In a recent case of Union of India v. Naginder Singh, the Supreme Court of India directed the Central Government to grant a disability pension to a soldier who was discharged on disciplinary grounds due to alcohol dependency. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Sudhanshu Dhulia said:
“We have to look at the human side of justice. This is a man who has served in the front.. We judges are also human. When we see coffins being carried you know..,”
The order was passed by while hearing a plea filed by the Central challenging an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal granting disability pension to the respondent, Naginder Singh who was discharged from service on disciplinary grounds, due to alcohol dependency.
On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, appearing for the Central government, argued that alcohol dependency is a serious disciplinary issue in the armed forces, and so the respondent is not entitled to any pension.
“Please try and carve an exception for him. Have to see and apply a broader perspective looking at his family,” the bench persisted.
The Court then adjourned the case while asking the ASG to get instructions.
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