When the claim for disability pension be granted to a Militaryman? the claim of disability pension is required to be dealt with accordingly:- “(a) The mere fact of a person being on ‘duty’ or otherwise, at the place of posting or on leave, is not the sole criteria for deciding attributability of disability/death. There has to be a relevant and reasonable causal connection, howsoever remote, between the incident resulting in such disability/death and military service for it to be attributable. This conditionality applies even when a person is posted and present in his unit. It should similarly apply when he is on leave; notwithstanding both being considered as ‘duty’. (b) If the injury suffered by the member of the Armed Force is the result of an act alien to the sphere of military service or in no way be connected to his being on duty as understood in the sense contemplated by Rule 12 of the Entitlement Rules 1982, it would not be legislative intention or nor to our mind would be permissible approach to generalise the statement that every injury suffered during such period of leave would necessarily be attributable. (c) The act, omission or commission which results in injury to the member of the force and consequent disability or fatality must relate to military service in some manner or the other, in other words, the act must flow as a matter of necessity from military service. (d) A person doing some act at home, which even remotely does not fall within the scope of his duties and functions as a Member of Force, nor is remotely connected with the functions of military service, cannot be termed as injury or disability attributable to military service. An accident or injury suffered by a member of the Armed Force must have somecasual connection with military service and at least should arise from such activity of the member of the force as he is expected to maintain or do in his day-to-day life as a member of the force. (e) The hazards of Army service cannot be stretched to the extent of unlawful and entirely un-connected acts or omissions on the part of the member of the force even when he is on leave. A fine line of distinction has to be drawn between the matters connected, aggravated or attributable to military service, and the matter entirely alien to such service. What falls ex-facie in the domain of an entirely private act cannot be treated as legitimate basis for claiming the relief under these provisions. At best, the member of the force can claim disability pension if he suffers disability from an injury while on casual leave even if it arises from some negligence or misconduct on the part of the member of the force, so far it has some connection and nexus to the nature of the force. At least remote attributability to service would be the condition precedent to claim under Rules 173. The act of omission and commission on the part of the member of the force must satisfy the test of prudence, reasonableness and expected standards of behaviour. (f) The disability should not be the result of an accident which could be attributed to risk common to human existence in modern conditions in India, unless such risk is enhanced in kind or degree by nature, conditions, obligations or incidents of military service.”

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4981 OF 2012
THE SECRETARY, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA &
ORS. …..APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
DHARAMBIR SINGH …..RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
HEMANT GUPTA, J.
1) The challenge in the present appeal is to an order dated March 7,
2011 passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal, Chandigarh, Regional
Bench at Chandimandir1
, granting disability pension to the
respondent Dharambir Singh, as the injury was found to be
attributed to military service.
2) The undisputed facts are that the respondent joined Territorial
Army on December 28, 1981 and was discharged on December 13,

  1. He was granted two days casual leave from January 25,
    1999 to January 26, 1999 when posted at Jalandhar Cantt. During
    the leave period, he met with an accident while riding a scooter
    and suffered head injury with Faciomaxillary and compound
    fracture 1/3rd Femur (LT). A Court of Inquiry2
    was conducted to
    investigate into the circumstances under which the respondent
    1 for short, ‘Tribunal’
    2 for short, ‘COI’
    1
    sustained injuries. The Brigade Commander has given its Report
    dated August 18, 1999 that the injuries, occurred in peace area,
    are attributable to military service. One of the findings of the
    Report recorded under Column 3(c) is reproduced hereunder:
    “(c) Was anyone else to blame
    for the accident? (If so,
    indicate how and to what
    extent).
    No one is to be blamed. In fact, he
    lost control of his own scooter.”
    3) After rendering pensionable service of 17 years and 225 days, the
    respondent was discharged from service on December 13, 1999
    pursuant to the report of the Medical Board dated November 29,
    1999 which held the disability to be 30%. However, the claim for
    disability pension was rejected by the Medical Board on the ground
    that the disability was neither attributable to nor aggravated by
    military service. An appeal filed by the respondent against the
    rejection of his claim for disability pension was rejected by the
    Additional Directorate General, Personnel Services. It is thereafter
    the respondent invoked the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. The
    learned Tribunal referred to the judgment of this Court in Madan
    Singh Shekhawat v. Union of India & Ors.
    3
    and held that the
    respondent is entitled to disability pension.
    4) Learned counsel for the appellants argued that though the
    respondent would be treated to be on duty even if he was on
    casual leave or annual leave but the injuries suffered must have
    causal connection as attributable to or aggravated by military
    service. The respondent in this case was admittedly going on a
    3 (1999) 6 SCC 459
    2
    scooter to purchase electrical goods for his sister when he lost
    control while saving a cyclist, therefore, there is no causal
    connection between the injuries resulting in disability and military
    service. Learned counsel for the appellants relied upon two recent
    judgments of this Court in Renu Devi v. Union of India & Ors.
    4
    and Union of India & Ors. v. Vijay Kumar No.3989606 P, ExNaik
    5
    . This Court in Vijay Kumar examined the admissibility of
    disability pension, when personnel of Armed Forces are on leave.
    The Court declined the claim with the following findings:
    “23. In the light of the above discussion, it is clear that
    the injury suffered by the respondent has no causal
    connection with the military service. The Tribunal failed
    to appreciate that the accident resulting in the injury to
    the respondent was not even remotely connected to his
    military duty and it falls in the domain of an entirely
    private act and therefore the impugned orders cannot
    be sustained.”
