HC upholds order denying pension benefits to man’s 2nd wife

Justice SM Subramaniam passed the directions on dismissing a petition filed by D Shanthi of Arani town in Tiruvannamalai district.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court upheld an order of the State government denying pension benefits of a deceased government teacher to his second wife who entered into wedlock with the former while his first wife was alive.

Justice SM Subramaniam passed the directions on dismissing a petition filed by D Shanthi of Arani town in Tiruvannamalai district.

The petitioner prayed for a direction to quash the order of the State government rejecting her application to grant the pension benefits of her deceased husband who was a teacher who retired from service in 1999 and died in 2010.

Since the government rejected her application on the ground that the deceased married her during the lifetime of his first wife, the petitioner submitted that as per Rule 49 (7) of the TN Pensions Rules, where family pension is payable to more widows than one, the family pension shall be paid to widows in equal shares.

However, the judge said that according to the Hindu Marriages Act, 1955, the second marriage solemnised during the lifetime of the first wife is an invalid marriage and an invalid marriage would not provide the second wife status as 'widow'.

“When she is not holding the status as 'widow', the family pension is not payable and consequently, the family pension cannot be shared or paid and the question of invoking Rule 49 (7) (a) (i) would not arise at all,” the judge held.

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