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SC: No disability pension in army if hurt off-duty


An army personnel cannot claim disability pension if he or she gets hurt in an accident while on leave because it has no link with the official discharge of duty, the Supreme Court has held. A bench of justices BS Chauhan and JS Khehar said that in such cases, courts should not interfere with the findings of the medical board about the cause of accident and eligibility of the personnel to claim the benefits.


 “A person claiming disability pension must be able to show a reasonable nexus between the act, omission or commission, resulting in an injury to the person, and the normal expected standard of duties and way of life expected from such person,” the bench said.


“As the military personnel sustained disability in a road accident when he was on an annual leave, and that too in his hometown, it could not be held that the injuries was attributable to or aggravated by military service. Such a person would not be entitled to disability pension,” the bench said in an order.


The apex court passed the order, upholding an appeal filed by the Centre challenging a judgment of the Punjab and Haryana high court, directing the government to pay disability pension to Talwinder Singh, who suffered eyesight impairment due to an accident sustained in his hometown while on leave.


“We are of the view that the opinion of the medical board must be given due weight, value and credence. Person claiming disability pension must establish that the injury suffered by him bears a causal connection with the military service,” the bench said.


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