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Military service – while in service, the claimant affected with mental disability and on his termination of his service, he is entitled for pensioner benefits = (i) Whether a member of Armed Forces can be presumed to have been in sound physical and mental condition upon entering service in absence of disabilities or disease noted or recorded at the time of entrance. (ii) Whether the appellant is entitled for disability pension. = whether a disability is attributable or aggravated by military service to be determined under “Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 1982″ of Appendix­II (Regulation 173).= (ii) A member is to be presumed in sound physical and mental condition upon entering service if there is no note or record at the time of entrance. In the event of his subsequently being discharged from service on medical grounds any deterioration in his health is to be presumed due to service. [Rule 5 r/w Rule 14(b)]. (iii) Onus of proof is not on the claimant (employee), the corollary is that onus of proof that the condition for non­entitlement is with the employer. A claimant has a right to derive benefit of any reasonable doubt and is entitled for pensionary benefit more liberally. (Rule 9). (v) If no note of any disability or disease was made at the time of individual’s acceptance for military service, a disease which has led to an individual’s discharge or death will be deemed to have arisen in service. [14(b)].= As per Rule 423(a) of General Rules for the purpose of determining a question whether the cause of a disability or death resulting from disease is or is not attributable to service, it is immaterial whether the cause giving rise to the disability or death occurred in an area declared to be a field service/active service area or under normal peace conditions. “Classification of diseases” have been prescribed at Chapter IV of Annexure I; under paragraph 4 post traumatic epilepsy and other mental changes resulting from head injuries have been shown as one of the diseases affected by training, marching, prolonged standing etc. Therefore, the presumption would be that the disability of the appellant bore a casual connection with the service conditions. In view of the finding as recorded above, we have no option but to set aside the impugned order passed by the Division Bench dated 31st July, 2009 in LPA No.26 of 2004 and uphold the decision of the learned Single Judge dated 20th May, 2004. The impugned order is set aside and accordingly the appeal is allowed. The respondents are directed to pay the appellant the benefit in terms of the order passed by the learned Single Judge in accordance with law within three months if not yet paid, else they shall be liable to pay interest as per order passed by the learned Single Judge. No costs.

published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgs1.aspx?filename=40493

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4949  OF 2013
(arising out of SLP(C)No. 6940 of 2010)
DHARAMVIR SINGH …. APPELLANT
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA & ORS.               ….RESPONDENTS
J U D G M E N T
SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, J.
Leave granted.
2. This appeal has been preferred by the appellant against
the   judgment   dated   31st  July,   2009   in   LPA   No.26   of   2004
passed by the Division Bench of the High Court of Himachanl
Pradesh,   Shimla   whereby   the   Division   Bench   allowed   the
appeal preferred by the Union of India and set aside the
judgment dated 20th  May, 2004 passed by the learned Single
Judge in Civil Writ Petition No.660 of 2004.
3. The questions involved in this case are:Page 2
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(i) Whether a member of Armed Forces can be presumed
to   have   been   in   sound   physical   and   mental   condition
upon   entering   service   in   absence   of   disabilities   or
disease noted or recorded at the time of entrance.
(ii) Whether   the   appellant   is   entitled   for   disability
pension.
4. The factual matrix of the case is as follows:
The   appellant   was   enrolled   as   Sepoy   in   the   Corps   of
Signals   of   the   Indian   Army   on   15th  June,   1985.   Having
rendered   about   9   years   of   service   in   Indian   Army   he   was
boarded out of the service with effect from Ist April, 1994
on the ground of 20% permanent disability as he was found
suffering   from   “Genrealised   seizure   (Epilepsy)”.     The
Medical  Board   of   Army   opined   that   the   “disability   is   not
related to military service”.   On the basis of disability
report, no disability pension was granted to him and when
the   appellant   preferred   representation   the   respondents
rejected such prayer by an order dated 12th  December, 1995
on the ground that the disability suffered by the appellant
was neither attributable to nor aggravated by the military
service. Page 3
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5. The   appellant   approached   the   High   Court   of   Himachal
Pradesh   in   Civil   Writ   Petition   No.660   of   2004   seeking   a
direction to respondents to grant disability pension with
effect   from   1st   April,   1994.   Learned   Single   Judge   by
judgment dated 20th  May, 2004 on observing that there was
nothing on record to show that the appellant was suffering
from any disease at the time of his initial recruitment in
the Indian Army held that the disease would be deemed to be
attributable   to   or   aggravated   by   the   Army   services.
Therefore,   in   terms   of   Regulation   173   of   Pension
Regulations   for   the   Army,   1961   the   appellant   is   eligible
for disability pension.   Learned Single Judge allowed the
writ   petition   and   directed   the   respondents   to   grant
disability   pension   to   the   appellant   as   per   rules   with
effect from the date he was invalidated out of service and
to   pay   the   entire   arrears   of   pension   within  three   months
else they shall be liable to pay interest on such arrears
at the rate of 9% per annum.
