C.W.P NO. 16500 OF 2007 -1- IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH C.W.P NO. 16500 OF 2007 DECIDED ON : 09.03.2009 Sham Singh ...Petitioner versus Union of India ...Respondent CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SURYA KANT Present : Mr. M. K. Garg, Advocate, for the petitioner. Ms. Renu Bala Sharma, Advocate, for the respondent. SURYA KANT, J. (ORAL)
The petitioner seeks a mandamus for restoration of the Freedom Fighter's Pension which was earlier granted to him under the Swatantatra Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 and which he continued to avail upto 1977.
Notice of motion was issued and in response thereto, reply-affidavit has been filed by the Union of India taking all possible objections like delay and latches; non-maintainability of the writ petition or that the grant of pension is a discretion vested with the authorities.
In order to substantiate his claim, the petitioner has specifically averred that he had left India on 04.02.1939 for C.W.P NO. 16500 OF 2007 -2- Shanghai (China) and joined the Indian National Army. The petitioner is stated to have sold his entire property and valuables to donate 2500 dollars to the Indian National Army Fund. The petitioner, besides attaching a true copy, has also produced the original certificate dated 10.06.1945 purported to have been issued by Major B.N. Narayan certifying his enrollment with the Indian National Army on 04.03.1939. The Certificate, on the face of it appears to be original and genuine. Besides this, the petitioner has also produced a group photograph of all the soldiers and officers of the Indian National Army of the Battalion in which he was enrolled. The petitioner's photograph of the year 1939 is affixed on the Certificate dated 10.06.1945 issued by Major B.N. Narayan and with a little effort one can very well ascertain as to whether or not the petitioner is also there in the group photograph. Besides this, the petitioner has also produced the original records comprising the pension paper orders whereby provisional pension was granted to him on 15.08.1972 which he continued to draw till the year 1977.
Unfortunately, the respondents have rejected the petitioner's claim in a most casual and irresponsible manner. There is no application of mind at all and not even a whisper to doubt the genuineness of the material sought to be relied upon by the petitioner. In any case, the respondents have sufficient means and mechanism, including diplomatic channels to ascertain the truthfulness of the petitioner's claim. However, no C.W.P NO. 16500 OF 2007 -3- such exercise has been undertaken. The impugned action suffers from arbitrariness and cannot sustain on the touch stone of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
For the reasons stated above, the order-cum-letter dated 07.01.2009 as well as the previous orders, if any, rejecting the petitioner's claim are hereby set aside and direction is issued to the respondents to reconsider the claim of the petitioner and if so required, invoke their diplomatic channel to verify the facts pleaded by the petitioner.
However, if so required by the respondents, the petitioner is directed to produce the original documents in his possession to the authorities for their consideration.
The needful shall be done within a period of four months from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order.
MARCH 09, 2009 (SURYA KANT) shalini JUDGE