Grant Disability Pension to Soldier for Diabetes Mellitus TYPE – II also : Armed Forces Tribunal

Disability Pension for Diabetes MellitusThe Hon’ble Armed Forces Tribunal has directed to grant Disability Pension for Diabetes Mellitus Type – II to soldier of Indian Army. The brief of case are as follows: –

Brief of the Case: In this case applicant was enrolled in the Indian Army on 23.05.1993 and was discharged on 31.05.2021 in Low Medical Category on fulfilling the conditions of his enrolment under Rule 13 (3) Item I (i) (a) of the Army Rules, 1954. At the time of discharge from service, the Release Medical Board (RMB) held at Military Hospital, Jaipur on 25.02.2021 assessed his disability ‘TYPE – II DIABETES MELLITUS (ICD E-11)’ @ 20% for life and opined the disability to be neither attributable to nor aggravated (NANA) by service. The applicant’s claim for grant of disability pension was rejected vide letter dated 11.05.2021. It is in this perspective that the applicant has preferred the present Original Application.

Learned Counsel for the applicant pleaded that at the time of enrollment, the applicant was found mentally and physically fit for service in the Army and there is no note in the service documents that he was suffering from any disease at the time of enrollment in Army. The disease of the applicant was contacted during the service, hence it is attributable to and aggravated by Military Service. He pleaded that various Benches of Armed Forces Tribunal have granted disability pension in similar cases, as such the applicant be granted disability pension as well as arrears thereof, as applicant is also entitled to disability pension and its rounding off to 50%.

On the other hand, Ld. Counsel for the respondents contended that disability of the applicant @ 20% for life has been regarded as NANA by the RMB, hence applicant is not entitled to disability pension. He pleaded for dismissal of the Original Application.

The Law on the point of attributability of a disability has already been settled by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Dharamvir Singh Versus Union of India & Others, reported in (2013) 7 Supreme Court Cases 316 In this case the Apex Court took note of the provisions of the Pensions Regulations, Entitlement Rules and the General Rules of Guidance to Medical Officers to sum up the legal position emerging from the same in the following words.

“29.1. Disability pension to be granted to an individual who is invalided from service on account of a disability which is attributable to or aggravated by military service in non-battle casualty and is assessed at 20% or over. The question whether a disability is attributable to or aggravated by military service to be determined under the Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 1982 of Appendix II (Regulation 173).

 29.2. A member is to be presumed in sound physical and mental condition upon entering service if there is no note or record at the time of entrance. In the event of his subsequently being discharged from service on medical grounds any deterioration in his health is to be presumed due to service [Rule 5 read with Rule 14(b)].

 29.3. The onus of proof is not on the claimant (employee), the corollary is that onus of proof that the condition for non-entitlement is with the employer. A claimant has a right to derive benefit of any reasonable doubt and is entitled for pensionary benefit more liberally (Rule 9).

 29.4. If a disease is accepted to have been as having arisen in service, it must also be established that the conditions of military service determined or contributed to the onset of the disease and that the conditions were due to the circumstances of duty in military service [Rule 14(c)]. [pic] 29.5. If no note of any disability or disease was made at the time of individual’s acceptance for military service, a disease which has led to an individual’s discharge or death will be deemed to have arisen in service [Rule 14(b)].

 29.6. If medical opinion holds that the disease could not have been detected on medical examination prior to the acceptance for service and that disease will not be deemed to have arisen during service, the Medical Board is required to state the reasons [Rule 14(b)]; and 29.7. It is mandatory for the Medical Board to follow the guidelines laid down in Chapter II of the Guide to Medical Officers (Military Pensions), 2002 – “Entitlement: General Principles”, including Paras 7, 8 and 9 as referred to above (para 27).”

The law on the point of rounding off of disability pension is no more RES INTEGRA in view of Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment in the case of Union of India and Ors vs Ram Avtar & ors (Civil appeal No 418 of 2012 decided on 10th December 2014).

Original Application No. 512 of 2021 was allowed. The disability of the applicant was held as aggravated by Army Service. The applicant was declared entitle to get disability element @ 20% for life which would be rounded off to 50% for life from the next date of his discharge.

Reference: Sub Pawan Kumar Singh Vs Union of India & Ors.

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