6. The   Union   of   India   challenged   the   decision   of   the
learned Single Judge before the Division Bench of the High
Court of Himachal Pradesh in LPA No.26 of 2004. On behalfPage 4
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of   the   Union   of   India   it   was   contended   that
disease“generalized   seizure”   was   constitutional   in   nature
and the same has not been found by the Re­Survey Medical
Board   attributable   or   aggravated   by   military   service.   It
was  also   contended   that  the  learned  Single   Judge   had   not
taken   into   consideration   the   relevant   law   while   allowing
the petition.   The Division Bench referring to a judgment
of   this   Court   in  Union   of   India   and   others   vs.   Keshar
Singh, (2007) 12 SCC 675, and Rule 7 as noticed in the said
judgment held as follows and set aside the order passed by
the learned Single Judge:
“The   respondent   was   discharged   from   the
military   after   being   placed   in   Low   Medical
Category (CEE). The Re­survey Medical Board
had opined the disability of the respondent
neither attributable nor aggravated military
service.   He   was   found   suffering   from
generalised   seizure’.   The   learned   Single
Judge has purportedly referred to paragraph
7(b)   of   Appendix­IIas   referred   to   in
Regulation  48, 173  and 185  while  coming to
the   conclusion   that   the   respondent   was   not
suffering   from   the   disease   on   account   of
which he was invalidated out of the service
at   the   time   of   his   initial   recruitment   in
the Indian Army. However, the learned Single
Judge has omitted to take note of paragraph
7(c)   of   Appendix­II   as   referred   to   in
Regulation   48,   173   and   185   of   the   Pension
Regulations for the Army, 1961(Part­I).Page 5
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The   legal   position   raised   in   this   Letters
Patent Appeal is no more res integra in view
of law laid down by their Lordships of the
Hon’ble   Supreme   Court   in   Union   of   India   &
Ors. Versus Keshar Singh, 2007 (4) SLR 100.
Their Lordships of the Hon’ble Supreme Court
were also seized of the matter wherein  the
Medical Board had given a clear opinion that
the illness was not attributable to military
service. In this case also  the soldier  has
developed   schizophrenia.   Their   Lordships   of
the   Hon’ble   Supreme   Court   have   held   as
under:
“In   support   of   the   appeal   learned
Additional   Solicitor   General   submitted
that both learned Single Judge and the
Division Bench have lost sight of para
7(c).   Both   7(b)   and   7(c)   have   to   be
read together. They read as follows:
“7(b)   A   disease   which   has   led   to   an
individual’s   discharge   or   death   will
ordinarily be deemed to have arisen in
service   if   no   note   of   it   was   made   at
the   time   of   service.   However,   if
medical opinion holds for reasons to be
stated, that the disease could not have
been   detected   on   medical   examination
prior   to   acceptance   for   service   the
disease   will   not   be   deemed   to   have
arisen during service.
7(c) If a disease is accepted as having
arisen   in   service.   It   must   also     be
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.”Page 6
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A   bare   reading   of   the   aforesaid   provision
makes it clear that ordinarily if a disease
has   led   to   the   discharge   of   individual   it
shall ordinarily be deemed to have arisen in
service   if   no   note   of   it   was   made   at   the
time of individual’s acceptance for military
service.   An   exception,   however,   is   carvd
out,   i.e.   if   medical   opinion   holds   for
reasons to be stated that the disease could
not   have   been   detected   by   Medical
Examination   Board   prior   to   acceptance   for
service, the disease would not be deemed to
have   arisen   during   service.   Similarly,
clause   (c)   of   Rule   7   makes   the   position
clear   that   if   a   disease   is   accepted   as
having   arisen   in   service   it   must   also     be
established   that   the   condition   of   military
service   determined   or   contributed   to   the
onset of the disease and that the conditions
are   due   to   the   circumstances   of   duty   in
military   service.   There   is   no   material
placed by the respondent in this regard.
In   view   of   the   legal   position   referred   to
above and the fact that the Medical Board’s
opinion was clearly to the  effect that  the
illness   suffered   by   the   respondent   was   not
attributable   to   the   military   service,   both
the   learned   Single   Judge   and   the   Division
Bench were not justified in their respective
conclusion.   The respondent is not entitled
to disability pension. However, on the facts
and   circumstances   of   the   case,   payment
already   made   to   the   respondent   by   way   of
disability   pension   shall   not   be   recovered
from him.  The appeal is allowed but in the
circumstances   without   any   order   as   to
costs.”
The disease developed by the petitioner i.e.
‘generalised   seizore’   is   constitutional   inPage 7
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nature   and   the   Re­survey   Medical   Board   had
specifically opined, as noticed above,  that
the disability was neither attributable nor
aggravated   by   the   military   service.   The
opinion   of   the   Re­survey   Medical   Board   has
to be given primacy.
Accordingly,   the   learned   Single   Judge   has
erred in  law by allowing the  writ petition
only   on   the   basis   of   plain   reading   of
paragraph 7(b) of Appendix­IIas referred to
in Regulation 48, 173 and 185 of the Pension
Regulation   for   the   Army,   1961   (Part­I).   He
has omitted to see clauses 7(c) of Appendix­
IIof   the   Pension   Regulations   for   the   Army,
1961 (Pat­I).
Consequently,   in   view   of   the   observation
made hereinabove, the Letters Patent Appeal
is   allowed.   The   judgment   of   learned   Single
Judge is set aside. No costs.”
7. Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   contended   that   the
Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 1982 have
been made effective w.e.f. Ist January, 1982 and the set of
rules is required to be read in conjunction with the Guide
to Medical Officers (Military Pension), 1980. Referring to
Rule 423(c) it was submitted that the cause of disability
or   death   resulting   from   a   disease   will   be   regarded   as
attributable   to   service   when   it   is   established   that   the
disease   arose   during   service   and   the   conditions   and
circumstances   of   duty   in   the   Armed   Forces   determined   andPage 8
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contributed to the onset of the disease.   A disease which
has   led   to   an   individual’s   discharge   or   death   will
ordinarily be deemed to have arisen in service if no note
of it was made at the time of individual’s acceptance for
service   in   the   Armed   Forces.   However,   if   medical   opinion
holds, for reasons to be stated that the disease could not
have   been   detected   on   medical   examination   prior   to
acceptance for service, the disease will not be deemed to
have arisen during service.
