HC seeks Delhi government’s reply on ex-serviceman’s martyr status

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the AAP government to file a response to PILs against its decision to declare ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide over implementation of the OROP scheme, a “martyr” and give his family Rs 1 crore financial aid.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, asked the Delhi government, which had earlier defended its decision, to file a response and posted the matter for March 21.

The Delhi cabinet had approved the government’s proposal to provide Rs 1 crore financial aid to Grewal’s family and decided to declare him a “martyr”.

But the Public Interest Litigations (PILs) said the Delhi government’s action will promote more suicides for the award of assistance to families and it cannot “glorify” the suicide.

One of the PILs filed by former central government employee Puran Chand Arya, through advocate Abhishek Chaudhary, said suicide is a “cowardly act” and it can “never deserve martyrdom/shaheed status”.

“Such acts amount to promotion of suicide in the society, which is a matter of national shame. The government is wasting public money for political gain.”

Another PIL filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik said granting martyr status to Grewal is “clear abuse, insult and disdain to the real martyrs who sacrifice their lives for the nation and for the good cause”.

The petitions also objected to the Delhi government’s decision to give a job to any one member of Grewal’s family, saying the decision is against public interest as it curtails and infringes upon the fundamental rights of the people, particularly the unemployed youth of Delhi who are waiting and trying for government employment on their own merit.

The Delhi government’s action would send a wrong signal to society that “committing suicide is an act of heroism and martyrdom”, and thus the same is required to be curbed, said Kaushik.

The pleas also sought direction to the government to frame a uniform recognition or compensation policy for martyrs so that all of them would be treated equally.