    5) Per contra, Mr. Rajesh Sehgal, learned counsel for the respondent,
    argued that the claim of disability pension arises under two heads:
    one, under ‘injury’ and the other, under ‘disease’ cases. It is
    argued that the opinion of the Medical Board in respect of disease
    cases is final but, in respect of injury cases, the finding of the COI is
    final and is to be made basis of grant of disability pension. He
    refers to Para 520 of the Defence Services Regulations published in
    the year 1986, which we shall reproduce at the relevant stage. The
    reliance is placed upon various judgments of the Tribunal as also
    Full Bench judgment of Punjab & Haryana High Court in Union of
    4 Decided on July 03, 2019 in Civil Appeal arising out of Diary No.37356 of 2017 & Anr.
    5 (2015) 10 SCC 460
    3
    India & Ors. v. Khushbash Singh
    6
    followed by Division Bench
    judgment in Barkat Masih v. Union of India & Ors.
    7
    delivered by
    one of us (Justice Hemant Gupta) as a Judge of Punjab & Haryana
    High Court. It is argued that any injury caused by an activity which
    is not an “unmilitary activity” has to be deemed to be an injury
    attributed to or aggravated by military service. The Division Bench
    in Barkat Masih concluded as under:
    “20. In view of the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court
    in Madan Singh Shekhawat’s case (supra), Balbir
    Singh’s case (supra) and that of Full Bench judgment of
    this court in Khushbhash Singh’s case (supra), we find
    that the injuries suffered by the petitioner when on
    casual leave entitles the petitioner for a disability
    pension as the injury would be deemed to have been
    attributed to military service. Consequently, the writ
    petition is allowed.”
    6) Before we consider the respective arguments of learned counsel for
    the parties, the provisions of the Army Act, 19508
    , Notification
    issued by the Central Government on November 29, 1962, Rules
    and Regulations which are applicable in respect of grant of
    disability pension need to be extracted hereunder:
    “Army Act, 1950
    Section 3 (i)
    (i) “active service”, as applied to a person subject to
    this Act, means the time during which such person –
    (a) is attached to, or forms part of, a force which is
    engaged in operations against an enemy, or
    (b) is engaged in military operations in, or is on the line
    of march to, a country or place wholly or partly
    6 2010 (3) SLR 103
    7 2014 SCC OnLine P&H 10564
    8 for short, ‘Act’
    4
    occupied by an enemy, or
    (c) is attached to or forms part of a force which is in
    military occupation of a foreign country.”
    “Section 9
    Power to declare persons to be on active service.
    Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (i) of
    section 3, the central Government may, by notification,
    declare that any person or class of persons subject to
    this Act shall, with reference to any area in which they
    may be serving or with reference to any provision of
    this Act or of any other law for the time being in force,
    be deemed to be on active service within the meaning
    of this Act.”
    “Notification dated 29.11.1962
    S.R.O. 6.E – New Delhi, the 28th November 1962
    In exercise of the powers conferred by section 9 of the
    Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), the Central Government
    hereby declares that all persons subject to that Act,
    who are not on active service under clause (I) of section
    3 thereof, shall, wherever they may be serving, be
    deemed to be on active service within the meaning of
    that Act for the purposes of the said Act and of any
    other law for the time being in force.”
    “Leave Rules for the Services, Volume-I (Army)
    Rule 10. Casual leave counts as duty except as
    provided for in Rule 11 (a).
    It cannot be utilized to supplement any other form of
    leave or absence, except as provided for in clause (A) of
    Rule 72 for personnel participating in sporting events
    and tournaments.
    Casual leave due in a year can only be taken within that
    year. If, however, an individual is granted casual leave
    at the end of the year extending to the next year, the
    period failing in the latter year will be debited against
    the casual leave entitlement of that year.
    5
    Rule 11 (a) – Annual leave, for the year may at the
    discretion of the sanctioning authority, be extended to
    the next calendar year without prejudice to the annual
    leave authorised for the year in which the extended
    leave expires;
    (b) Annual leave may be taken in instalments within the
    same year.
    (c) The annual leave year is the calendar year, viz., 1st
    January to 31st December.
    (Leave 11 substituted. Auth: MoD letter No. B/33922/AG/PS-
    (b)/642/D(AG) dated 4th April 2011).”
    “Disability Element for Disability at the time of
    Discharge/Retirement (2008)
    Regulation 53(a) – An individual released/retired
    /discharged on completion of term of engagement or on
    completion of service limits or on attaining the
    prescribed age (irrespective of his period of
    engagement), if found suffering from a disability
    attributable to or aggravated by military service and so
    recorded by Release Medical Board, may be granted
    disability element in addition to service pension or
    service gratuity from the date of retirement/discharge,
    if the accepted degree of disability is assessed at 20
    percent or more.”
    Regulation 82 – For determining the pensionary
    benefits on death or disability which is attributable to or
    aggravated by Military service under different
    circumstance, the cases shall be broadly categorized as
    follows: –
    Category A
    Death or disability due to natural causes neither
    attributable to nor aggravated by military service as
    determined by the competent medical authorities.
