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No pension to ‘freedom fighter’ who took part in Quit India Movement

FPJ Bureau | Updated on: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 02:07 AM IST

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HC REJECTS PLEA! Says petitioner couldn’t establish & prove his claim as a freedom fighter

Mumbai : In a major setback to a “nonagenarian” freedom fighter, the Bombay High Court recently turned down his plea seeking pension from the Union government.

A division bench of Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre heard a writ petition filed by Parcharam Ailani (98), who claimed to have “actively” participated in the Quit India Movement of 1942. He contended that the Maharashtra government had recognised him as a freedom fighter and had also issued an identity card to this effect.

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In his plea, Aliani claimed he was arrested in 1943 and was given death sentence for waging war against the then British government. He contended that his death penalty was commuted to lifer, however, he had escaped from the jail within two months and had been underground till India attained freedom in 1947.

According to Aliani, he was elected as the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Ulhasnagar constituency.

Aliani had sought pension from the Union government claiming to be entitled under the scheme which guaranteed pension for freedom fighters, who have spent atleast two months in jail. Even the Maharashtra government had forwarded his documents recommending his name for pension. He also sought pension on the ground that he had participated in the Goa Liberation Struggle, the movement which ousted the centuries-old Portuguese regime.

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To substantiate his claims, Aliani had submitted some orders passed by the then British government proclaiming him as an absconder, announcing an award on his head or for his arrest or ordering his detention. However, he failed to provide evidence in this regard.

Another piece of evidence he submitted was a certificate given by another man stating him to be a freedom fighter and supporting his claims.

The Union government had however rejected his pension plea since as per the procedure, a freedom fighter has to submit either a document substantiating his claims or an affidavit filed by any person who was imprisoned along with the claimant.

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Accordingly, the judges upheld the Union government’s decision to dismiss his plea since there was no reference made by the Maharashtra government submitting any evidence to substantiate his claims.

While dismissing his plea, Justice Dharmadhikari said, “We find that the petitioner (Aliani) could not establish and prove his claim as a freedom fighter. Any support of the Government of Maharashtra in the facts and circumstances of the present case is beyond comprehension. It is in these circumstances that the petitioner’s self-­certification or self-­assertion from the petition and the rejoinder affidavit does not carry his case any further.”

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Published on: Sunday, November 19, 2017, 12:19 AM IST