Ex-gunner Govinda Raju joined the Indian army in October of 1942. He was just 18 at the time. He served in the Royal Indian Army Artillery unit for nearly five years, during which time he earned several medals and decorations. Although he was still fit to serve, he was discharged in June 1947 due to an order to reduce the number of army personnel. Despite multiple representations, he received no pension benefits.
Now 90 years old, Raju is receiving ₹50,000 from the army as a one-time financial assistance, based on a recommendation from the Chennai bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).
The tribunal asked for Raju to receive that amount since he did not meet the requirements for the pension or other retirement benefits. The AFT said that Raju had served with distinction and deserved to be honored.
Raju’s records were destroyed by the army after 25 years, as per regulations. But his four years and seven months of service fall short of the fifteen years of service required to receive a pension. According to Raju’s counsel, he took up work with the railways after the war and receives a pension from them. His counsel argued that, since he was discharged due to a decision to reduce personnel, he was eligible for a special pension.
Justice S S Satheesachandran and General K Surendra Nath said that five years of service were required for the special pension. But, though he is ineligible for a special pension, Raju is eligible for a special gratuity. Since his records were destroyed, though, the army could not confirm that he deserved it, Times of India reported.
Raju is also not eligible for ₹6,000 war veterans lifetime assistance from the state since he received the pension from the railway. He is eligible to receive funds from the government/Army headquarter’s welfare funds. The bench said, “This will go a long way in ameliorating the financial situation of the war veteran.”