8. Reliance was placed on Rules 5,6,9 and 14 to show that
the   appellant   was   entitled   to   the   benefit   and   the
respondents ought to have given the same in consideration
of the said rules.   It was further contended that it will
be   for   the   service   authorities   to   make   all   practical
investigation to establish the alleged fact, calling upon
the claimant, if necessary to assist and to show that the
employee   was   suffering   from   disability   or   disease   at   the
time of appointment and such disease is not attributable to
or aggravated by service. Page 9
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9. Per contra, according to the respondents, the question
is   no   more   res   integra   having   settled   by   this   Court   in
Keshar Singh (supra).
10. Learned   counsel   appearing   on   behalf   of   the   Union   of
India submitted that in each case when disability pension
is sought for and claim is made it must be affirmatively
established as a matter of fact as to whether the disease
is   due   to   military   service   or   that   it   was   aggravated   by
military   service   which   contributed   to   invalidation   from
service. According to him, in the present case, the Medical
Board has clearly opined that the invalidating disease‘left
partial motor seizure with secondary generalisation’ is not
related   to   military   service.     The   Medical   Board   having
examined the appellant and having taken into consideration
all  evidence   before  it   once  submitted   its   opinion,   it   is
binding on the parties.  It was contended that the opinion
of the Board has been given by the medical experts approved
by   a   superior   Medical   Officer,   Brigadier.   Unless   the
primary   condition   in   Regulation   173   is   satisfied   the
appellant cannot derive advantage. He also placed reliance
on   Rules   6,8   14(c)   and   17   of   “Entitlement   Rules   forPage 10
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Casualty Pensionary Awards, 1982” and referred to decisions
of this Court to suggest that the appellant is not entitled
to disability pension in view of the opinion of the Medical
Board comprised of experts in the field.
11. In   the   impugned   judgment   dated   31st  July,   2009,   the
Division Bench of the High Court placed reliance on Rules
7(a),   7(b)   and   7(c)   which   was   noticed   by   this   Court   in
Keshar Singh (supra).  In    Keshar Singh(supra), a judgment
of the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court granting
disability   pension   was   challenged   before   this   Court.     In
the said matter paragraph 7(b) of Appendix­II referred to
in Regulations 48, 173 and 185 of the ‘Pension Regulations
for the Army, 1961′. In support of the appeal before this
Court   in  Keshar   Singh(supra)  learned   Additional   Solicitor
General contended that the Division Bench of the High Court
has lost sight of Para 7(c) and both the paragraphs 7(b)
and 7(c) have to be read together. The relevant portion of
the   judgment   of   this   Court   in  Keshar   Singh   (supra)  is
quoted hereunder:
“2.   Background   facts   giving   rise   to   the
present dispute is as follows:Page 11
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The respondent was enrolled as Rifleman
on   15.11.1976   and   was   discharged   from   Army
on   18.10.1986.   It   was   found   that   he   was
suffering from Schizophrenia and the Medical
Board’s report indicated his non­suitability
for   continuance   in   army.   Medical   Board
opined   that   the   disability   did   not   exist
before   entering   service   and   it   was   not
connected   with   service.   An   appeal   was
preferred   before   prescribed   appellate
authority which was dismissed on 16.4.1989.
Respondent   filed   a   writ   petition   which   was
allowed by learned Single Judge and as noted
above   by   the   impugned   judgment   the   special
appeal   was   dismissed.   Both   learned   Single
Judge   and   the   Division   Bench   held   that   it
was not mentioned at the time of entering to
army   service   that   the   respondent   suffered
from   Schizophrenia   and   therefore   it   was
attributable   to   army   service.   Both   learned
Single Judge and the Division Bench referred
to para 7(b) of the Appendix II referred to
in   Regulations   48,   173   and   185   of   the
Pension   Regulations,   1961   to   hold   that   if
any   disease   has   led   to   the   individuals
discharge   it   shall   be   ordinarily   deemed   to
have arisen in the service if no note of it
was   made   at   the   time   of   individual’s
acceptance   for   military   service.
Accordingly, it was held that the respondent
was entitled to disability pension.
3.   In   support   of   the   appeal   learned
Additional   Solicitor   General   submitted   that
both   learned   Single   Judge   and   the   Division
Bench   have   lost   sight   of   para   7(c).   Both
7(b) and 7(c) have to be read together. They
read as follows”
“7   (b)   A   disease   which   has   led   to   an
individual’s   discharge   or   death   will
ordinarily   be   deemed   to   have   arisen   in
service if no note of it was made at the
time   of   the   individual’s   acceptance   for
military   service.   However,   if   medical
opinion   holds   for   reasons   to   be   stated,
that   the   disease   could   not   have   been
detected   on   medical   examination   prior   toPage 12
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acceptance   for   service   the   disease   will
not   be   deemed   to   have   arisen   during
service.
7(c)   If   a   disease   is   accepted   as   having
arisen   in   service,   it   must   also   be
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.””
12. In   their   counter­affidavit   filed   by   the   respondents
before this Court in the present case, it is accepted that
old   Rules   7(a),   (b)   and   7(c)   of   the   erstwhile
Rules/Regulations   were   taken   into   consideration   by   this
Court in Keshar Singh (supra) which has  since been revised
by   Rule   14   of   revised   ‘Entitlement   Rules   for   Casualty
Pensionary Awards, 1982’. For the said reason, we are not
relying   on   or   referring   to   Rule   7(b)   and   7(c)   of   the
erstwhile Rules. According to the respondents, Rule 14(a),
14(b),   14(c)   and   14(d)   of   the   “Entitlement   Rules   for
Casualty Pensionary Awards to Armed Forces Personnel, 1982”
as   amended   vide   Government   of   India,   Ministry   of   Defence
letter No.1(1)/81/D(Pen­C) dated 20th June, 1996 needs to be
taken into consideration along with the other provisions of
Entitlement Rules, 1982. Page 13
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13. Per contra, according to the learned counsel for the
appellant,   the   “Entitlement   Rules   for   Casualty   Pensionary
Awards,   1982”   contained   in   Appendix­II   of   the   Pension
Regulations  for  the  Army,   1961   is   applicable   and   not   the
Rules   referred   to   and   quoted   in   the   counter­affidavit   by
the respondents.