    Examples would be ailments of nature of constitutional
    diseases as assessed by medical authorities, chronic
    ailments like heart and renal diseases, prolonged
    illness, accidents while not on duty.
    Explanation:
    The cases of death or disability due to natural causes
    falling under Category A entitles ordinary family
    pension or invalid pension or invalid gratuity as the
    case may be.
    6
    Category B
    Death or disability due to causes which are accepted as
    attributable to or aggravated by military service as
    determined by the competent medical authorities.
    Disease contracted because of continued exposure to
    hostile work environments subject to extreme weather
    conditions or occupational hazards resulting in death or
    disability would be examples.
    Category C
    Death or disability due to accidents in the performance
    of duties such as:
    (i) Accidents while travelling on duty in Government
    vehicles or public/private
    transport.
    (ii) Accidents during air journeys
    (iii) Mishaps at sea while on duty.
    (iv) Electrocution while on duty etc.
    (v) Accidents during participation in organised sports
    events/adventure activities/expeditions or training.
    Explanation:
    Invalidment case falling under Category B and Category
    C due to disease contracted or injury sustained or cause
    of death if accepted by medical authority and/ or
    competent authority attributable to or aggravated by
    Military service the individual may be granted disability
    pension or special family pension as the case may be.
    Category D
    Death or disability due to acts of violence /attack by
    terrorists, anti – social elements etc. whether on duty
    other than operational duty or even when not on duty.
    Bomb blasts in public places or transport, indiscriminate
    shooting incidents in public etc. would be covered
    under this category, besides death/disability occurring
    while employed in aid of civil power and also while
    dealing with natural calamities.
    Explanation:
    Cases falling under Category D entitles liberalised
    disability pension or liberalised family pension as the
    case may be.
    Category E
    Death or disability arising as a result of: –
    (i) Enemy action in international war
    (ii) Action during deployment with a peace keeping
    7
    mission abroad
    (iii) Border skirmishes
    (iv) During laying or clearance of mines including
    enemy mines as also mine sweeping operations.
    (v) On account of accidental explosions of mines while
    laying operationally oriented mine field or lifting or
    negotiating mine field laid by the enemy or own forces
    in operational areas near international borders or the
    line of control.
    (vi) War like situations, including cases which are
    attributable to/aggravated by:-
    (1) extremist acts, exploding mines etc, while on way to
    an operational area
    (2) battle inoculation training exercises or
    demonstration with live
    ammunition
    (3) Kidnapping by extremists while on operational duty
    (vii) An act of violence/attack by extremists, anti-social
    elements etc. while on operational duty.
    (viii) Action against extremists, antisocial elements etc.
    death/disability while employed in the aid of civil power
    in quelling agitation, riots or revolt by demonstrators
    shall be covered under this category.
    (ix) Operations specially notified by the Government
    from time to time.
    Explanation :
    Death or injury sustained in the circumstances falling
    under Category E entitles liberalised family pension or
    war-injury pension as the case may be.
    Note: The illustrations given in each category above
    from ‘A’ to ‘E’ are not exhaustive. Case not covered
    under these categories shall be dealt with as per
    Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 1982
    as contained in APPENDIX IV of these Regulations.”
    7) Pension Regulations for Army, 1961, have now been substituted by
    Pension Regulations for the Army, 2008. Pension Regulations for
    Army, 1961 and Pension Regulations for the Army, 2008 are
    substantially same in respect of admissibility of disability pension.
    Regulation 173 of the Pension Regulations for the Army, 1961,
    8
    reads as under:
    “173. The grant of pensionary awards to personnel of
    the Defence Security Corps shall be governed by the
    same Regulations as are applicable to Personnel Below
    Officer Rank of the Army, except where they are
    inconsistent with the provisions of the Regulations in
    this chapter.”
    8) The Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 19829
    apply
    to service personnel who become non-effective on or after January
    1, 1982. Prior to 1982 Rules, the Entitlement Rules of 1950 were in
    force which are similar to the 1982 Rules as far as factors
    considering disablement as attributable to military service are
    concerned. Rules 12, 13, 17 and 19 of the 1982 Rules are
    reproduced hereunder:
    “12. A person subject to the disciplinary code of the
    Armed Forces is on “duty”:-
    (a) When performing an official task or a task, failure
    to do which would constitute an offence triable
    under the disciplinary code applicable to him.
    (b) When moving from one place of duty to another
    place of duty irrespective of the mode of
    movement.
    (c) During the period of participation in recreation
    and other unit activities organized or permitted
    by Service Authorities and during the period of
    travelling in a body or single by a prescribed or
    organized route.
    NOTE: 1
    (a) xxx xxx
    (b) xxx xxx
    (c) xxx xxx
    9 1982 Rules
    9
    NOTE: 2
    xxx xxx
    (d) When proceeding from his leave station or
    returning to duty from his leave station, provided
    entitled to travel at public expenses i.e. on
    railway warrants, on concessional voucher, on
    cash TA (irrespective of whether railway
    warrant/cash TA is admitted for the whole journey
    or for a portion only), in government transport or
    when road mileage is paid/payable for the
    journey.
