Shocked at the payment of just Rs. 80 a month as family pension to the wife of a deceased Army Major, the Supreme Court has issued notice to the Union government seeking its response on a petition filed by her seeking enhancement of the amount on a par with that is being paid to similarly placed persons.
A Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and T.S. Thakur issued notice after hearing counsel for Pushpa Vanti. When counsel Ramesh Haritas submitted that she was now 89 years and getting only Rs. 80 a month, Justice Katju said “today in the present rate of inflation, one can't get even arahar dhal for Rs. 80 a kg.”
The petitioner said her husband, Major Dharam Chand, who joined the Army in 1937, was granted permanent commission in 1948 and at the time of his death in 1967, he was a Major in rank. She was granted a family pension of Rs. 80 since then and she had written several letters and made several representations in vain to the authorities concerned to revise the pension.
The petitioner said her husband had served the Army for 30 years and received five war and peace medals for his distinguished service but yet she was getting a pension of only Rs. 80. She felt humiliated and ashamed that families of sepoys got more than Rs.150 a month as basic family pension whereas she was receiving only Rs. 80. Going by the present rate, she said she would have to get Rs. 27,000 as family pension, she said, and sought a direction in this regard.