Mysuru, May 12 – In what could be said as a goof- up committed by inefficient and callous defence authorities in the Record Section, who relied on a ‘dubious certificate’ issued by Thellur Village Panchayat in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, has resulted in an army widow being denied of the army pension.
City-based VeKare Ex-Servicemen Trust, which takes up the cause of retired soldiers, is grappling with this case in which Kalavathi, said to be the second wife of retired soldier late Naik T. Perumal, is fighting for the family pension after the death of Perumal.
Trust President Mandetira N. Subramani, who spoke to SOM, indicated that the ASC Records (South) in Bengaluru relied on an ‘elopement certificate’ issued by Thellur Village Panchayat in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, to show that the woman was missing and granted pension to her children based on the legal guardian certificate issued by the Court of the Principal District Judge, Vellore.
He said that Kalavathi, as per her own accounts, lived with Perumal (his first wife had passed away) and they had three children. But on learning that she belonged to the Scheduled Caste, her in-laws chased her out of the village in Tamil Nadu along with her three-month-old male child while keeping with them two other children for which Perumal was a mute witness. He died later on Feb. 27, 2004.
Three years later, Kalavathi learnt about her husband’s death. But she did not have the Army Discharge Book of her late husband to claim the family pension. However, she had the Army Personnel Number of Perumal which was enough to dig up the records and hence Subramani raised the issue with the army authorities.
After writing to the authorities, he received a reply on Apr. 27, 2015, and that was astounding. The Office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA), Allahabad, had sanctioned pension to Kalavathi’s eldest son.
It is suspected that the ASC Records Office was misled into believing that Kalavathi was not traceable and claimed family pension by producing legal guardianship certificate of her children.
Subramani said, “The ASC Office had to insist on a Police certificate that Kalavathi was not traceable after getting an FIR registered. But instead, they relied on a dubious ‘elopement certificate’ issued by a Village Panchayat, to deny Kalavathi her pension.”
He further pointed out that children cannot be granted pension when the wife of the army personnel is alive.
Speaking to SOM, Subramani said the Army Captain who signed the original letter dated Apr. 27, 2015 for and on behalf of the Officer in-Charge, ASC Records, has displayed a casual attitude by intimating in the last para of the letter as: “You are requested to advise Smt. Kalavathi to meet her son and resolve her problem amicably or otherwise she may approach the Court of Law for Justice.”
VeKare Ex-Servicemen Trust President further said that he would find a way to get the family pension sanctioned for Kalavathi by approaching the Chief of Army Staff in due course.
Courtesy: Star of Mysore