The Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench, has passed an order that will pave the way for several families of retired defence employees to get pension from both the army and the organisation that may have re-employed them after retirement or discharge.

Disposing of an application by Vasantha of Bodinayakanur, the Bench, comprising Justice V. Periya Karuppiah and Lt. Gen. Anand Mohan Verma said, “As per a notification of the Union government issued in 2001, she is entitled to pension both from the re-employed department and the army.”

Vasantha (61) is the widow of havildar S. Rajamani, who was enrolled in the army in 1963. Her husband was discharged from service in 1983 and received defence pension. After discharge, he was re-employed in Canara Bank as a clerk. He died in harness in 1997. Upon his death, she began receiving family pension from the bank. However, the army rejected her plea for defence pension too, citing the fact that she was getting family pension from the bank.

Vasantha submitted that she had three children and was finding it difficult to maintain her family with the bank’s pension as the lone source of income. She argued that she was entitled to receive family pension both from the bank and the army in accordance with existing policies of the Union government. She wanted the tribunal to ask the authorities to grant the benefit of dual pension, with interest.

Counsel for the army submitted that as per a government order of January 17 this year, the families of armed forces pensioners who get re-employment in Central civil departments or state government/public sector undertakings would be entitled to draw two family pensions. However, these provisions were applicable only to personnel discharged from service from September 24, 2012, and thus, the petitioner should not claim relief based on this provision.

Even while agreeing with his contention, the AFT said, “The provisions of the notification issued in 2001 also hold good. It clearly establishes that the applicant is eligible for double pension.”

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