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Soldier Can’t Claim Disability Pension Based on Medical Examination Conducted Years After His Discharge: Supreme Court

[21 July 2022] The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, noted in order to be eligible for disability pension under Rule 14 of the Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 1982, it is not sufficient to demonstrate that the ailment or disability of a soldier had arisen in service. It ought to be also established that the conditions of military service determined or contributed to the onset of the disease and that the conditions were due to the circumstances of duty in military service.

While rejecting grant of benefit of Section 14(b) and 14(c) to the soldier (respondent) who was discharged not on medical, but administrative grounds, a Bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian noted that to establish the reason for disability or ailment reliance has to be placed on expert medical opinion based on an in depth study of the cause and nature of an ailment/disability including the symptoms; the conditions of service to which the soldier was exposed; and the connection between the cause/aggravation of the ailment/disability and the conditions and/or requirements of service.

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