14. There   being   difference   in   the   two   sets   of   the
Entitlement   Rules   for   Casualty   Pensionary   Awards   referred
to by the counsel for the respondents and the appellant, on
the direction of the Court photostat copy of the ‘Pension
Regulations for the Army, 1961(Part­I)’ along with Appendix
(ii),   (referred   to   in   Regulations   1948,   1973   and   1985),
‘Guide   to   Medical   Officers   (Military   Pensions)   2002’
published by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India,
New Delhi has been produced. We also called for the Pension
Regulations for the Army, 1961 from Library which contains
Appendix­II­   ‘Entitlement   Rules   for   Casualty   Pensionary
Awards,   1982’   for   our   perusal,   and   we   find   that   it   is
similar   to   the   photostat   copy   of   the   Pension   Regulations
for   the   Army,   1961(Part­I)   published   by   the   Ministry   of
Defence, Government of India, New Delhi. The respondents inPage 14
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their counter­affidavit has not made clear as to when the
Government   of   India,   Ministry   of   Defence   letter
No.1(1)/81/D(Pen­C)   dated   20th  June,   1996   was   notified   in
Gazette  amending   the   Rules   and   why   no   such   amendment   has
been shown in the published Entitlement Rules for Casualty
Pensionary   Awards,   1982.   In   their   counter­affidavit   they
have   not   mentioned   that   the   rules   extracted   in   their
counter­affidavit is true copy of its original.
15. For   the   said   reason,   we   will   rely   on   the   “Pension
Regulations   for   the   Army,   1961″   and   Appendix­II­
‘Entitlement   Rules   for   Casualty   Pensionary   Awards,   1982’
published by the Government of India, we will also discuss
the   Rules   14(a),   14(b),   14   (c)   and   14(d)   as   quoted   and
relied on by the respondents.
16. Regulation   173   of   Pension   Regulations   for   the   Army,
1961   relates   to   the   primary   conditions   for   the   grant   of
disability pension and reads as follows:
“Regulation   173.   Unless   otherwise
specifically   provided   a   disability   pension
consisting of service element and disability
element may be granted to an individual who
is invalidated out of service on account of
a   disability   which   is   attributable   to   orPage 15
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aggravated by military service in non­battle
casualty and is assessed 20 per cent or over
The   question   whether   a   disability   is
attributable   to   or   aggravated   by   military
service   shall   be   determined   under   the   rule
in Appendix II.”
17. From a bare perusal of the Regulation aforesaid, it is
clear   that   disability   pension   in   normal   course   is   to   be
granted   to   an   individual   (i)   who   is   invalidated   out   of
service on account of a disability which is attributable to
or aggravated by military service and (ii) who is assessed
at   20%   or   over   disability   unless   otherwise   it   is
specifically provided.
18. A   disability   is   ‘attributable   to   or   aggravated   by
military service’ to be determined under the “Entitlement
Rules   for   Casualty   Pensionary   Awards,   1982′,   as   shown   in
Appendix­II. Rule 5 relates to approach to the Entitlement
Rules   for   Casualty   Pensionary   Awards,   1982   based   on
presumption as shown hereunder:
“Rule5  .   The   approach   to   the
question  of entitlement to  casualty
pensionary  awards  and  evaluation  of
disabilities   shall   be   based   on   the
following presumptions:
PRIOR TO AND DURING SERVICEPage 16
16
(a)member  is presumed  to have  been in  sound
physical   and   mental   condition   upon   entering
except   as   to   physical   disabilities   noted   or
recorded at the time of entrance.
(b)In   the   event   of   his   subsequently   being
discharged   from   service   on   medical   grounds
any   deterioration   in   his   health   which   has
taken place is due to service.”
From Rule 5 we find that a general presumption is to be
drawn   that   a   member   is   presumed   to   have   been   in   sound
physical and mental condition upon entering service except
as to physical disabilities noted or recorded at the time
of   entrance.     If   a   person   is   discharged   from   service   on
medical ground for deterioration in his health it is to be
presumed   that   the   deterioration   in   the   health   has   taken
place due to service.
19. “Onus   of   proof”   is   not   on   claimant   as   apparent   from
Rule 9, which reads as follows:
“Rule 9. ONUS OF PROOF­ The claimant
shall   not   be   called   upon   to   prove
the   conditions   of   entitlements.
He/she   will   receive   the   benefit   of
any   reasonable   doubt.   This   benefit
will be given more liberally to the
claimants   in   field/afloat   service
cases.”Page 17
17
From   a   bare   perusal   of   Rule   9   it   is   clear   that   a
member,   who   is   declared   disabled   from   service,   is   not
required   to   prove   his   entitlement   of   pension   and   such
pensionary   benefits   to   be   given   more   liberally   to   the
claimants.
20. With   respect   to   disability   due   to   diseases   Rule   14
shall   be   applicable  which   as   per   the   Government  of   India
publication reads as follows:
“Rule   14.   DISEASE­  In   respect   of
diseases,   the   following   rule   will   be
observed:­
(a)Cases in which it is established
that  conditions of  Military Service
did   not   determine   or   contribute   to
the   onset   of   the   disease   but
influenced the subsequent courses of
the disease will fall for acceptance
on the basis of aggravation.
