South India

Kerala HC slams Govt for denying freedom fighter’s pension to daughter

Justice Devan Ramachandran said that the state's decision smacked of "archaic patriarchal notions" since it was based on the ground that two of her brothers were in a position to take care of her.

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has slammed the state government for denying the pension to the divorced daughter of a freedom fighter.

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Justice Devan Ramachandran said that the state’s decision smacked of “archaic patriarchal notions” since it was based on the ground that two of her brothers were in a position to take care of her.

“Merely because the petitioner has two brothers, an automatic assumption drawn that she would be taken care of by them for her life, can only be seen to be one solely on account of the aforesaid notions and nothing else,” the court said and asked the state to reconsider her claim.

The court made these observation while considering a petition moved by Neena, the daughter of late freedom fighter T. Achuthan.

She had challenged an order of the state government that had rejected her request for freedom fighter’s pension on the ground that two of her brothers are “well-to-do” and would “take care of her”.

The government pleader defended the state’s decision by arguing that the pension is meant only for those with no other support and that Neena’s brothers were financially well off.

However, the court said that the government’s hypothesis that Neena would be taken care of by her brothers and that she would have to depend on them forever, “can certainly not be countenanced by this court in this age and era.”

It further pointed out that that the criterion for the grant of pension was that the pension should be granted to only the “most deserving cases”, as per Rule 11A of the Kerala Freedom Fighters Pension Rules, 1971.

“This is a pure question of fact that will have to be assessed on the basis of all relevant aspects and not based on conjectures and surmises, solely on the basis that the petitioner has two brothers,” said the court.

Setting aside the government order denying Neena her father’s freedom fighter’s pension, the court directed the government to reconsider her claim after considering all facts and affording her an opportunity of being heard.

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