Incensed at the denial of pension to a 100-year-old freedom fighter who died in November last year after waiting for his dues for almost four decades, the Uttarakhand high court (HC) on Thursday fined the state government Rs 3.5 lakh “for the inordinately long delay” and ordered that “the total pension amount since 1981 along with arrears be paid to the freedom fighter’s 94-yr-old widow within a month.”
The case pertained to Dehradun resident Sateshwar Sharma who took part in the independence struggle in the 1940s and was jailed for almost 40 days during the Quit India agitation of 1942. In 1981, he applied for a freedom fighter’s pension but his case remained buried in files. After he passed away last year still waiting for his pension, his widow Rajeshwari Sharma approached the Nainital HC for redressal.
“The documents which have been placed on record by the late husband of the petitioner showed that the late husband of the petitioner had fulfilled the conditions stipulated under the pension rules of 1975,” the court observed.
Adding that the freedom fighter had “deeply suffered at the hands of the state government and its officials,” the court said that “those who have given their all for the country in an hour of need should be honoured.”