(b)A   disease   which   has   led   to   an
individual’s discharge or death will
ordinarily be deemed to have arisen
in   service,   if   no   note   of   it   was
made at the time of the individual’s
acceptance   for   military   service.
However,   if   medical   opinion   holds,
for   reasons   to   be   stated,   that   the
disease could not have been detected
on   medical   examination   prior   to
acceptance  for  service, the disease
will   not   be   deemed   to   have   arisen
during service.Page 18
18
(c)If   a   disease   is   accepted   as
having   arisen   in   service,   it   must
also   be   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.”
As per clause (b) of Rule 14 a disease which has led to
an   individual’s   discharge   or   death   will   ordinarily   be
deemed to have arisen in service, if no note of it was made
at   the   time   of   the   individual’s   acceptance   for   military
service.
As per clause(c) of Rule 14 if a disease is accepted as
having arisen in service, it must also be 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.
21. If   we   notice   Rule   14(a),   14(b),   14(c)   and   14(d)   as
quoted   by   the   respondents   in   their   counter­affidavit,   it
makes   no   much   difference   for   determination   of   issue.
According to the respondents, Rule 14(a), 14(b), 14(c) andPage 19
19
14(d)   as   amended   vide   Government   of   India,   Ministry   of
Defence   letter   No.1(1)/81/D(Pen­C)   dated   20th  June,   1996
reads as follows:
“Rule 14(a)­ For acceptance of a disease as
attributable   to   military   service,   the
following   two   conditions   must   be   satisfied
simultaneously:
(i)That the disease has arisen during the period
of military service, and
(ii)That   the   disease   has   been   caused   by   the
conditions of employment in military service.
Rule 14(b)­  If medical authority holds, for
reasons   to   be   stated,   that   the   disease
although   present   at   the   time   of   enrolment
could   not   have   been   detected   on   medical
examination prior to acceptance for service,
the   disease,   will   not   be   deemed   to   have
arisen  during service.  In case  where  it is
established   that   the   military   service   did
not   contribute   to   the   onset   or   adversely
affect   the   course   disease,   entitlement   for
casualty   pensionary   award   will   not   be
conceded   even   if   the   disease   has   arisen
during service.
Rule 14(c)­ Cases in which it is established
that conditions of military service did not
determine or contribute to the onset of the
disease   but,   influenced   the   subsequent
course   of   the   disease,   will   fall   for
acceptance on the basis of aggravation. Page 20
20
Rule   14(d)­  In   case   of   congenital,
hereditary,   degenerative   and   constitutional
diseases   which   are   detected   after   the
individual   has   joined   service,   entitlement
to disability pension shall not  be conceded
unless   it   is   clearly   established   that   the
course   of   such   disease   was   adversely
affected   due   to   factors   related   to
conditions of military services.”
22. As per Rule 14(a) we notice that for acceptance of a
disease as attributable to military service, conditions are
to be satisfied that the disease has been arisen during the
military   service,   and   caused   by   the   conditions   of
employment   in   military   service   which   is   similar   to   Rule
14(c) of the printed version as relied on by the appellant.
Rule   14(b)   cited   by   the   respondents   is   also   similar   to
published Rule 14.
Rule   14(c)   cited   by   the   respondents   relates   to   the
cases   in   which   it   is   established   that   conditions   of
military   service   did   not   determine   or   contribute   to   the
onset of the disease but, influenced the subsequent course
of the disease, will fall for acceptance on the basis of
aggravation.
Rule 14(d) cited by the respondents relates to diseases
which   are   detected   after   the   individual   has   joined   thePage 21
21
service, which entails disability pension but it is to be
established that the course of such disease was adversely
affected due to factors related to conditions of military
service.
23. If   the   amended   version   of   Rule   14   as   cited   by   the
respondents  is   accepted  to   be   the   Rule   applicable   in   the
present case, even then the onus of proof shall lie on the
employer­respondents   in   terms   of   Rule   9   and   not   the
claimant   and   in  case   of  any  reasonable   doubt   the   benefit
will go more liberally to the claimants.
24. The Rules to be followed by Medical Board in disposal
of   special   cases   have   been   shown   under   Chapter   VIII   of
the“General   Rules   of   Guide   to   Medical   Officers   (Military
Pensions) 2002. Rule 423 deals with “Attributability     to
service” relevant of which reads as follows:
“423(a)For   the   purpose   of   determining
whether the cause of  a  disability or death
resulting   from   disease   is   or   is   not
attributable   to   service,   it   is   immaterial
whether   the   cause   giving   rise   to   the
disability   or   death   occurred   in   an   area
declared to be a FieldService/Active Service
area or under normal peace conditions. It is
however, essential to establish whether the
disability or death bore a casual connection
with   the   service   conditions.   All   evidencePage 22
22
both direct and circumstantial will be taken
into   account   and   benefit   of   reasonable
doubt,   if   any,   will   be   given   to   the
individual.   The   evidence   to   be   accepted   as
reasonable   doubt   for   the   purpose   of   these
instructions   should   be   of   a   degree   of
cogency,   which   though   not   reaching
certainty,   nevertheless   carries   a   high
degree   of   probability.   In   this   connection,
it   will   be   remembered   that   proof   beyond
reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond
a   shadow   of   doubt.   If   the   evidence   is   so
strong   against   an   individual   as   to   leave
only a remote possibility in his/her favour,
which   can   be   dismissed   with   the   sentence
“of   course   it   is   possible   but   not   in   the
least   probable”   the   case   is   proved   beyond
reasonable doubt. If on the other hand, the
evidence be so evenly balanced as to render
impracticable   a   determinate   conclusion   one
way or the other, then the case would be one
in which the benefit of the doubt could be
given   more   liberally   to   the   individual,   in
cases   occurring   in   Field   Service/Active
Service areas.
