Setting aside a Central government order, Delhi High Court noted that a widowed daughter is also entitled to dependent pension benefits when satisfying other conditions of the scheme.
As per the Central government order, a widowed or divorced daughter of a deceased freedom fighter was not eligible for dependent pension under its Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme.
Justice V Kameswar Rao was hearing a petition challenging an order dated February 12, 2020, filed by the widowed daughter of a deceased freedom fighter who passed away in November 2019. The daughter left behind was a widow, physically handicapped, mentally challenged, unemployed, and bedridden.
In February 2020, the Centre government sent the petitioner a communication about rejecting her request to avail of the pension benefits as revised policy guidelines did not consider a widowed/divorced daughter to be eligible.
Referring to a recent Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment, the court noted, “the daughters were not excluded altogether from the ambit of the scheme as an unmarried daughter was mentioned in the list of eligible dependents and thus it would be a travesty to exclude a divorced daughter who is a dependent.”
“The present writ petition is allowed. The impugned order dated February 12, 2020 is set aside. The respondents shall consider the case of the petitioner for grant of dependent pension under the Pension Scheme to the petitioner, if she satisfies the other conditions as contemplated under the Scheme,” the order said.
In another significant ruling last week, Delhi High Court noted, “Every child has the right to use their mother’s surname and the father does not have the right to force his decision on the matter.”