His injuries turned into a bone infection and he became disabled.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra government to allot a plot of land to a retired army man, who said he had sustained severe injuries in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The court further asked the state to give him all other benefits under a Government Resolution (GR) meant for army personnel, who died or sustained severe injuries during war and who belong to the state. It also imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 upon the state government and directed that the amount should be paid to the petitioner, Hindurao Jagannath, within a month.
“It was unfortunate that a retired army man had been a victim of such apathy and that he had to run from pillar to post to ask for benefits that he was entitled to”, the court observed. A division bench of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Riyaz Chagla was hearing petition filed by Jagannath (68). According to the petition, he used to serve as a driver in the ‘216 Medium regiment’ when, during the 1971 India-Pakistan war, he received bullet injuries on his leg. Subsequently, his injuries turned into a bone infection and he became disabled, therefore Jagannath got discharged from the Army in 1975.
Thereafter Jagannath wrote several letters to the state and Union government seeking benefits under December 30,1971 GR but no one paid heed to him. In 2008, he wrote again to the Maharashtra Social Justice Department, which finally forwarded his letter to the Satara district collector’s office. But the collector’s office and the zilla sainik welfare officer rejected his request on the ground that there was no proof that his injuries got aggravated while still in service.
The district level authorities also claimed that the GR was meant only for those army personnel, who had received gallantry awards. Jagannath then approached the high court through his counsel Rajesh Panchal in 2015.
On Tuesday, the court observed that it was unfortunate and shocking that the state had shown such apathy to a former army personnel. The court also said Zila sainik welfare also misunderstood the GR.