pension, as he did not fulfil the conditions in Government Resolutions (GR) dated July 4, 1995. Later, the said applications were rejected by the Central Government by letter dated August 8, 2000, on the same grounds. The petitioner has also challenged the independent application, whereby her claim as a widow of the Freedom fighter was rejected by the Government.

Advocate R.M. Sharma appeared on behalf of the Petitioner, Advocate R.B. Bagul appeared on behalf of Union of India and Advocate P.K. Lakhotiya appeared on behalf of State.

The Court observed that for a claim of a Freedom fighter's pension on the basis of underground activities of freedom fighter, the person needs to prove that he fulfilled the conditions stipulated in GR, I.e., the application has to supported by an affidavit of two freedom fighters, who have suffered atleast two years imprisonment for their proclaimed offence and has to be absconding for atleast two years from the area where the person claims to be a freedom fighter. Such freedom fighter should be competent to give an affidavit in support of the Freedom Fighter's Application, stating that the applicant freedom fighter was also his accomplice and was involved in freedom fighting activity along with him.

The Court observed that the petitioner has failed to place material on record to show that the husband of the petitioner was involved in freedom fighter's activities and moreover, the petitioner's husband did not even challenge the order of rejections passed by the state Government and the Central Government and now the petitioner cannot challenge the same belatedly. "On merits also, we hold that the petitioner is not entitled to claim pension of her husband".

The Court further relied on the decision of Apex Court in the case Bhaurao Dagadu Paralkar Vs. State of Maharashtra and others, reported in (2005) 7 SCC 605 and its decision in the case of State of Orissa Vs. Choudhuri Nayak (Dead) [(2010) 8 SCC 796 and observed that the principles were carved out to ensure that no genuine freedom fighter should be denied the pension and if the claim of the present petitioner is accepted, it would amount to an abuse of the scheme.

Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.

Cause Title- Smt. Kaushlabai v. Union of India & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Judgment