A series of goof-ups and a clerical error of changing a woman’s name from Kaveriamma to Kaveriammal has resulted in her being denied pension for the past 12 years. Kaveriamma (76), lives in a village in Kodagu.

She is facing trouble also because her late husband, Naib Subedar Ballachanda Nanjappa Aiyappa, mentioned his wife’s name as Rani, as he used to address her, in the family pension endorsement application instead of writing Kaveriamma.

M.N. Subramani, founder of Vekare Ex-Servicemen’s Trust (VKETis fighting Kaveriamma’s case.

He told The Hindu that Mr. Aiyappa enrolled in the Indian Army (EME) on August 19, 1940 and retired on February 16 1966. Later, he was re-employed in the Central Excise and Customs Department as a Lower Division Clerk for 12 years.

Before his death in 2000, Mr. Aiyappa wrote to the military authorities to rectify the mistake in the family pension endorsement application stating that Ms. Rani Aiyappa and Ms. Kaveriamma are one and the same, but it was ignored. Later, there was objection on the grounds that Mr. Aiyappa’s wife’s name in the EME Records office at Secunderabad was Kaveriammal and not Kaveriamma.

“Though the descriptive roll of Mr. Aiyappa mentions his wife’s name as Ms. Kaveriamma, it is not clear how it was changed to Ms. Kaveriammal and it can at best be attributed to clerical error”, said Mr. Subramani.

Mistakes galore

By virtue of having served in the army and then re-employed, Mr. Aiyappa was entitled for two pensions — one from the defence and another from the Central Excise. But as per the prevailing rule, the surviving family members are not entitled for family pension from the Central Excise. Mr. Aiyappa had erroneously opted for civil pension from the Central Excise for his wife in the event of his death. But in a communiqué dated September 23, 1986, the Central Excise had advised Mr. Aiyappa to approach the defence establishment for family pension.

Mr. Subramani argued that Mr. Ayiappa’s preference for civil pension for his wife was void ab initio as the army rules stipulate that in the event of re-employment of an ex-serviceman and his subsequent demise, it would be the wife’s choice to opt for the family pension either from the Army side or the civil side.

But an official in the Central Excise committed another blunder further complicating the case. The Central Excise had to issue a re-employment certificate to the defence establishment authenticating if Mr. Aiyappa’s wife was eligible for family pension or not. But copies of the documents obtained by Mr. Subramani indicate that the official concerned signed both the portions of the proforma instead of leaving one of them blank and certified that civil-family pension “has been/ will be sanctioned to Ms. Kaveriamma” and at the same time stating that “civil family pension has not been/will not be granted to Kaveriamma”.

Hence the EME Records office promptly rejected the defence pension for Ms. Kaveriamma as they assumed that the civil family pension has been granted. Consequent to the VKET taking up the issue afresh, the Central Excise, in its letter dated October 5, 2012, clarified yet again to the EME Records office that no family pension has been sanctioned to Mr. Aiyappa’s wife.

The latest development

But in the latest communiqué dated October 13, 2012, the EME Records Office suspects Mr. Aiyappa of bigamy and hence has written to Ms. Kaveriamma to inform them of Ms. Rani Aiyappa’s whereabouts or provide her death certificate suspecting that they are two different persons before they can process the pension application.

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