w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Kasturi Lal v/s Union of India & Others

    SWP No. 853 of 2005

    Decided On, 01 January 2009

    At, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE NIRMAL SINGH

    For the Petitioner: R.K. Gupta, Advocate. For the Respondents: Piyush Gupta, CGSC.



Judgment Text

Nirmal Singh, J.

1. Petitioner is seeking a direction to the respondent Union of India to release disability pension in his favour.

2. The case of the petitioner is that he was recruited as Sepoy in Indian army in the year 1971. At the time of his recruitment, which was done after proper medical check up by the concerned army authorities, he was found hale and hearty. It is stated that in the year 1978-79, when he was posted to ERE duty Abhor Mandi Punjab in 16 Inf. Division Camp, he developed the disease namely Neurosis, as a result of which, he was admitted to Military Hospital, Abhor Mandi, from where he was referred to Military Hospital, Chandigarh. As the petitioner's condition did not improve, he was thereafter referred to Psychiatric Hospital, Chandigarh, where he remained under treatment for about nine months. The petitioner thereafter was examined by the Medical Board and discharged from service on medical grounds on 7th of Jan'80. The above disability of the petitioner was assessed at 20%.

3. The grievance of the petitioner is that the disability from which he suffered and which led to his discharge from service occurred on account of stress and strain of army service, the same should have been treated as attributable to army service and as the said disability was assessed at 20%, he should have been paid the disability pension in terms of Regulation 173 of the Army Pension Regulations, 1961. It is stated that at the time of entry of the petitioner into service, the petitioner was not found suffering from any such disease and even for about eight years i.e. the period for which the petitioner remained in active service w.e.f. 1971 to 1978-79, there were no signs of the disability called Neurosis and it was only during the posting of the petitioner at Abhor Mandi Punjab in 16 Inf. Division Camp, that he developed the said disease on account of stress and strain of army service. It is thus submitted that the rejection of the claim of the petitioner for disability pension by the army authorities on the ground that the disability of the petitioner is neither aggravated nor attributable to army service, is not in accordance with the law and the rules governing the field.

4. On notice, respondents have filed counter stating therein that the Medical Board has expressed its opinion regarding non aggravation of the disability of the petitioner by army service after proper check up of the petitioner and taking all the relevant factors into consideration, and therefore, the said decision of the Board should not be interfered with. It is stated that, no doubt, the disability of the petitioner was assessed at 20% for two years, but the said disability namely Neurosis (Hysteria) 300(6)', was found not attributable to army service, and as such, the claim of the petitioner for grant of disability pension has been rightly rejected by PCDA(P), Allahabad to which authority, the claim of the petitioner was forwarded. It is thus stated that the petitioner cannot have any grievance.

5. The question as to whether the disability suffered by an army personnel which leads to his discharge from service would be a disability attributable to or aggravated by military service when no mention of it is made at the time of his enrolment was considered by a Division Bench of this Court in the case reported as Darshana Devi v. Union of India and ors., 2008(1) SLJ 1. After taking note of the various judicial precedents on the subject, in para 8 of the judgment in the aforementioned case, it was held as under:-

"8. Therefore, from the judicial precedents referred to above, it can safely be held that if there is no mention regarding a disease or disablement at the time of entry of an army personnel into service, then the disability on account of which the concerned army personnel is boarded out of service would be deemed to have occurred due to hazards of army service ................"

6. In the present case, the petitioner was enrolled in the army in the year 1971. As noticed above, the petitioner at the time of his entry into service was not found suffering from any such disease called Neurosis. It was only after eight years of active service that he developed this disease i.e. in the year 1978-79, which fact is not disputed by the respondents. Therefore, the stand taken by the respondents that the said disability suffered by the petitioner is constitutional and not connected with the service cannot be accepted. Even otherwise, the Medical Board while expressing the opinion that the disease of the petitioner is constitutional in nature has not given any past history/family history of the petitioner. The Medical Board has also not indicated as to whether any of the family member of the petitioner ever suffered from this disease or that the petitioner had shown any abnormality during his childhood. In the absence of any such material on the record of Medical Board proceedings, the view to the contrary as taken by the Medical Board and stressed upon by the respondents can safely be taken.

7. The opinion of the Medical Board that Neurosis from which the petitioner suffered is not attributable to army service can also not be accepted when Annexure III to Appendix II to Army Pension Regulations aforementioned, under which there is classification of diseases is perused. Under column 'B', the diseases which are affected by stress and strain of service have been given. Psychosis and Psychoneurosis are the diseases which have also been mentioned under the said head. In Black's Medical Dictionary 36th Edition, 'Psychoneurosis' has been defined as a general term applied to various disorders relating to the nervous system and has been elaborated in the definition given to Neurosis in the said dictionary. Therefore, taking into consideration the said medical term as defined in the aforementioned dictionary, it can be said that 'Neurosis' a species of Psychoneurosis is a disorder of nervous system, and therefore, can be affected by the stress and strain of army service as per the Annexure III, referred to above. In view of this, the stand of respondents that 'Neurosis' has been opined by the Medical Board as a constitutional disease and the same cannot be attributable to or aggravated by military service, is a stand, which as indicated above, cannot be sustained.

8. In Gurmukh Singh v. Union of India, 1999(3) SCT 139, where the petitioner (Gurmukh Singh) was invalidated out of service on medical grounds, the disability pension was allowed. The army personnel in the above case was also suffering from 'Neurosis'. In para 6 of the judgment, it was observed as under:-

"..............It is, therefore, evident that-the 'Neurosis' is a species of Psychoneurosis. In this view of the matter, the respondents' argument that 'Neurosis' being a constitutional disorder could not be attributed to military service or aggravated thereby, is to no avail.........."

9. This court in OWP No. 1215 of 1999, titled Isher Singh v. Union of India and ors., decided on 21st of Dec'2000, allowed the disability pension. The petitioner in the above case was also suffering from Neurosis (Depressive Reaction). As there was no mention of the fact that the petitioner in the above case was suffering from any such disease at the time of his entry into service, he as indicated above, was held entitled to disability pension.

10. In the present case, it has been established that the petitioner was not suffering from the malady of neurosis at the time of his entry into service. Even the Medical Board while conducting its proceedings, as indicated above, have not given any past/family history of the petitioner and it is also not apparent from the said proceedings that any of the family member of the petitioner was ever suffering from such a disease. Even from the perusal of Annexure III to Appendix II, referred to above, in which 'Psychoneurosis' has been said to be a disease affected by the stress and strain of army service and 'Neurosis', as discussed above, being one of the species of the 'Psychoneurosis' can be said to be a disability which can occur due to hazards of army service. Therefore, it can safely be concluded that the petitioner who was hale and hearty at the time of his enrolment and remained as such for about eight years of his active service, developed this disease during the course of his service and the same is held attributable to it.

11. For the reasons mentioned above, this petition is allowed. Th

Please Login To View The Full Judgment!

e malady of neurosis from which the petitioner suffered after about eight years of his active service and which led to his discharge from service, is held to be attributable to army service. As the disability of the petitioner has been assessed at 20%, he is held entitled to disability pension. The respondents shall release the disability pension in favour of the petitioner within a period of two months from the date, a copy of this order is made available to them by the petitioner. The petitioner is also held entitled to arrears of the said pension three years prior to the filing of the present petition. The said arrears shall also be released within the period aforementioned. In case, the disability pension along with the arrears is not released as indicated above, then, the petitioner shall be entitled to interest @ 9% per annum on the arrears and this interest shall be payable by the person on whose account the delay occurs. Disposed of accordingly.
O R