The Chennai regional bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has granted 50% disability pension to an Air Force man who, on being chased by a swarm of bees, fell into a ditch and fractured his shin and heel bones.
Ex-sergeant Trilochan Behera, 50, enrolled in the Indian Air Force (IAF) in December 1986. After being promoted as sergeant, he was transferred from the Hakimpet station near Hyderabad to Chandigarh. On March 15, 2009, at 10am, he went to seek the assistance of a fellow airmen to pack his luggage. He was attacked by a swarm of bees. He fell into a ditch and was taken toa hospital in an unconscious state.
At the time of his discharge from service in December 2012, the release medical board assessed Behera’s disability as 30% for life. The board said his disability was ‘neither attributable nor aggravated by service.’ His two appeals to the board were rejected on the grounds that at the time of sustaining injuries, he was not on duty.
Behera then moved the tribunal. A bench said, as per IAF regulations, joining time counted as duty. But, as there was a doubt on the nature of duty and circumstances under which the injuries occurred, the rules mandated ordering a court of inquiry. The Commanding Officer (CO) failed to do so.