A high court said “yes”, while another ruled: “No. It is not a bounty.” The Supreme Court has now agreed to settle the question.
The matter was brought before the top court by Himachal Pradesh-resident Tulsi Devi (56), who has challenged a high court verdict of last year dismissing her plea for grant of freedom fighter family pension on the ground that there was no provision made in the rules.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit, M M Shantanagoudar and Vineet Sharan, which has taken up the matter through video-conferencing, issued notice to the Centre and sought its response by July-end.
During the hearing, advocate Dushyant Parashar, appearing for Tulsi Devi, said the Himachal Pradesh High Court had committed serious illegality by not considering that petitioner being a divorced daughter was also dependent on Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension being given to her late mother after the death of her father.
He said that an identical case has come forward before the Punjab and Haryana High Court which in 2016 in a case of Khajani Devi held that freedom fighter pension scheme shall also be applicable to the divorced daughter and she shall be considered as eligible dependent at par with unmarried or widowed daughter.
Parashar said that the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2016 case held that Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme is intended to honour the valour of the uniformed people who laid down their lives or suffered for the cause of the country.