New Delhi, Nov 4 (SocialNews.XYZ) The Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on the Union Government for its "lackadaisical approach" and "failure" to provide the 'Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension' to a 96-year-old freedom fighter who actively participated in the country's struggle for independence.
Justice Subramonium Prasad expressed strong disapproval for the Central Government's "inaction", which he deemed an insult to the freedom fighter, Uttam Lal Singh.
Singh was declared a proclaimed offender, and his land could have been attached during the proceedings initiated by the then British Government.
The court directed the Union Government to release the pension to the freedom fighter within 12 weeks, along with interest at a rate of 6 per cent per annum from August 1, 1980, until the date of payment.
In his order, Justice Prasad stated: "For the lackadaisical approach of the Union of India, this Court deems it fit to impose costs of Rs.20,000/- on the Union of India. Let the Costs be paid to the Petitioner within 6 weeks from today."
The Bihar Government had recommended Singh's case, but the original documents sent by the state were reportedly lost by the Central Government. Last year, the Bihar Government once again verified Singh's documents.
The court observed that since the State of Bihar had already recommended Singh's name for the pension and the District Magistrate had verified his name the previous year, there was no reason why the freedom fighter was not granted the benefit earlier.
Justice Prasad expressed his dismay at the treatment meted out to freedom fighters and the insensitivity shown by the Union government towards those who had fought for the country's independence.
He noted that the very spirit of the Pension Scheme for freedom fighters was being defeated by the Union Government's approach.
The court said that a 96-year-old freedom fighter should not have to struggle to receive his rightful pension.