(c).  The   cause   of   a   disability   or   death
resulting from a disease will be regarded as
attributable   to   Service   when   it   is
established   that   the   disease   arose   during
Service and the conditions and circumstances
of  duty in  the Armed Forces determined  and
contributed   to   the   onset   of   the   disease.
Cases,   in   which   it   is   established   that
Service   conditions   did   not   determine   or
contribute  to the onset of  the disease  but
influenced   the   subsequent   course   of   the
disease,   will   be   regarded   as   aggravated   by
the service. A disease which has led to an
individual’s   discharge   or   death   will
ordinarily   be   deemed   to   have   arisen   in
Service   if   no   note   of   it   was   made   at   the
time   of   the   individual’s   acceptance   for
Service   in   the   Armed   Forces.   However,   if
medical   opinion   holds,   for   reasons   tobe
stated that the disease could not have beenPage 23
23
detected   on   medical   examination   prior   to
acceptance for service, the disease will not
be deemed to have arisen during service.
(d).The   question,   whether   a   disability   or
death resulting from disease is attributable
to or aggravated by service or not, will be
decided as regards its medical aspects by a
Medical Board or by the medical officer who
signs   the   Death   Certificate.   The   Medical
Board/Medical   Officer   will   specify   reasons
for   their/his   opinion.   The   opinion   of   the
Medical Board/Medical Officers,in so far as
it   relates   to   the   actual   cause   of   the
disability or death and the circumstances in
which   it   originated   will   be   regarded   as
final.   The   question   whether   the   cause   and
the attendant circumstances can be accepted
as attributable to/aggravated by service for
the   purpose   of   pensionary   benefits   will,
however,   be   decided   by   the   pension
sanctioning authority.”
25. Therefore, as per Rule 423 following procedures to be
followed by the Medical Board:
(i) Evidence both direct and circumstantial to be taken
into   account   by   the   Board   and   benefit   of   reasonable
doubt, if any would go to the individual;
(ii)   a   disease   which   has   led   to   an   individual’s
discharge or death will ordinarily be  treated to have
been arisen in service, if no note of it was made at
the   time   of   individual’s   acceptance   for   service   in
Armed Forces. Page 24
24
(iii)   If   the   medical   opinion   holds   that   the   disease
could   not   have   been   detected   on   medical   examination
prior to acceptance for service and the disease will
not   be   deemed   to   have   been   arisen   during   military
service the Board is required to state the reason for
the same.
26. ‘Chapter II’of the Guide to Medical Officers (Military
Pensions)   2002   relates   to   “Entitlement   :   General
Principles”.  In the opening paragraph 1, it is made clear
that the Medical Board should examine cases in the light of
the   etiology   of   the   particular   disease   and   after
considering all the relevant particulars of a case, record
their conclusions with reasons in support, in clear terms
and in a language which the Pension Sanctioning Authority
would   be   able   to   appreciate   fully   in   determining   the
question   of   entitlement   according   to   the   rules.   Medical
officers   should   comment   on   the   evidence   both   for   and
against   the   concession   of   entitlement;   the   aforesaid
paragraph reads as follows:
“1. Although the certificate of a properly
constituted   medical   authority   vis­a­vis   the
invaliding   disability,   or   death,   forms   the
basis   of   compensation   payable   by   thePage 25
25
government, the decision to admit or refuse
entitlement is not solely a matter which can
be   determined   finally   by   the   medical
authorities   alone.   It   may   require   also   the
consideration   of   other   circumstances   e.g.
service   conditions,   pre­and   post­service
history,   verification   of   wound   or   injury,
corroboration   of   statements,   collecting   and
weighing the value of evidence, and in some
instances,   matters   of   military   law   and
discipline.   Accordingly,   Medical   Boards
should   examine   cases   in   the   light   of   the
etiology of the particular disease and after
considering all the relevant particulars of
a   case,   record   their   conclusions   with
reasons in support, in clear terms and in a
language   which   the   Pension   Sanctioning
Authority,   a   lay   body,   would   be   able   to
appreciate fully in determining the question
of   entitlement   according   to   the   rules.   In
expressing   their   opinion   Medical   Officers
should comment on the evidence both for and
against   the   concession   of   entitlement.   In
this connection,  it is as well to remember
that a bare medical opinion without reasons
in   support   will   be   of   no   value   to   the
Pension Sanctioning Authority.”
Paragraph 6 suggests the procedure to be followed by
service authorities if there is no note, or adequate note,
in the service records on which the claim is based.
Paragraph 7 talks of evidentiary value attached to the
record   of   a   member’s   condition   at   the   commencement   of
service,   .e.g.   pre­enrolment   history   of   an   injury,   or
disease   like   epilepsy,   mental   disorder   etc.   Further,Page 26
26
guidelines have been laid down at paragraphs 8 and 9, as
quoted below:
7. Evidentiary   value   is   attached   to   the
record   of   a   member’s   condition   at   the
commencement   of   service,   and   such   record
has,   therefore,   to   be   accepted   unless   any
different conclusion has been reached due to
the inaccuracy of the record in a particular
case   or   otherwise.   Accordingly,   if   the
disease leading to member’s invalidation out
of   service   or   death   while   in   service,   was
not   noted   in   a   medical   report   at   the
commencement of service, the inference would
be that the disease arose during the period
of member’s military service. It may be that
the inaccuracy or incompleteness of service
record on entry in service was due to a non­
disclosure   of   the   essential   facts   by   the
member,   e.g.,   pre­enrolment   history   of   an
injury   or   disease   like   epilepsy,   mental
disorder etc. It may also be that owing to
latency   or   obscurity   of   the   symptoms,   a
disability   escaped   detection   on   enrolment.
