12 Sep 2023 6:45 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court recently held that there was no impediment for the Indian Army in granting family pension to the second wife of a deceased serviceman even if the first marriage was not dissolved legally, as long as the first wife was not interested in the pension.Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that the Indian Army could consider the claim of the second wife since their marriage...
The Kerala High Court recently held that there was no impediment for the Indian Army in granting family pension to the second wife of a deceased serviceman even if the first marriage was not dissolved legally, as long as the first wife was not interested in the pension.
Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that the Indian Army could consider the claim of the second wife since their marriage was recognised by the Indian Postal Department. It observed thus:
“Even if it is taken that the divorce as reflected in Ext.P2 is not legally valid, it would cause no prejudice to the Indian Army, as long as Smt.K.T.Chandralekha does not stake a claim to the family pension. This is more so because, the marriage of late K.V.Venugopalan and the petitioner appears to have been accepted by the Indian Postal Department, which is evident from Exts.P7 and P8, and hence it would only be in furtherance of such that the Indian Army also considers their marriage to be valid.”
The Court further observed that if the first wife makes a claim for family pension, that has to be considered as well.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by the second wife of an ex-serviceman claiming her rights over the family pension from the Indian Army.
She submitted that her husband and his first wife had decided to end their marriage as per their agreement. It was also submitted that the first wife had advanced an affidavit stating that she had no interest in claiming the family pension. The petitioner argued that after retirement from the army, her husband had joined the Indian Postal Department and that she was getting pension from the postal department as the legally wedded wife.
On the other hand, the Counsel for the respondent argued that family pension could not be claimed because the petitioner could not prove that her husband was legally divorced from the first wife.
The Court found that the divorce between the first wife and the petitioner’s husband was not according to the law. However, it was also noted that the first wife never made a claim for the rights in family pension and that she swore to an affidavit stating that she did not want any rights over the pension.
Thus, Justice Ramachandran found that there was no impediment in giving pension to the second wife even when the first marriage was not dissolved legally.
With the said observations, the Court held that the respondents can reconsider the petitioner’s request for family pension after hearing both the first and second wives. It also noted that if the first wife does not turn up for hearing, the authorities can consider that she was not interested in the family pension and disburse it to the petitioner without delay.
Case title: N.Sarojini Nambramcheri V Union of India
Case number: WPC No. 1968 of 2022
Counsel for the petitioner: Advocates K.Mohanakannan and H.Praveen
Counsel for the respondents: Central Government Counsel Joseph Rony Jose and Advocate Girish Kumar V
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Ker) 471
Click Here To Read/Download The Judgment