Both Wives of Govt Servant Entitled for Family Pension: HC
A government servant’s second wife too shall be entitled to a share in family pension even if the man’s first marriage is not dissolved, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) has ruled. Justice R Mahadevan gave the ruling while disposing of a petition filed the first wife of a deceased CEO.
Petitioner Visalakshmi Amma of Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari submitted that she had married N Stanunthan Thambi in 1958 and begot him two daughters. Thambi deserted her in 1965 and married Vasanthakumari Thangachi and fathered three sons without dissolving first marriage. Thambi, who retired as CEO passed away in Sept 2012 and in his service records he had nominated Vasanthakumari as his wife. Accordingly the pension was paid to Vasanthakumari and did not respond to a pension plea from Visalakshmi. Visalakshmi contended that since she was the legally wedded wife of Thambi, she alone was entitled for the family pension and not Vasanthakumari, who was only his illegal companion. Vasanthakumari in her counter-affidavit contended that there was no connection between Visalakshmi and Thambi for past 47 years.
Arguing that she had taken care of Thambi till his death, Vasanthakumari said only because of that he had nominated her as his wife. Even if she were to be denied pension, her sons can get it as under Hindu Succession Act as even kids born out of illegitimate relationship were entitled to a share in father’s property.
When the petition came up for final hearing, both submitted that they had agreed to share the pension. Recording it, the judge pointed out that Sec 2(f) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 said, “Domestic Relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family.
“The purpose of enacting such a law could only be to make way for maintenance for not only a legally wedded wife but also to a second wife or concubine,” the judge said.
Hence, he directed the authorities to disburse the pension in equal share to them until their life time and in case of death of either one of them, the surviving party shall be entitled to full pension.