January,3,2016: The Gujarat high court has ordered the state government to pay family pension to Ranomal Adepal’s kin taking his 13-year government service (1959-1972) in Pakistan into account as well.
Adepal had worked as clerk in the office of superintendent of police in Tharparkar district of Sindh before he arrived in India a year after the 1971 war.
He found refuge at Tharad in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district and served as a junior clerk in the home guards here from 1988 after getting Indian citizenship 10 years earlier.
Adepal retired in 1994 and requested the state government to give him pension taking into account his length of service in Pakistan. But Adepal’s request was turned down.
In 1997, Adepal moved the high court against the state government’s decision but died during pendency of the case.
After 18 years of litigation, Adepal’s relatives have finally won. A bench of Justices S R Brahmbhatt and K J Thaker ordered the state government to start paying retirement benefits within three months after taking into account Adepal’s service in Pakistan as well.
Adepal had sought pension from the Gujarat government on the basis of a 1967 order giving all retirement benefits to those who had migrated to India after Partition.
The Gujarat government extended the benefits in 1984 through a circular in the education department to some teachers, who had taken refuge in Gujarat after the 1971 war. Even the high court had upheld the move.
Earlier, a single-judge high court bench was not convinced that Adepal should be given retirement benefits for services rendered in another country.
But since the earlier order was contrary to the judge’s view, she referred the case to a division bench.
The division bench too was of the opinion that heirs of a person, who had migrated to India after the 1971 India-Pakistan war, cannot be given retirement benefits.
But since the earlier order had remained unchallenged and the pension policy was not declared to be against constitutional provisions, the scheme meant for the welfare of refugees remained valid.