    (e) XXX XXX
    (f) An accident which occurs when a man is not
    strictly on duty as defined may also be
    attributable to service, provided that it involved
    risk which was definitely enhanced in kind or
    degree by the nature, conditions, obligations or
    incidents of his service and that the same was
    not a risk common to human existence in modern
    conditions in India. Thus, for instance, where a
    person is killed or injured by another party by
    reason of belonging to the Armed Forces, he shall
    be deemed ‘on duty’ at the relevant time. This
    benefit will be given more liberally to the
    claimant in cases occurring on active service as
    defined in the Army/Navy/Air Force Act.”
    “13. In respect of accidents or injuries, the following
    rules shall be observed:-
    (a) Injuries sustained when the man is “on duty” as
    defined, shall be deemed to have resulted from
    military service, but in cases of injuries due to
    serious negligence/misconduct the question of
    reducing the disability pension will be considered.
    (b) In cases of self-inflicted injuries whilst on duty,
    attributability shall not be conceded unless it is
    established that service factors were responsible
    for such action; in cases where attributability is
    conceded, the question of grant of disability
    pension at full or at reduced rate will be
    considered.”
    xx xx xx
    10
    “17. Medical Opinion: At initial claim stage, medical
    views on entitlement and assessment are given by the
    IMB/RMB. Normally, these views shall prevail for
    decisions in accepting or rejecting the claim. In cases
    of doubt the Ministry/CCDA (Pensions) may refer such
    cases for second medical opinion to MA (Pensions)
    Sections in the office of the DGAFMS/Office of CCDA(P),
    Allahabad, respectively. At appeal stage, appropriate
    appellate medical authorities can review and revise the
    opinion of the medical boards on entitlement and
    assessment.”
    xx xx xx
    “19. Aggravation: if it is established that the disability
    was not caused by service, attributability shall not be
    conceded. However, aggravation by service is to be
    accepted unless any worsening in his condition was not
    due to his service or worsening did not persist on the
    date of discharge/claim.”
    9) Regulation 423 of the Medical Regulations also explains the injuries
    which are attributable to service. Such Regulation reads as under:
    “Regulation 423. Attributability of Service
    a) For the purpose of determining whether the cause of
    a disability or death is or is not attributable to
    service, it is immaterial whether the cause giving rise
    to the disability or death occurred in an area declared
    to be a field service/active service area or under
    normal peace conditions. It is, however, essential to
    establish whether the disability or death bore a
    causal connection with the service conditions…
    b) The cause of a disability or death resulting from
    wound or injury, will be regarded as attributable to
    service if the wound/injury was sustained during the
    actual performance of ‘duty’ in armed forces. In case
    of injuries which were self-inflicted or due to an
    individual’s own serious negligence or misconduct,
    the Board will also comment how far the disability
    resulted from self-inflection, negligence or
    misconduct.
    xxx xxx xxx
    d) The question, whether a disability or death is
    attributable to or aggravated by service or not, will
    11
    be decided as regards its medical aspects by a
    Medical Board or by the medical officer who signs the
    death certificate. The Medical Board/medical officer
    will specify reasons for their/his opinion. The opinion
    of the Medical Board/medical officer, insofar as it
    relates to the actual cause of the disability or death
    and the circumstances in which it originated will be
    regarded as final. The question whether the cause
    and the attendant circumstances can be attributed to
    service will, however, be decided by the pension
    sanctioning authority.
    e) To assist the medical officer who signs the death
    certificate or the Medical Board in the case of an
    invalid, the CO unit will furnish a report on:
    (i) AFMS F-81 in all cases other than those due to
    injuries.
    (ii) IAFY 2006 in all cases of injuries other than
    battle injuries.
    f) In cases where award of disability pension or
    reassessment of disabilities is concerned, a Medical
    Board is always necessary and the certificate of a
    single medical officer will not be accepted except in
    case of stations where it is not possible or feasible to
    assemble a regular Medical Board for such purposes.
    The certificate of a single medical office in the latter
    case will be furnished on a Medical Board form and
    countersigned by the ADMS (Army)/ DMS
    (Navy)/DMS(Air).”
    10) In view of the provisions reproduced above, we find that the
    following questions arise for consideration:
    (i) Whether, when armed forces personnel proceeds on
    casual leave, annual leave or leave of any other kind, he is
    to be treated on duty?
    (ii) Whether the injury or death caused even if, the armed
    forces personnel is on duty, has to have some causal
    connection with military service so as to hold that such
    injury or death is either attributable to or aggravated by
    military service?
    12
    (iii) What is the effect and purpose of COI into an injury
    suffered by armed forces personnel?
    Answer to Question No.1
    11) In terms of Section 3(i) of the Act, the active service means time
    during which a person who is subject to the Act, is attached to, or
    forms part of, a Force which is engaged in operations against an
    enemy engaged in military operations in, or is on the line of march
    to, a country or place wholly or partly occupied by an enemy, or is
    attached to or forms part of a Force which is in military occupation
    of a foreign country. The present is not the case covered by the
    definition of Section 3(i) of the Act.
    12) Section 9 of the Act empowers the Central Government to declare
    that any person or class of persons subject to the Act, with
    reference to any area in which they may be serving or with
    reference to any provision of this Act or of any other law for the
    time being in force, will be deemed to be on active service within
    the meaning of the Act. In pursuance of such provision, the Central
    Government has notified that all persons who are subject to the Act
    shall, wherever they may be serving, be deemed to be in active
    service within the meaning of the Act and of any other law for the
    time being in force.
