HC orders Centre to pay ex gratia to ex-serviceman

HC orders Centre to pay ex gratia to ex-serviceman

The High Court on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Defence to pay an ex gratia of Rs 7.5 lakh with 18 per cent interest to an ex-serviceman from Border Security Force (BSF) who lost his wife in a militant attack in Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir in 1999. 

A division bench comprising Justice K L Manjunath and Justice Ravi V Malimath passed the order on an appeal filed by the Union Government seeking to set aside the single bench order and asked it to pay ex gratia amount of Rs 7.5 lakh with interest. The bench also ordered that if ex gratia is not paid within the specified time of three months, the BSF authorities shall pay interest on the amount at 10 per cent from the date of claim till the date of payment. After the counsel for the Centre gave a cheque of Rs 79,111, the bench directed the Union Government to pay the remaining amount with 18 per cent interest in three months and disposed the case.

M Munirajappa, a resident of Yelahanka in Bangalore, had joined BSF as sepoy in 1985. In 1994, he was posted to the forward post at Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir. As there were family quarters for all ranks at the post, Munirajappa obtained a “married accommodation” and took his wife and two children to stay with him.

However, tragedy struck them at around 2 am on July 13, 1999, when armed militants entered the camp and fired indiscriminately. While the attack left Munirajappa disabled, his wife, who was at home, died during the firing and their children were injured.

Subsequently, Munirajappa claimed ex gratia but the BSF rejected it. When he challenged the same in a court in 2001, the court rejected the BSF’s claim and directed it to reconsider the matter. He renewed his representation the same year and sought Rs 7.5 lakh compensation.

But, BSF argued that only families of civilian employees killed after being kidnapped by militants, terrorist and extremists are entitled for ex gratia.