High Court directs Nagaland government to verify old age pension eligible citizens in 3 months
Kohima, Sep. 16 (EMN): The Kohima bench of Gauhati High Court has directed the state government to complete the verification of old age pension eligible citizens in the state within three months and submit an affidavit for compliance in the next hearing.
A bench of justices Songkhupchung Serto and Kakheto Sema asked the state government to complete the exercise within three months, starting September 14, and “send the proposal to the concerned ministry so that the eligible persons get the benefit of Old Age Pension at the earliest”.
“While doing so, the State respondents should also include the names of the 198 persons identified by the petitioner if they are eligible for the benefit,” added the court.
The matter was listed for hearing after three months, wherein an affidavit of compliance is to be submitted.
Advocate Neiteo Koza appeared on behalf of the petitioner during the court hearing.
Earlier in June, Koza had filed an additional affidavit showing that the petitioner with the help of Pro Bono Club, Kohima Law College, has identified 196 persons who are eligible for the Old Age Pension. While two persons were already given, the names of 198 persons identified are from different districts including Kohima, Phek, Mokokchung, Noklak, Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Wokha, and Zunheboto.
Owing to this, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by one Kheto Thorie against the state government and six others in the High Court, to espouse the cause of persons who have been denied the benefit under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, which is a 100% centrally-sponsored scheme being implemented in the State, the court order stated in January last year.
The scheme ensures a monthly pension to members of the BPL families, who are aged 60 years and above. Although the scheme is being implemented in Nagaland state, the benefit is not being given to the actual beneficiaries, and in fact, there are many bogus beneficiaries to whom the benefit has been given. The Human Rights Law Network Volunteers have conducted a survey and they have detected such bogus claims, the court added.