After years of legal battle ex-IAF man proves himself alive

Deciding two separate suits dating back to 1999 and 2002, in favour of Sital Singh Bagi, a sub-divisional court at Rajpura in Patiala has set aside the court order issued in 1996, wherein the septuagenarian ex-serviceman was declared "dead", and has now declared him alive.

Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division) Gopal Arora, in two separate judgements pronounced last week, the certified copies of which were made available here today, also ordered to restore the pension of Bagi and restored his ownership in over 71 kanal land, worth crores of rupees.

"Suits of the plaintiff succeeds and are hereby decreed with costs. Judgment and decree passed by same court on November 22, 1996, is hereby set aside and Sital Singh is declared alive and entitled to get pension from the Indian Air Force authorities.

Sital Singh is further declared as co-owner in the suit land and consequent mutation is also liable to be canceled," ordered Rajpura court, while restraining Bagi's wife, two sons and two daughters from alienating the suit property in any manner. It was Bagi's wife Nasib Kaur, who had got him declared "dead", on the basis of which she procured his pension and got the land ownership.

"I am elated over the development and grateful to the Almighty that I succeeded to get myself proved alive during my lifetime," said the ex-serviceman. He had been living in gurudwaras and temples ever since he had returned from Dhaka in Bangladesh in 1998.

Bagi retired from IAF on September 1, 1986, after serving for 26 years. After retirement, he settled in New Delhi but as he started receiving threats from terrorists, he started hiding in Punjab.

A gang of three armed terrorists in December 1987 threatened him and asked him to join their group which forced the ex-serviceman to leave his wife and two sons at his ancestral house in native Patiala village and go underground to escape the terrorists.

After being underground for some time, he came back to his native place in December 1998. His wife, however, refused to recognise him and so did his children.

Not only did they refuse to accept him alive, they also threatened him with dire consequences, if he again approached them. He then went to the IAF authorities for release of his pension, from where he came to know that his name was struck off from the pension rolls as "dead" and his wife was getting the family pension after she had produced a court decree, declaring him civilly dead.

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