Reconsider freedom fighter's pension plea, Bombay high court tells govt

Sunday, 16 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

In a partial relief to 86-year-old freedom fighter Kalidas Dhale, whose application seeking pension from the government was rejected on the grounds that he could not provide any proof that he had been involved in the Indian freedom struggle, the Bombay high court on Friday directed the authorities to reconsider his application and take a decision again within three months.

A division bench of justices SC Dharmadhikari and Ravindra Ghughe, while quashing and setting aside the rejection order passed by the authority in October 2010, said, "Sufficiency of evidence is a subjective matter and the claim of the petitioner needs to be looked into reasonably, practically and with circumspection. Insistence on unavailable documents may not be the correct approach. A claimant need not prove his claim on the test of 'beyond reasonable doubt' but, on the principles of probabilities."

In his petition, Dhale had claimed he was an underground freedom fighter who participated in the Hyderabad Mukti Sangram.

Dhale sought pension in 1995, but his application was rejected in 2005. He reapplied, only for the government to reject his plea again on the grounds that he didn't have proof he had actually participated in the loot of Karodgiri Naka and suffered injuries at the hands of the Razakars and the Nizam police.

However, after going through the orders and the arguments put forth by the applicant, the court noted, "We also find that documents pertaining to proof of torture, area of residence after leaving home, newspaper reports etc. have been demanded by the respondent authorities. The claim of the petitioner that he was an underground freedom fighter and therefore, such documents were not available deserves to be considered with circumspection."

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