'Give pension to freedom fighter's widow'

The Supreme Court has intervened for the widow of a freedom fighter from Amravati district, directing the Maharashtra government to provide her with the pension meant for those fought in the freedom movement.

Kamalbai Sinkar’s husband had participated in the “Satyagraha Morcha” (movement) on August 13, 1942, and suffered injuries in the “lathi charge.”

She continued to fight the legal battle her husband had initiated, but has only succeeded after his lifetime.

Taking consideration of her plight, an apex court bench of Justices T S Thakur and F M I Kalifulla told the Maharashtra government to grant her the pensions, besides all the arrears, within four weeks of receiving the court’s order.

“We hope and trust that the state government will not indulge in any further delay in the matter of grant of pension so as to enable the appellant to avail the benefits at least during her life time,” the court said.

In its judgment, the court said that there was no reason for the state government to reject the claim of Amrawati-based Sinkar’s husband, who had applied for the pension under the category of ‘Underground Freedom Fighter’ and also provided certificates for the treatment given to him between August 13 and August 15, 1942, following the injuries suffered during agitation.

The bench applied the broad principles laid down in the previous decision of the apex court in the case of “Gurdial Singh” in the grant of Freedom Fighters’ Pension, whereby it was stated, “The case of the claimants under this scheme is required to be determined on the basis of the probabilities and not on the touchstone of the test of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.” Sinkar’s husband had applied for the pension in 1995 by furnishing the relevant certificates through the office of collector.

The collector, however, said in 2009 that her husband’s claims were not accepted by the state government which had said that there was no concrete evidence to prove his participation in the freedom movement. “When we analyse the claim of the appellant’s husband, we find that he had filed along with his application dated 05.08.1995, a host of documents in support of his claim,” the bench said.

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