    13) Still further, in terms of leave rules, the casual leave and annual
    leave count as duty. However, in terms of Rule 11(a) of the Leave
    Rules for the Services, Volume-I (Army), an individual on casual
    13
    leave is not deemed to actually perform duty during such leave.
    1982 Rules provide that a person is on duty when he is proceeding
    from his leave station or returning to duty from his leave station.
    Still further, in terms of clause (f) of Rule 12 of the 1982 Rules, an
    accident can be said to be attributable to service when a man is
    not strictly ‘on duty’ as defined, provided that it involved risk which
    was definitely enhanced in kind or degree by the nature,
    conditions, obligations or incidents of his service and that the same
    was not a risk common to human existence in modern conditions in
    India. Therefore, a person if killed or injured by another person for
    the reason he belongs to the Armed Forces, he shall be deemed to
    be ‘on duty’.
    14) Thus, it is held that when Armed Forces personnel is availing casual
    leave or annual leave, is to be treated on duty.
    Answer to Question No.2
    15) The 1982 Rules give expansive definition to the expression ‘duty’
    being undertaken by the personnel of the Armed Forces. It includes
    the period when Armed Forces personnel is proceeding from his
    leave station or returning to duty from his leave station. It includes
    even an accident which occurs when a man is not strictly on duty
    provided that it involved risk which was definitely enhanced in kind
    or degree by the nature, conditions, obligations or incidents of his
    service and that the same was not a risk common to human
    existence in modern conditions in India. However, as per
    14
    Regulation 423 of the Medical Regulations, such injury has to have
    causal connection with military service or such injury is aggravated
    by military service.
    16) In Regulation 423(a) of the Medical Regulations, it has been
    specifically mentioned that it is immaterial whether the cause
    giving rise to the disability or death occurred in an area declared to
    be a field service or active service area or under normal peace
    conditions, will be deemed to be duty. Regulation 423(a) mandates
    that it is essential to establish whether the disability or death bore
    a causal connection with the service conditions. All evidence, both
    direct and circumstantial, will be taken into account and benefit of
    reasonable doubt, if any, will be given to individual. For the sake of
    repetition, the said clause reads as under:
    “a) For the purpose of determining whether the cause
    of a disability or death is or is not attributable to
    service, it is immaterial whether the cause giving rise to
    the disability or death occurred in an area declared to
    be a field service/active service area or under normal
    peace conditions. It is, however, essential to establish
    whether the disability or death bore a causal
    connection with the service conditions…”
    17) Clause (b) of Regulation 423 of the Medical Regulations presumes
    that disability or death resulting from wound or injury, will be
    regarded as attributable to service if the wound or injury was
    sustained during actual performance of ‘duty’ in Armed Forces.
    This is in contradiction to “deemed to be duty” as per Rule 12(f) of
    1982 Rules, as the Rule is when a man is not strictly on duty.
    15
    However, the injuries which are self-inflicting or due to individual’s
    own serious negligence or misconduct even in the cases of active
    duty, are not to be conceded unless, it is established that service
    factors were responsible for such action.
    18) The question whether a disability or death is attributable to or
    aggravated by military service or not, is to be decided by the
    Medical Board. The opinion of Medical Board with regard to actual
    cause of disability or death and the circumstances under which it
    originated will be regarded as final in terms of Rule 17 of 1982
    Rules which is to the effect that at initial claim stage, medical views
    on entitlement and assessment shall prevail for decisions in
    accepting or rejecting the claim.
    19) Regulation 423(d) provides that the question whether a disability
    or death is attributable to or aggravated by service or not, will be
    decided as regards to its medical aspects by a Medical Board/
    medical officers. Such opinion of the Medical Board insofar as it
    relates to the actual cause of disability or death and the
    circumstances in which originality will be regarded as final. The
    Commanding Officer has to record his opinion as to whether
    injured person was on duty and whether he or she was to blame in
    a COI. Therefore, the scope of COI is to examine the conduct of the
    injured person to determine whether the person has made himself
    liable to be proceeded against departmentally. In respect of the
    injury, causal connection of injury to the army service is not final in
    16
    the COI proceedings.
    20) In view of Regulation 423 clauses (a), (b) and (d), there has to be
    causal connection between the injury or death caused by the
    military service. The determining factor is a causal connection
    between the accident and the military duties. The injury or death
    must be connected with military service howsoever remote it may
    be. The injury or death must be intervention of armed service and
    not an accident which could be attributed to risk common to
    human beings. When a person is going on a scooter to purchase
    house hold articles, such activity, even remotely has no causal
    connection with the military service.
    Answer to Question No.3
    21) Before we answer Question No.3, para 520 of the Defence Services
    Regulations needs to be reproduced, which is as under:
    “520. Injury to a Person Subject to Army Act.-(a)
    When an officer, JCO, WO, OR or nurse, whether on or
    off duty, is injured (except by wounds received in
    action), a certificate on IAFY-2006 will be forwarded by
    the medical officer in charge of the case to the injured
    person’s CO as soon as possible after the date on which
    the patient has been placed on the sick list, whether in
    quarters or in hospital. In the case of injuries which are
    immediately fatal, a report of the court of inquiry
    proceedings referred to in sub-para (c) (i) will take the
    place of IAFY-2006.