Such   lack   of   recognition   may   affect   the
medical   categorization   of   the   member   on
enrolment and/or cause him to perform duties
harmful   to   his   condition.   Again,   there   may
occasionally   be   direct   evidence   of   the
contraction of a disability, otherwise than
by   service.   In   all   such   cases,   though   the
disease   cannot   be   considered   to   have   been
caused   by   service,   the   question   of
aggravation by subsequent service conditions
will need examination.
The following are some of the diseases
which   ordinarily   escape   detection   on
enrolment:­
(a)Certain   congenital   abnormalities
which are latent and only discoverable
on full investigations, e.g. CONGENITAL
DEFECT   OF   SPINE,   SPINA   BIFIDA,
SACRALIZATION,Page 27
27
(b)Certain   familial   and   hereditary
diseases, e.g., HAEMOPHILIA, CONGENTIAL
SYPHILIS, HAEMOGIOBINOPATHY.
(C)Certain   diseases   of   the   heart   and
blood   vessels,   e.g.,   CORONORY
ATHEROSCLEROSIS, RHEUMATIC FEVER.
(d)Diseases   which   may   be   undetectable
by   physical   examination   on   enrolment,
unless adequate history is given at the
time   by   the   member,   e.g.,   GASTRIC   AND
DUODENAL   ULCERS,   EPILEPSY,   MENTAL
DISORDERS, HIV INFECTIONS.
(e) Relapsing forms of mental disorders
which have intervals of normality.
(f)   Diseases   which   have   periodic
attacks   e.g.,   BRONCHIAL   ASTHMA,
EPILEPSY, CSOM ETC.
8. The   question   whether   the   invalidation
or   death   of   a   member   has   resulted   from
service conditions, has to be judged in the
light   of   the   record   of   the   member’s
condition   on   enrolment   as   noted   in   service
documents   and   of   all   other   available
evidence both direct and indirect.
In addition to any documentary evidence
relative   to   the   member’s   condition   to
entering the service and during service, the
member must carefully and closely questioned
on the circumstances which led to the advent
of   his   disease,   the   duration,   the   family
history,   his   pre­service   history,   etc.   so
that all evidence in support or against the
claim   is   elucidated.   Presidents   of   Medical
Boards   should   make   this   their   personal
responsibility   and   ensure   that   opinions   on
attributability,   aggravation   or   otherwise
are   supported   by   cogent   reasons;   the
approving authority should also be satisfied
that   this   question   has   been   death   with   in
such a way as to leave no reasonable doubt.Page 28
28
9. On the question whether any persisting
deterioration   has   occurred,   it   is   to   be
remembered   that   invalidation   from   service
does not necessarily imply that the member’s
health has deteriorated during service. The
disability   may   have   been   discovered   soon
after   joining   and   the   member   discharged   in
his   own   interest   in   order   to   prevent
deterioration. In such cases, there may even
have   been   a   temporary   worsening   during
service,   but   if   the   treatment   given   before
discharge   was   on   grounds   of   expediency   to
prevent a recurrence, no lasting damage was
inflicted by  service and  there  would  be no
ground   for   admitting   entitlement.   Again   a
member may have been invalided from service
because he is found so weak mentally that it
is   impossible   to   make   him   an   efficient
soldier.   This   would   not   mean   that   his
condition   has   worsened   during   service,   but
only that it is worse than was realized on
enrolment in the army.   To sum up, in each
case   the   question   whether   any   persisting
deterioration   on   the   available   evidence
which will vary according to the type of the
disability, the consensus of medical opinion
relating to the particular condition and the
clinical history.”
27. Learned   counsel   for   the   respondent­Union   of   India
relied on decisions of this Court in  Om Prakash Singh vs.
Union of  India  and others,(2010) 12 SCC 667;(2009) 9 SCC
140; (2010) 11 SCC 220, etc.  and submitted that this Court
has already considered the effect of Rule 5, 14a and 14(a)
and   14(b)   and   held   that   the   same   cannot   be   read   in
isolation. After perusal of the aforesaid decision we findPage 29
29
that   Rule   14(a),   14(b)   and   14(c)   as   noticed   and   quoted
therein   are   similar   to   Rule   14   as   published   by   the
Government   of   India   and   not   Rule   14   as   quoted   by   the
respondents   in   their   counter­affidavit.   Further,   we   find
that   the   question   as   raised   in   the   present   case   that   in
case no note of disease or disability was made at the time
of   individual’s   acceptance   for   military   service,   the
Medical  Board   is   required   to   give   reasons   in   writing   for
coming to the finding that the disease could not have been
detected on a medical examination prior to the acceptance
for service was neither raised nor answered by this Court
in those cases. Those were the cases which were decided on
the facts of the individual case based on the opinion of
the Medical Board.
28. A   conjoint   reading   of   various   provisions,   reproduced
above, makes it clear that:
(i) Disability pension to be granted to an individual
who   is   invalidated   from   service   on   account   of   a
disability   which   is   attributable   to   or   aggravated   by
military service in non­battle casualty and is assessedPage 30
30
at 20% or over. The question whether a disability is
attributable   or   aggravated   by   military   service   to   be
determined   under   “Entitlement   Rules   for   Casualty
Pensionary   Awards,   1982″   of   Appendix­II   (Regulation
173).
(ii) A member is to be presumed in sound physical and
mental condition upon entering service if there is no
note or record at the time of entrance. In the event of
his   subsequently   being   discharged   from   service   on
medical grounds any deterioration in his health is to
be presumed due to service. [Rule 5 r/w Rule 14(b)].
(iii) Onus   of   proof   is   not   on   the   claimant
(employee), the corollary is that onus of proof that
the condition for non­entitlement is with the employer.
