The Supreme Court has lashed at the Union government for mistreating an Indian Army officer and denying him his due wages despite the officer suffering crippling injuries in an accident that he met while on duty.
‘We regret to say that the army officers and the army men in our country are being treated in a shabby manner by the government,’ a bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice A K. Patnaik said Wednesday.
The apex court rued the mistreatment to the army officers and men by the government while dismissing its appeal against a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that asked the government to grant pension to army officer C.S. Sidhu after taking into account his full period of service till June 1978, when he actually retired from service.
Sidhu joined the Indian Army on short service commission in June 1968 and met with a crippling accident in November 1970. The accident eventually led to amputation of his right arm, and he also suffered a compound fracture of his thigh and jaw bone.
As Sidhu met with the accident in 1970, the army while calculating his pension considered his working tenure only till November 1970 despite the fact that he was eventually released from service in 1978.
The army accordingly fixed a very low pension for Sidhu.
‘In this case, the respondent (Sidhu), who was posted at a high-altitude field area and met with an accident during discharge of his duties, was granted a meagre pension of around Rs.1,000. This is a pittance,’ said the bench.
‘If this is the manner in which army personnel are treated, it can only be said that it is extremely unfortunate. Army personnel are bravely defending the country even at the cost of their lives, and we feel that they should be treated in a better and more humane manner by the governmental authorities, particularly in respect of their emoluments, pension and other benefits,’ the bench said.