    (b) If the medical officer certifies that the injury is of a
    trivial character, unlikely to cause permanent ill-effects,
    no court of inquiry need be held, unless considered
    necessary under sub-para (c) (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v). In any
    event, however, IAFY-2006 will be completed and in all
    cases, except those of JCOs, WOs and OR will be
    forwarded through the prescribed channels to Army
    Headquarters, Org Dte in the case of non-medical
    17
    officers and Medical Dte in other cases, a copy being
    retained at command or other headquarters. In the
    case of a JCO, WO or OR, IAFY-2006 will be forwarded to
    the officer i/c records for custody with the original
    attestation, after the necessary entry, stating whether
    he was on duty and whether he was to blame, has been
    made by the CO in the Primary Medical examination
    report (AFMSF-2A).
    (c)In the following cases a court of inquiry will be
    assembled to investigate the circumstances:-
    (i) If the injury is fatal or certified by the medical officer
    to be of a serious nature. Where an inquest is held, a
    copy of the coroner’s report of the proceedings will be
    attached to the court of inquiry proceedings.
    (ii) If, in the opinion of the CO, doubt exists as to the
    cause of the injury.
    (iii) If, in the opinion of the CO, doubt exists as to
    whether the injured person was on or off duty at the
    time he or she received the injury.
    (iv) If, for any reason, it is desirable thoroughly to
    investigate the cause of the injury.
    (v) If the injury was caused through the fault of some
    other person.
    In cases where the injured person is a JCO, WO or OR,
    the court may consist of one officer as presiding officer,
    with two JCOs, WOs or senior NCOs as members.
    (d) The court of inquiry will not give an opinion, but the
    injured person’s CO will record his opinion on the
    evidence, stating whether the injured person was on
    duty and whether he or she was to blame. When no
    evidence as to the circumstances attending the injury
    beyond that of the injured person is forthcoming it
    should be stated in the proceedings. The proceedings
    will then be sent to the brigade commander or the
    officer who has been authorised under Section 8 of the
    Army Act to exercise the legal and disciplinary powers
    of a brigade commander who will record thereon his
    decision whether disability or death was attributable to
    military service and whether it occurred on field service.
    After confirmation, the medical officer will, in all cases
    18
    except those of JCOs, WOs and OR, record his opinion in
    the proceedings as to the effect of the injury on the
    injured person’s service. The proceedings will then be
    forwarded by the CO through the prescribed channel to
    Army Headquarters, Org Dte in the case of non-medical
    officers and Medical Dte in other cases, a copy being
    retained at command or other headquarters. In the
    case of a JCO, WO or OR a record will be made in the
    primary medical examination report (AFMSF-2A) by the
    CO that a court of inquiry has been held, and also as to
    whether the man was on duty and whether he was to
    blame. The primary medical examination report will
    then be passed to the medical officer who will record his
    opinion as to the effect of the injury on the man’s
    service. The proceedings of the court of inquiry will
    then be forwarded to the officer i/c records for
    enclosure with the injured person’s original attestation
    (see sub-para (b) above), except in the case of a court
    of inquiry under sub-para (c)(v) above, in which case
    the proceedings, together with a copy of the medical
    opinion as to the effect of the injury on the man’s
    service, will be forwarded without delay to Army
    Headquarters.
    (e) When an officer, JCO, WO, OR or nurse, not on duty,
    is injured in any way by or through the fault of a civilian
    or civilians, and receives compensation from such
    civilian or civilians, in lieu of any further claim, this will
    be recorded in the proceedings of the court of inquiry.
    (f) A Court of inquiry need not necessarily be held to
    investigate deaths or injuries sustained through taking
    part in organized games, sports and other physical
    recreations as defined in para 271.
    In all cases where a court of enquiry is not held, IAFY2006 will be completed with the statements of
    witnesses as required by item 4 thereon and when
    applicable, the CO will certify that the games, sports, or
    physical recreations were organized ones.
    (g) The injury report will be submitted to the brigade
    commander or the officer who has been authorised
    under Section 8 of the Army Act to exercise the legal
    and disciplinary powers of a brigade commander only if
    the injury is severe or moderately severe or if a court of
    inquiry to enquire into the causes of injury has been
    held. The brigade commander or the officer who has
    19
    been authorised under Section 8 of the Army Act to
    exercise the legal and disciplinary powers of a brigade
    commander will record on the form his decision whether
    or not the injury was attributable to military service,
    and whether it occurred on field service. In all other
    cases, the CO will record his opinion.”
    22) In terms of para 520 of the Defence Services Regulations, a
    certificate on I.A.F.Y.-2006 is required to be forwarded by the
    Medical Officer In-charge to the Commanding Officer. The COI is
    assembled to investigate the circumstances leading to injury
    (clause c). The Commanding Officer has to record his opinion as to
    whether injured person was on or off duty including as to whether
    he or she was to blame. The proceedings are then to be sent to
    Brigade Commander or the officer authorized under Section 8 of
    the Act to record reasons as to whether disability or death was
    attributable to military service and whether it occurred on field
    service. The Commanding Officer has reported that the injury is
    not attributable to military service, but I.A.F.Y.-2006 produced
    before the Court at the time of hearing of the present appeal shows
    that the Brigade Commander has endorsed that the injury is
    attributable to military service. We find that there was no material
    available to the Brigade Commander to return a finding that
    disability was attributable to military service when the evidence of
    the witnesses and the conclusion given by the Commanding Officer
    is that no one is to be blamed for the accident as per column 3 (c)
    reproduced in the earlier part of this order. Since the accident has
    occurred when the respondent was purchasing house hold articles,
    20
    it cannot be said that there is any causal connection between the
    injury and the military service. Though, the attributability
    assessment of injury cases is different than the disease cases but,
    we are unable to accept the argument raised by Mr. Sehgal that in
    injury cases, the finding of COI is final. Therefore, we are unable to
    hold that the opinion of the Brigade Commander in all situations
    will be final in respect of an injury suffered. We have held in
    Answer to Question No. 2 that the opinion of Medical Board is final
    in terms of Rule 17 of 1982 Rules and Regulation 423 (d) of the
    Medical Regulations.