A   claimant   has   a   right   to   derive   benefit   of   any
reasonable doubt and is entitled for pensionary benefit
more liberally. (Rule 9).
(iv) If a disease is accepted to have been as having
arisen in service, it must also be established that the
conditions   of   military   service   determined   or
contributed to the onset of the disease and that thePage 31
31
conditions   were   due   to   the   circumstances   of   duty   in
military service. [Rule 14(c)].
(v)  If no note of any disability or disease was made
at   the   time   of   individual’s   acceptance   for   military
service,   a   disease   which   has   led   to   an   individual’s
discharge   or   death   will   be   deemed   to   have   arisen   in
service. [14(b)].
(vi)   If medical opinion holds that the disease could
not have been detected on medical examination prior to
the acceptance for service and that disease will not be
deemed to have arisen during service, the Medical Board
is required to state the reasons. [14(b)]; and
(vii) It   is   mandatory   for   the   Medical   Board   to
follow the guidelines laid down in Chapter­II of the
“Guide   to   Medical   (Military   Pension),   2002   –
“Entitledment   :   General   Principles”,   including
paragraph 7,8 and 9 as referred to above.
29. We,   accordingly,   answer   both   the   questions   in
affirmative   in   favour   of   the   appellant   and   against   the
respondents.Page 32
32
30. In the present case it is undisputed that no note of
any  disease  has  been   recorded   at   the   time   of   appellant’s
acceptance   for   military   service.   The   respondents   have
failed to bring on record any document to suggest that the
appellant   was   under   treatment   for   such   a   disease   or   by
hereditary he is suffering from such disease. In absence of
any note in the service record at the time of acceptance of
joining of appellant it was incumbent on the part of the
Medical Board to call for records and look into the same
before coming to an opinion that the disease could not have
been   detected   on   medical   examination   prior   to   the
acceptance   for   military   service,   but   nothing   is   on   the
record to suggest that any such record was called for by
the   Medical   Board   or   looked   into   it   and   no   reasons   have
been recorded in writing to come to the conclusion that the
disability is not due to military service.   In fact, non­
application   of   mind   of   Medical   Board   is   apparent   from
Clause   (d)   of   paragraph   2   of   the   opinion   of   the   Medical
Board, which is as follows:
____________________________________________________Page 33
33
“  (d) In the case of a disability under C
the board should state
what exactly in their opinion is the
cause thereof.  YES
Disability is not related to
mil service”
________________________________________________
________
31. Paragraph 1 of ‘Chapter II’ – “Entitlement : General
Principles”   specifically   stipulates   that   certificate   of   a
constituted   medical   authority   vis­à­vis   invalidating
disability,   or   death,   forms   the   basis   of   compensation
payable by the Government, the decision to admit or refuse
entitlement is not solely a matter which can be determined
finally   by   the   medical   authorities   alone.   It   may   require
also the consideration of other circumstances e.g. service
conditions,   pre­and   post­service   history,   verification   of
wound   or   injury,   corroboration   of   statements,   collecting
and weighing the value of evidence, and in some instances,
matters of military law and dispute. For the said reasons
the Medical Board was required to examine the cases in the
light   of   etiology   of   the   particular   disease   and   after
considering all the relevant particulars of a case, it was
required to record its conclusion with reasons in support,Page 34
34
in clear terms and language which the Pension Sanctioning
Authority would be able to appreciate.
32. In   spite   of   the   aforesaid   provisions,   the   Pension
Sanctioning   Authority   failed   to   notice   that   the   Medical
Board had not given any reason in support of its opinion,
particularly   when   there   is   no   note   of   such   disease   or
disability available in the service record of the appellant
at   the   time   of   acceptance   for   military   service.   Without
going through the aforesaid facts the Pension Sanctioning
Authority   mechanically   passed   the   impugned   order   of
rejection based on the report of the Medical Board. As per
Rules 5 and 9 of ‘Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary
Awards,   1982’,   the   appellant   is   entitled   for   presumption
and benefit of presumption in his favour.   In absence of
any   evidence   on   record   to   show   that   the   appellant   was
suffering from “Genrealised seizure (Epilepsy)” at the time
of acceptance of his service, it will be presumed that the
appellant was in sound physical and mental condition at the
time   of   entering   the   service   and   deterioration   in   his
health has taken place due to service. Page 35
35
33. As per Rule 423(a) of General Rules for the purpose of
determining a question whether the cause of a disability or
death resulting from disease is or is not attributable to
service, it is immaterial whether the cause giving rise to
the disability or death occurred in an area declared to be
a field service/active service area or under normal peace
conditions.     “Classification       of   diseases”   have   been
prescribed at Chapter IV of Annexure I; under paragraph 4
post traumatic epilepsy and other mental changes resulting
from head injuries have been shown as one of the diseases
affected   by   training,   marching,   prolonged   standing   etc.
Therefore, the presumption would be that the disability of
the   appellant   bore   a   casual   connection   with   the   service
conditions.
34. In view of the finding as recorded above, we have no
option but to set aside the impugned order passed by the
Division Bench dated 31st  July, 2009 in LPA No.26 of 2004
and uphold the decision of the learned Single Judge dated
20th  May,   2004.   The   impugned   order   is   set   aside   and
accordingly   the   appeal   is   allowed.   The   respondents   are
directed to pay the appellant the benefit in terms of thePage 36
36
order passed by the learned Single Judge in accordance with
law within three months if not yet paid, else they shall be
liable to pay interest as per order passed by the learned
Single Judge. No costs.
……….………………………………………………..J.
(A.K. PATNAIK)
………..…………………………………………….J.
(SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)
NEW DELHI,
JULY 2, 2013.

 

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