Shimla: Finding merit in a petition of a government school Chowkidhar for disability pension as he was crippled in an accident on duty, just 45 days after being employed, the Himachal Pradesh High Court directed the state arrears from 1993 onwards with 8 percent interest per annum.
Failing to secure any pensionary benefits from the state government, despite having moved the state administrative tribunal earlier, Devi Chand moved the High Court in 2012 citing extraordinary pension rules for becoming a cripple after a Metador vehicle hit him outside the school on a Sunday morning on 26th September 1993. He was appointed a Chowkidhar at Government Senior Secondary School, Sabhathu on 3rd August, 1993.
As a result of the accident, he was rendered paraplegic and become permanently disabled that a medical board adjudged was to the extent of 85 percent.
Having allowed special disability leave from 27.9.1993 to 26.9.1995 and the extraordinary leave from 27.9.1995 to 15.1.2000, Devi Chand was compulsorily retired on medical ground as his condition did not improve.
However, the state rejected his case for invalid pension as he had not completed 10 years of service even though he was totally confined to his bed and was being looked after his wife and family members for all basic needs.
Other than citing short duration (only 45 days of service) the state also argued that Devi Chand was hit before duty hours by a vehicle driven by one Hari Ram driver in a rash and negligent manner, in which the conductor of the vehicle died on the spot.
Justice Tarlok Chauhan after going through the records concluded the Devi Chand was on duty as recorded in the school attendance register of September 1993.
Since a chowkidar duties involved ‘to keep watch and ward during and after office hours’, and it being a Sunday when he was hit by a vehicle, the judge ruled the victim sustained injuries during the course of his duty.
Citing provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, the judge noted that once the petitioner is boarded out of service on account of disablement, the quantum of disability pension for cent percent disability has to be paid to him terms of Schedule II of the Ac.
After partly allowing the petition, the court directed the state to sanction disability pension under Extraordinary Pension Rules from 26.9.1993 with interest of 8% per annum on arrears of pension due to the victim.