30 yrs after Military officer’s dying, spouse awaits pension

Chandigarh, January 10

An aged and ailing widow of an Army officer has been waiting for the defence accounts department to release her pensionary benefits over 30 years after her husband died, despite court orders and directions by the Centre in her favour.

Kanta Katoch, wife of late Major KC Katoch, was refused special family pension after her husband’s death in 1989 while he was in service. Her petition for grant of pension was finally allowed in 2018 when the Armed Forces Tribunal finally directed the Central government to release the requisite pension.

The Government of India thereafter implemented the decision and directed the office of Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA) at Allahabad to issue the Pension Payment Order (PPO) and release the entitled amount.

The PPO was incorrectly sent to the Punjab National Bank in Ludhiana by the PCDA instead of the Defence Pension Disbursing Officer (DPDO) at Chandigarh, which was the designated pension disbursing authority for Kanta.

The bank refused to acknowledge the PPO receipt and it was only after a contempt petition was filed that the bank leapt into motion and coordinated with the PCDA to send the PPO to the DPDO at Chandigarh. The DPDO, despite receiving the PPO thereafter, did not release pension. — TNS

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