HC raps State, Centre for insulting freedom fighter

The Circuit Bench has also directed the Centre to pay Rs 1 lakh as exemplary cost to the legal heirs of the petitioner who is no longer alive.

The late Laxman Siddappa Naik from Yaddalguda in Gokak taluk, Belgaum district  took part in the Freedom movement.

He was jailed by the then British government. After Independence, he was elected to the State Assembly for a term.

Considering his service as a freedom fighter, the Central Government sanctioned him a Freedom Fighter (FF) pension in 1972.

But it suspended the pension given to 49 freedom fighters, including Naik on the basis of an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report that these freedom fighters had produced false certificates to claim the pension in 1977.

Adding insult to the injury, the State Government, based on the IB report, had filed a criminal case against Naik.

Naik had approached the court challenging the actions of the Centre and the State Governments.

Criticism

Delivering the judgment, Justice D V Shylendra Kumar and Justice N Anand severely criticised the Central and the State governments for insulting and humiliating the freedom fighter on the basis of the IB report.

There could not be a better illustration of the careless manner in which the Central Government functioned than what was revealed in the facts and circumstances of this case, they observed.

“We can not find words to express our dismay at the huge indifference, insensitivity and irresponsibility exhibited by the Central and the State Governments in dealing with the freedom fighter,” they said.

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