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The Centre's move to allot shops meant for ex-servicemen, war widows and disabled army personnel under a rehabilitation policy to others for commercial gains would lead to dilution of the welfare scheme, Delhi High Court today said. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the government should empower the former army personnel as they retired from service much earlier than their civilian counterparts. It stayed the allotment of shops till further orders. "It appears you want to dilute the issue with regard to allotment of regimental shops to these retired personnel.
They have little opportunity to improve their financial condition after they retire from service at early age. Be reasonable," the bench observed. It questioned the counsel for the Ministry of Defence and the authorities concerned whether they have included any ex- servicemen in its policy with regard to rehabilitation of ex army personnel. To this, the counsel for the Centre informed the court that they were reviewing the entire policy which was issued in November last year. The court also issued notice to the Centre and sought its response by April 17 on a plea filed by ex-servicemen society, helpline organisation and a retired naik, challenging the November 11, 2017 advertisements on allotment of regimental shops to other people for commercial purposes. They claimed that the existing policy issued by the ministry as far as back in 1972 was intended to ensure that rehabilitation opportunities for ex-servicemen were kept exclusively for their benefit and not exploited for commercial opportunity to earn revenue. Licensing of these regimental shops were part of welfare activity for armed forces and their families and also for ensuring economic opportunities for ex-servicemen, war widows, disabled military personnel to improve their financial condition considering that they retired much before their civilian counterparts, the plea said.
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