A 70-year-old widow, whose husband fought for the cause of merging Tamil areas with Tamil Nadu in 1956, has won a legal battle with the Madras High Court answering her petition seeking Tamil Scholar (Family) Pension (Ellai Poratta Pension) in her favour.

In his order on a writ petition, Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar directed the high-level committee to consider her claim and submit recommendation to the Tamil Development and Culture Department for sanction of pension at Rs.2,000 per month.

The court directed the department to pass orders accordingly within eight weeks. It also made clear that till the order is passed as directed by the court, payment of old age pension to the petitioner should continue.

Jail extract

Petitioner Janakiammal said her husband M. Chidambaram had participated in the agitation launched by M.P. Sivagnanam and others in 1956 for the merger of Tamil areas, Tiruttani in particular, with Tamil Nadu. Her husband was imprisoned in Central Prison, Chennai, from September 24 to October 1, 1956. She produced the jail extract to prove this. Chidambaram died in December 1990.

She submitted an application in March 2007 stating that persons who had taken part in the agitation and undergone imprisonment were getting Rs.4000 a month, apart from medical allowance. Widows of the participants were being paid Rs.2,000 per month as family pension. The Pallipattu tahsildar, in his report of December last year addressed to the Collector, stated that Chidambaram was imprisoned for less than 15 days. The petitioner was receiving old age pension since July 2008.

DRO's submission

The DRO, by his proceedings to the Collector, submitted that since the petitioner was receiving old pension, she was not entitled for Tamil Scholar (Family) Pension.

Counsel submitted that the petitioner need not be paid old age pension if Tamil Scholar Pension was sanctioned to her and the amount already paid could be adjusted against the arrears of scholar pension payable. The Judge recorded the submission.

Mr. Justice Paul Vasanthakumar said nowhere in the relevant law or rules was it stated that a minimum 15 days of imprisonment had to be proved for getting Tamil Scholar Pension. Even a person not having a jail certificate and who had obtained a co-prisoner's certificate from the person who had participated in a similar agitation was eligible for getting Tamil Scholar Pension as per an earlier decision of the High Court.