PIL seeks parity for paramilitary with defence personnel

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) A public interest litigation (PIL) has urged the Delhi High Court that the families and kin of the paramilitary personnel who sacrifice their lives in the line of duty should be given parity with defence personnel in entitlements.

The PIL sought direction to the government to issue the honourific of “martyr” or “shaheed” to paramilitary or police personnel also.

In his plea, Advocate Abhishek Choudhary said: “The personnel of the three armed forces are called ‘martyrs’ when they are killed on duty”.

Not giving parity to paramilitary personnel with defence personnel is “serious injustice” to them and “miscarriage of law”, the advocate said.

The central government had earlier informed the court that it was considering to accord “martyr” status on paramilitary personnel who die in the line of duty.

Filing an affidavit, Choudhary said: “Parity has to be maintained by the government in granting benefits since the cost of life of the Central Paramilitary Force Personnel (CPMF) personnel cannot be assessed less in making the supreme sacrifice for the country.”

“In fact, the ‘shaheed’ of the defence forces gets more than Rs.10-15 lakh in comparison to CPMF personnel since they are declared shaheed or martyr.”

“There are various additional benefits which are given to defence force personnel ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ in comparison to the CPMFs personnel,” it added.

“The ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ status is a recognition which adds pride to the family, community, society and location and is not a mere question of financial benefits. This also inculcates a sense of pride among youth to join uniformed forces to protect the country even if they have to make supreme sacrifice of life. It is an overall question of inspiration and pride,” the petitioner’s affidavit said.

The case would be heard on May 2.

The plea said 31,895 paramilitary personnel have laid down their lives in past 53 years in the line of duty but the honour of being called a “martyr” still eludes the personnel of paramilitary and police forces.

In many places, like along the Pakistan border, paramilitary personnel work along with army men and in Maoist-affected states, they work with air force officials. But in case of death in action, the Central Armed Police Personnel (CAPF) are not accorded ‘martyr’ status, the plea said.

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