A file photo of the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad. | Photo Credit:
‘Include officer’s wife name in records’
In a relief to a retired Indian Air Force official, who had married a foreign national without permission from the authorities, the Supreme Court has directed the IAF to extend all post retiral benefits to his wife and children.
A Bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and D.Y. Chandrachud directed the IAF to include the names of the wife and daughter of retired Squadron Leader Navtej Singh in the Service Certificate from the date of his retirement.
The top court’s order could entitle his wife and children to pension, in the event of his death. His family, including the spouse, would be entitled to benefits such as canteen facilities and membership of officers club and such other benefits.
Mr. Singh, after completing training from the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad, was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 1995. He was promoted to Squadron Leader in due course of time. In 2001, he was diagnosed with Dysthemia and Alcohol Dependence Syndrome and Primary Hypothyroidism and since then was put in low medical category.
He was invalidated out of service in November 2009 on medical grounds.
Later, the Armed Forces Tribunal had ruled that he was entitled to disability pension.
While in service, in October 2008, he sought permission to marry. His wife was then holding an Indian passport with a Canadian immigrant visa and working with Toronto Dominion Canadian Trust bank.
A serving officer is required to obtain permission before marrying a foreign national.
Mr. Singh, without waiting for the express permission got married in December 2008. The subsequent year, his wife relinquished her Canadian immigrant status. She left her job and joined Mr. Singh in India to look after him.
The authorities had argued that since the marriage was contracted by Mr. Singh without any permission, he was not entitled to take benefit of his marriage.
The Bench, however, noted that if an officer after his retirement can marry a foreign national and the spouse is entitled to all the benefits, “it does not stand to reason why the appellant [Mr. Singh], at least after his release from the Indian Air Force, should be disentitled in that behalf.”