Compassion needed for families of slain security personnel: Court

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 20, 2013 15:00 hrs

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has observed that a "compassionate" view be taken while considering the needs of the families of security personnel who sacrifice their life for the nation.

The observation was made after a plea of a Border Security Force (BSF) trooper's widow, whose allotment of a residential flat in Delhi was cancelled, recently came up for hearing before the high court.

Justice V.K Jain directed the vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to reconsider the application of the martyr's widow Rita Singh, whose flat allotment was cancelled on the ground that she did not fall in the defence category.

In its order, the court said the authorities "should not lose sight of the fact that the officers and jawans of para-military forces such as the BSF are constantly engaged in the security of the nation at tremendous risk to their life.

"Therefore, attempt should be to give an interpretation which is compassionate, benevolent and large hearted and does not discourage the persons who are engaged in rendering such valuable services to the nation."

Disposing of the petition, the court directed the DDA to take an appropriate decision within four weeks.

Rita's husband Urgasen Singh was killed in a militant attack while his battalion was deployed on internal security duty "under the command of the Indian Army" in Jammu and Kashmir, the petitioner pleaded before the court.

In 2010, the DDA came out with a scheme for allotment of residential flats in Delhi. The DDA Housing Scheme, 2010, had reservation in the allotment for the "war widows" also.

The petitioner, claiming to be a war widow, applied for the allotment of a flat under the scheme, and an LIG flat at Vasant Kunj was allotted to her.

However, Rita's allotment was cancelled later. She was told that her case did not fall in the defence category.

After denied the allotment in the war widow category, she sought information from various authorities with respect to the definition of the expression "war widow".

The BSF also wrote to the DDA in 2012, clearly stating that the husband of the petitioner had sacrificed his life in a militant attack while deployed in the Kashmir Valley.

The BSF strongly recommended that the allotment be made to Rita as her husband had sacrificed his life for the nation.

However, the possession of the flat allotted to her was not given.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that "it is not only the open war at the border but also a proxy war being fought within our territory, which should qualify to be a war for the purpose of identifying the war widows".

"Delhi Development Authority did not define the expression 'war widow' in its Housing Scheme, 2010. The said expression has not been defined in any other statute or statutory Rule and regulation," the court observed.

It said the allotment made to Rita Singh should not be cancelled till an appropriate decision is taken by the DDA in terms of the court's order.

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