30 years to Military officer’s dying, widow waits for pension regardless of courtroom, govt orders

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 10

Kanta Katoch, the wife of late Major KC Katoach, continues to wait for the defence account department to release her pensionary benefits even after 30 years of her husband’s death, despite the court orders in her favour.

Kanta was refused Special Family Pension when her husband died in 1989 while he was still in service.

Her petition for the grant of the pension was finally approved in 2018 when the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) directed the central government to release her 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 her the entitled amount.

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

The bank refused to acknowledge the receipt of the PPO. Only, after a contempt petition was filed, the bank lept into motion and co-ordinated with the PCDA to send the PPO to the DPDO at Chandigarh.

The DPDO—despite receiving the PPO—did not release the pension, and claimed that the PCA had sent a wrong photocopy of the same, and not the original.

After multiple visits by the widow’s family, the DPDO admitted receiving the PPO, but still did not release the pension.

When contacted, the counsel of the widow said, that this was another case of extreme harassment of pensioners by various authorities, and ever since the death of her husband in 1989, the lady has been making rounds of courts, banks, and offices, while the system remained unresponsive.

“In case the pension is not released by the end of this month, drastic measures by way of appropriate legal proceedings would have to be initiated by name against the concerned officers,” he added.

Legal experts said, that there are many instances where military pensioners, disabled soldiers, and widows, are not provided with their benefits even after court orders, and in several cases, the beneficiaries have died before the implementation of orders in their favour. 

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