Pension of major’s widow raised from Rs.80 to Rs.18,000


New Delhi : The pension of an army officer’s widow has been revised from Rs.80 to Rs.18,000 a month, the government Monday informed the Supreme Court, which, however, observed there was a feeling that bureaucrats were insensitive towards families of armed forces personnel.

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“There is a feeling that bureaucrats don’t care for them (service personnel),” the apex court bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice B.S. Chauhan said.

The court said that whatever may be the final decision, the service personnel should feel that their case was given an adequate hearing and consideration.

“A grievance needs to be given a hearing even if it is decided against the aggrieved service personnel,” the court said.

The judges said that they felt very sad when they saw on TV service personnel returning their medals and burning their artificial limbs in protest against the insensitivity of the bureaucrats.

Petitioner Pushpa Vanti is the widow of Major Dharam Chand, who joined the British India Army in 1937 and was promoted as a Junior Commissioned Officer in 1946. He was granted permanent commission in 1948. Major Dharam Chand was decorated five times for his gallantry in war and peace.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramainum told the court that the defence ministry was working to set up a system so that the grievances of the ex-servicemen could be heard at their doorsteps. He said that the district level committees for ex-servicemen were being roped in for the purpose.

The solicitor general said: “We will see to it that not only the machinery (grievance redressal) was in place at the district level but it functioned effectively.”

The court was told that the ex-servicemen department was also being galvanized to redress grievances.

Subramanium told the court that a presentation on what was being done could be made before the court.