Chennai: More than 55 years after a war veteran from Indian Air Force was discharged from service the regional bench of Armed Forces Tribunal, Chennai, directed the Defence Ministry and IAF to provide him his pension.
His representation for the pension was rejected as he had not completed required 15 years of service.
In the petition V. Sundaram of West Mambalam submitted that he was enrolled in IAF in 1949. After completion of nine years of regular service, he was transferred to the regular Air Force Reserve as Corporal in 1958.
He was recalled for active service during Chinese aggression in 1962 and served in Assam during the war period and that he was discharged from service on termination of war on December 28, 1962 stating that his service was no longer required. He served a total of 13 years and 112 days in the air force.
He sent several representations seeking reservist pension for his service. He approached the Directorate of Air Veterans, New Delhi for grant of ‘reservist’ pension. As his representation was rejected, he approached the Regional Bench of AFT, Chennai.
He contended that “since he completed his regular service and rendered four years and 112 days of reserve service, he is entitled to reservist pension”. In the petition he sought direction to Ministry of Defence and IAF to grant him reservist pension.
In their reply the authorities submitted that original records of Sundaram had been destroyed 25 years after his service. As per regulation 136 of the Pension Regulations for the Air Force 1961, he had only 13 years and 112 days of total qualifying service against 15 years of minimum prescribed combined colour and reserve qualifying service required for grant of reservist pension. Therefore, his application may be dismissed as devoid of merit.
The bench comprising Judicial Member Justice Babu Mathew P. Joseph And Administrative Member Lt Gen K. Surendra Nath said the discharge of the applicant on December 28, 1962 under “Service no longer required” will not affect the right of the applicant to claim reservist pension on the principle of ‘Promissory Estoppel’ against the government for not keeping the applicant in reserve service for his full term of service.
He was entitled to be recalled to active service even after his discharge on December 28, 1962 since reserve liability was always existing between the applicant and the Government. Therefore, the applicant should have been granted reservist pension, the bench said.
It directed the authorities to grant him pension with effect from April 2012 and pay him arrears in four months....