    23) The purpose of investigation by the COI is to examine nature of
    injuries whether such injuries were suffered on or off duty.
    However, para 520 is not to the effect that the opinion of the
    Brigade Commander is final on the basis of which the grant of
    disability pension is dependent. The percentage of disability as
    well as whether the disability is attributed to or aggravated by
    military service has to be assessed by the Medical Board. The
    purpose of COI is to examine the conduct of the personnel of the
    Armed Forces, whereas, the Medical Board examines, the causal
    connection with the injury with the military services and also the
    extent of disability. Thus, the COI and the opinion of the Medical
    Board both have different objects and purposes to achieve.
    24) Having considered the provisions of the statutes, rules and
    regulations, we now refer to the judgments referred to by the
    21
    learned counsel for the parties.
    25) The judgments in Madan Singh Shekhawat, Pension
    Sanctioning Authority, PCDA(P), Allahabad & Ors. v. M.L.
    George, Ex. SGT
    10
    , Nand Kishore Mishra v. Union of India &
    Ors.
    11
    and Union of India & Anr. v. Surendra Pandey
    12
    , are the
    cases where the Armed Forces personnel have suffered injuries
    while returning from or going on leave. In terms of Rule 12 Note 2
    (d) of 1982 Rules read with Regulation 423(a), any injury or death
    while returning from or going to duty has a causal connection with
    the military service and, thus, such injury or death is considered
    attributable to or aggravated by military service.
    26) The Full Bench judgment of Punjab and Haryana High Court in
    Khushbash Singh has devised a new expression ‘unmilitary
    activity’. Since the rules and regulations framed under the Act
    provide for disability pension only if there is causal connection of
    injuries with the military service, thus warranting a positive finding.
    The ‘unmilitary activity’ is not an expression used in the rules or
    regulations and is based on negative proof. What is unmilitary
    activity is vague, indefinite and is based upon surmises and
    conjectures. Therefore, we find that in terms of the provisions of
    the Act, Rules and instructions keeping in view the policy decisions
    of the appellants, the disability pension is admissible only if injury
    is either attributable to or aggravated by military service and not
    10 (2015) 15 SCC 319
    11 JT 2013 (10) SC 466
    12 (2015) 13 SCC 625
    22
    that any activity which is unmilitary activity.
    27) Mr. Sehgal has relied upon Division Bench judgment of Delhi High
    Court in Vardip Singh & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.
    13
    . It was
    a case where a Captain saved 150-160 lives in a tragic fire incident
    in Uphaar Cinema, New Delhi. The High Court has considered it
    appropriate to grant disability pension to the family of the
    deceased Major. Said judgment is in the peculiar facts of that case.
    28) However, the reliance of Mr. Sehgal upon Division Bench judgment
    in Barkat Masih is not tenable. We find that the judgment is
    correct to the limited extent that personnel of Armed Forces when
    on leave are also on duty. However, the subsequent question,
    whether an injury or death suffered by a personnel has some
    causal connection with military service, was not examined except
    referring to Full Bench judgment of that Court wherein, it was held
    that unmilitary service activity alone will be excluded from the
    expression ‘death’ or ‘injury’ caused by military service or
    aggravated to military service. We find that such conclusion is not
    sustainable as per the applicable rules and regulations.
    29) In Barkat Masih, such Armed Forces person was riding a scooter
    which was hit by army truck in the cantonment area. Such
    accident with the army truck has no causal connection with the
    military service as the deceased was on casual leave. Even a
    civilian could meet with an accident with the army truck within or
    13 2004 (3) SLR 500
    23
    outside the cantonment area. Such accident has no causal
    connection with the military service of an injured or the deceased.
    Therefore, the Full Bench judgment of Punjab & Haryana High Court
    in Khushbash Singh and that of the Division Bench of that Court
    in Barkat Masih are not the good law. It may be noticed that
    special leave petition in the Barkat Masih order was dismissed
    but it was dismissed on the ground of delay, therefore, in view of
    the judgment of this Court in Khoday Distilleries Limited & Ors.
    v. Sri Mahadeshwara Sahakara Sakkare Karkhane Limited,
    Kollegal
    14
    , it does not amount to merger of the order passed by
    the High Court with that of this Court.
    30) Another order referred by the respondent is Lance Dafedar
    Joginder Singh v. Union of India & Ors.
    15
    . In that case, this
    Court granted disability pension when no rules or regulations were
    produced that the appellant was not entitled to disability pension.
    31) The judgments in Union of India & Ors. v. Keshar Singh
    16
    ,
    Union of India & Anr. v. Baljit Singh
    17
    , Union of India & Ors. v.
