Ex-servicemen demand promised panel, rue delays in pension cases

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) As ex-servicemen on Friday demanded that the veterans’ commission promised by the government should be formed soon, a Rajya Sabha member suggested no government should appeal in courts in diasbility pension cases.

Particiating in a panel discussion on ‘Continued appeals in pension cases and the need for an implementable mechanism for dispute redressal’ here, the veterans said the cases pending in courts should be settled soon.

“The long-awaited veterans’ commission must be put in place and the defence minister’s committee of experts report implemented. There is frustration on the denial of justice,” Colonel H.N. Handa (retd), a veteran of the 1965 war and President of the Disabled War Veterans, said.

Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekhar, who organised the panel discussion, expressed concern over the long battles the retired soldiers had to fight for disability pension.

“I am concerned over the painful battles soldiers have to fight for disability pensions/benefits. It is an issue I have raise time and again with successive government and defence ministers. I would recommend that there should be no appeal in disability cases; rather a strong process of audits to weed out misrepresented cases should be put in place,” Chandrashekhar said.

“It took me seven years to get justice. The officers concerned looking after the disability matters should be chosen on the basis of their strong sense of values and sensitivity. The officials who create complication in disability matters should be held personally and financially responsible,” Major D.P. Singh (retd), a Kargil veteran and India’s blade runner, said.

There are currently over 16,000 cases related to uniformed services pending before various courts and tribunals in the country.

Almost 90 per cent of the total appeals filed by the Defence Ministry comprises challenges to the disability benefits to the soldiers.



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