Kochi: Veteran freedom fighter K E Mammen, known as Kerala Gandhi, was once denied the freedom fighter's pension by the Central government and the Kerala High Court had to interfere to ensure him the monetary benefit.

Justice C S Rajan, former judge of the Kerala High Court and now a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court, has shared this instance with mathrubhumi.com.

It happened nearly 20 years back when Mammen’s petition for pension came up for hearing in the High Court. The Central government was a party to the petition and the Secretary of the Centre, who was in charge of the pension, told the High Court that it had no evidence to consider him as a freedom fighter and opposed it. 

As per the norms, Mammen had to furnish a certificate from a person who also had undergone imprisonment along with him as a freedom fighter along with other documents. 

Mammen told the court that all of his cell-mates were dead and expressed his inability to produce such a document. The state government lacked evidence in their possession to prove his jail term.

Justice C S Rajan who heard the petition asked the state to make a fresh enquiry. The government further collected evidence to the satisfaction of the court and an order to allow him pension was issued.

But for the intervention of Justice Rajan, the state government would have shown a cold shoulder.

Justice Rajan had observed in the judgment that K E Mammen was a veteran freedom fighter, known as Kerala Gandhi, and it was arbitrary for the Central Government to take such a stand. 

If Mammen is not granted pension from the Centre, who else is eligible, the court observed in the judgment.

Justice Rajan said Mammen had met him in Thiruvananthapuram after receiving the pension and thanked for the course of justice, which turned out be a boon for him.