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AFT: Reinstate soldier, now fit, invalidated out 7 years back | Chandigarh News

CHANDIGARH: Seven years after a soldier was invalidated out of service due to low medical category, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has ordered the military authorities to reinstate him as he has been declared medically fit now. It has directed the Army authorities to reinstate him in the same rank in which he was invalidated out of service in 2014.
The AFT has made it clear that if a soldier released on medical grounds for a specific period is totally cured , he may be reinstated in the service. However, the tribunal made it clear that the soldier would not be entitled to any back wages for the period he remained out of service.
AFT’s Lucknow bench, comprising Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava, judicial member and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, administrative member, has passed these orders while allowing an application filed by an armoured corps former soldier Anuj Pratap Singh.
Army had rejected soldier’s reinstatement plea in May 2019
Applicant was enrolled in the Indian Army on September 28, 2012, and was invalided out of service on July 21, 2014, in terms of clause 13 (3), Item IV of Army Rules, 1954 in low medical category having rendered one year, nine months and 18 days of service. The applicant was initially placed in the low medical category. The medical authorities opined that “in view of the sequelae of tuberculosis in the form of residual structure changes and functional deficit in spirometry,” the individual will not make a fit soldier.
The Invaliding Medical Board (IMB) held at Military Hospital, Pune on June 24, 2014, assessed his disability “New Smear and Culture Positive Pulmonary Tuberculosis (now smear negative)” at 100% for two till June 2016 and opined the disability as attributable to military service. He was granted service element at 4,275 per month and disability amount of Rs 3,510 per month for two years. His disability was again assessed 100% for another two years till May 12, 2018.
Further re-assessment medical board of the applicant was held at military hospital on April 13, 2018, and his disability was assessed at “Nil for life” and the medical specialist opined that “No further Re-Assessment Medical Board required”6. Accordingly, the disability amount was discontinued from May 13, 2018.
Thereafter, the applicant submitted an appeal to the Army chief for reinstatement into service. However, the Army authorities on May 14, 2019, dismissed his plea, stating “there are no such provisions for reinstatement in the Army once discharged from service”.
The applicant approached the AFT contending that at the time of enrolment, he was found mentally and physically fit for service in the Army and there was no note in the service documents that he was suffering from any disease at the time of enrolment.
He claimed reinstatement citing regulation 143 of the Defence Service Regulations, 1987. The rule provides, “Exservicemen, medically boarded out without any disability pension or those whose disability pensions have been stopped because of their disability having been reassessed below 20% by the re-survey boards, will be eligible for re-enrolment, either in combatant or non-combatant (enrolled) capacity in the Army, provided they are remedically boarded and declared fit by the medical authorities.”
After hearing all the parties, the AFT has held that the plea of the military authorities that there is no such provision of reinstatement is not tenable.

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Dawn Punjab
Author: Dawn Punjab

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