KOCHI: The Armed Forces Tribunal Regional Bench, Kochi, comprising Justice K Padmanabhan Nair and Lt General Thomas Mathew, on Wednesday severely criticised the attitude of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials who rejected an application filed by Lt Col V C Alexander.
The MoD officials had rejected the application seeking special family pension filed by Alexander, the father of the deceased soldier Lt Mathew Alexander.
The Tribunal observed that the officials concerned failed to apply their mind in the issue and awarded special family pension and other allied benefits to the family.
While travelling with another officer from his Commandant’s residence to the officer’s mess on a motorcycle, Lt Mathew Alexander had met with an accident and succumbed to severe head injury. The request of the deceased soldier’s father for granting family pension was rejected by the MoD on the ground that the fatal injury had no connection with the military service as the journey was presumed to be from the market where Mathew Alexander had planned to drop in for purchase, en route his journey from the Commandant’s residence.
While the Tribunal said there was nothing in the case file or in the findings of the Court of Inquiry to show that the deceased officer had plans to visit the market.
The Tribunal clarified that there was no regulation which said that a person, under Army Act, was not considered on duty if he had stopped at any shop on his way to or from a place of duty.
It further said that what was relevant was that the officer was returning after an appointment with his Commandant to his residence.