“The federal government ought to go forward and seek for freedom fighters, who needn’t come to the federal government with a begging bowl”, Gujarat high court reminded these words from a Supreme Court statement while dismissing an appeal of the Centre opposing an order to grant pension to a freedom fighter.
The case involves the plea for a pension by one Trilkamlal Parmar, who though was felicitated by the state authorities as a freedom fighter and was drawing a pension in a scheme by the state authorities, was denied pension under the Swatantra Senani Sanman Scheme, 1980.
Trikamlal Parmar had submitted that he was declared an offender by the British during the “Quit India” movement and remained underground for more than six months. He produced a document to support his claim – a certificate by known freedom fighter Nirubhai Desai stating that the British had declared an award for his arrest and that he went underground.
The division bench comprising Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri said, “He (freedom fighter) is dead and gone. His wife too is not there. Now, there isn’t a recurring expenditure. It stopped at his wife. Until 2019, they extended (the pension) to his wife. Now, you’ll have to give the amount for each husband and wife to their children”, while criticising the Centre’s reluctance to pay the pension.
A single judge bench had ordered in favour of Trikamlal Parmar, who had passed away by the time (2009). His widow too died in 2019. Centre had challenged the admissibility of the document produced by the litigant Mr. Parmar.
Gujarat high court very meaningfully said the benefit fo doubt should have gone in favour of the applicant. Since he was drawing pension from the state government, the challange should not have come from the centre. It was only the admissibility of the document was in question.
“The applicant spent his valuable time of his youth for the freedom of this country. It should not go unnoticed.” The judges added that when the freedom fighters fought for the fredom, they were not knowing if one day he freedom would be achieved and a scheme for pensioners would be announced. It is primary accountibility of the state to find out the freedom fighters names from the records of jails, the High court added.