Bench comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha of Delhi High Court directed the Border Security Force (BSF) to pay ex gratia compensation to families of its personnel dying on active duty even if the cause turned out to be pre-existing ailments.
Court observed that, “a person on active duty, when returns to the barrack after patrolling along the LoC would continue to be stressed for sometime before the adrenaline levels fall and the body is at even metabolism.” Court, however, held that the human body was “not a switch” and the tension caused during patrol could also have strained the health of the deceased.
High Court ruled in its judgment that, “psychological injuries can be as debilitating as physical ones. Trauma, stress disorders are not intentionally caused by enemy action, but where a person is deployed for patrolling duty at a border and especially where the relations with the neighbouring country are not very cordial the person would be under psychological stress while on actual patrol duty and adrenaline levels would be bound to be high. Stress, be it mental or physical, affects the body metabolism and puts a strain on the heart.” Court also took judicial notice of the fact that though sporadic but tension flares up in the Indo-Pak Line of Control 15 to 20 times each year.
Court further ruled that, “the death of a force personnel due to heart attack suffered just after performing actual duty would be a case of an accidental death in the course of performance of duties”, directed the Border Security Force (BSF) to pay Rs 10 lakh as ex-gratia compensation to the widow of a head constable who had died due to a heart attack during active duty at the Line of Control in Kutch.