Patna High Court on Tuesday gave four weeks’ time to the Centre, the state and Bihar State Housing Board to file replies on a petition filed by the widow of a Shaurya Chakra awardee.
Acting on the petition by Tusia Devi, armyman Mahendra Kumar Sharma’s widow, the bench of Justice J.N. Singh sought explanatory replies on why the order to pay Rs 10 lakh ex gratia, a five-acre agricultural plot and a housing plot/flat as compensation was not complied with.
Sharma, posted as an army signalman in Goa, sacrificed his life during an attack by robbers on a state transport bus on which he was returning to his village, Kinjar, in Jehanabad (now Arwal district) on January 27, 1984. Sharma saved lives of 40 co-passengers, including 16 schoolchildren, fighting with robbers. A year later, Sharma was posthumously awarded Shaurya Chakra for his gallantry.
“For the past 29 years, the widow has been running from pillar to post for justice. We had no option but to approach the high court for getting justice and the court has sought explanations from the authorities concerned as to why the payment was not made to her,” Devi’s counsel Abhay Kumar Thakur told The Telegraph.
In the petition, Thakur submitted that the Bihar government, according its circular of 1972, was supposed to give five acres of agricultural land and 12.5 decimals of residential land/plot/flat to the family of an armyman who achieved martyrdom for his gallantry act. The army too announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh to Sharma’s family in 2007 and directed the army welfare directorate under the home department to make payment, the petition said.