    Dhir Singh China, Colonel (Retd.)
    18
    and Controller of
    Defence Accounts (Pension) & Ors. v. S. Balachandran Nair
    19
    are the cases arising out of disability on account of some disease
    which, in the opinion of the Medical Board, was said to be
    paramount. Such judgments are not applicable in the cases of
    14 (2019) 4 SCC 376
    15 1995 Supp (3) SCC 232
    16 (2007) 12 SCC 675
    17 (1996) 11 SCC 315
    18 (2003) 2 SCC 382
    19 (2005) 13 SCC 128
    24
    injuries.
    32) In Secretary, Ministry of Defence & Ors. v. Ajit Singh
    20
    , the
    personnel had suffered disability on account of electric shock in his
    house, when on leave. It was held that such disability is not
    attributable to or aggravated by military service.
    33) In Sukhwant Singh v. Union of India & Ors.
    21
    , the Armed Forces
    personnel suffered injury in a scooter accident which rendered him
    unsuitable for any further military service. It was held that there
    was no causal connection between the injuries suffered and the
    services in the army referring to judgment of this Court in Union
    of India & Ors. v. Jujhar Singh
    22
    .
    34) In Vijay Kumar, the person was climbing stairs of the house of his
    sister. He accidentally slipped on account of darkness on account
    of failure of electricity supply. This Court held that the injuries
    sustained were accidental in nature and nobody can be blamed for
    the same. Thus, the order of the Tribunal granting disability pension
    was set aside.
    35) Another judgment referred to by the learned counsel for the
    appellants is Renu Devi. It is a case of special family pension on
    account of death of the Armed Forces personnel during casual
    leave in a road accident. The principles laid down are in tune with
    the judgments where the causal connection of the injury with the
    20 (2009) 7 SCC 328
    21 (2012) 12 SCC 228
    22 (2011) 7 SCC 735
    25
    military service was not found and, therefore, the disability pension
    cannot be granted.
    36) We find that summing up of the following guiding factors by the
    Tribunal in Jagtar Singh v. Union of India & Ors
    23
    and approved
    in Sukhwant Singh and in Vijay Kumar do not warrant any
    change or modification and the claim of disability pension is
    required to be dealt with accordingly:-
    “(a) The mere fact of a person being on ‘duty’ or otherwise, at the
    place of posting or on leave, is not the sole criteria for
    deciding attributability of disability/death. There has to be a
    relevant and reasonable causal connection, howsoever
    remote, between the incident resulting in such
    disability/death and military service for it to be attributable.
    This conditionality applies even when a person is posted and
    present in his unit. It should similarly apply when he is on
    leave; notwithstanding both being considered as ‘duty’.
    (b) If the injury suffered by the member of the Armed Force is the
    result of an act alien to the sphere of military service or in no
    way be connected to his being on duty as understood in the
    sense contemplated by Rule 12 of the Entitlement Rules
    1982, it would not be legislative intention or nor to our mind
    would be permissible approach to generalise the statement
    that every injury suffered during such period of leave would
    necessarily be attributable.
    (c) The act, omission or commission which results in injury to the
    member of the force and consequent disability or fatality
    must relate to military service in some manner or the other,
    in other words, the act must flow as a matter of necessity
    from military service.
    (d) A person doing some act at home, which even remotely does
    not fall within the scope of his duties and functions as a
    Member of Force, nor is remotely connected with the
    functions of military service, cannot be termed as injury or
    disability attributable to military service. An accident or injury
    suffered by a member of the Armed Force must have some
    23 T.A. No. 61 of 2010 decided on November 2, 2010 by the Tribunal
    26
    casual connection with military service and at least should
    arise from such activity of the member of the force as he is
    expected to maintain or do in his day-to-day life as a member
    of the force.
    (e) The hazards of Army service cannot be stretched to the
    extent of unlawful and entirely un-connected acts or
    omissions on the part of the member of the force even when
    he is on leave. A fine line of distinction has to be drawn
    between the matters connected, aggravated or attributable
    to military service, and the matter entirely alien to such
    service. What falls ex-facie in the domain of an entirely
    private act cannot be treated as legitimate basis for claiming
    the relief under these provisions. At best, the member of the
    force can claim disability pension if he suffers disability from
    an injury while on casual leave even if it arises from some
    negligence or misconduct on the part of the member of the
    force, so far it has some connection and nexus to the nature
    of the force. At least remote attributability to service would
    be the condition precedent to claim under Rules 173. The act
    of omission and commission on the part of the member of the
    force must satisfy the test of prudence, reasonableness and
    expected standards of behaviour.
    (f) The disability should not be the result of an accident which
    could be attributed to risk common to human existence in
    modern conditions in India, unless such risk is enhanced in
    kind or degree by nature, conditions, obligations or incidents
    of military service.”
    37) In view of the above discussion and the conclusions drawn by the
    Tribunal in T.A. No. 61 of 2010, we find that the order of the Tribunal
    is not sustainable. Consequently, the appeal is allowed. The Order
    passed by the Tribunal is set aside and the Original Application filed
    by the respondent is dismissed.
    ………………………………………J.
    (L. NAGESWARA RAO)
    27
    ………………………………………J.
    (HEMANT GUPTA)
    NEW DELHI;
    SEPTEMBER 20, 2019.
    28