The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ruled that the widow of a deceased government servant is eligible for family pension even after remarriage. The order was issued by Administrative Member Praveen Mahajan.
CAT was hearing an application filed by one Ms. Renu Gupta, who was appointed as a storekeeper in 1998 on compassionate grounds after the death of her husband the year before. She was also granted family pension in accordance with Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 and other retiral benefits were offered.
She remarried later, and the family pension was transferred to their son on her request in 2002. Thereafter, in 2013, she made multiple requests for restoration of her family pension. These were, however, repeatedly rejected, with the authorities informing her that she cannot be granted family pension as she had remarried.
Ms. Gupta had now challenged this decision, and had also contended that she was entitled to “extra-ordinary pension”. Challenging the petition, the authorities had, on the other hand, submitted that her application was considered under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, and that hence, Extra Ordinary Pension (EOL) Rules would not apply to her, pointing out that the latter Rules are applicable only when death of the employee is attributable to Government service, which is not the case here.
They had further contended that her claim for grant of Extra Ordinary Pension after 20 years of her husband’s death has no merit and that she has already been granted family pension under CCS (Pension) Rules as per her entitlement.
The Tribunal agreed with the authorities, ruling that she was, in fact, not entitled to extraordinary pension, observing, “On going through the facts of the case, I am of the view that applicant’s claim for grant of Extra Ordinary Pension under CCS (EOP) Rules is not maintainable for the reasons that the death of her husband late Shri Pawan Kumar Gupta is not attributable to the government service, nor has this been agitated/claimed by the applicant. After having availed of family pension for almost 15-16 years she cannot conveniently be allowed to agitate the issue with no fresh cause of action.”
It, however, accepted Ms. Gupta’s reliance on an OM issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in April, 2011, wherein the Department had clarified that the childless widow of a deceased Central Government employee who had expired before 1.1.2006, shall be eligible for family pension.
Accepting this submission, the Tribunal ruled, “However, regarding grant of family pension, transferred to her son in the year, 2002, I find that there is no dispute that (childless) widow of a deceased government servant, is eligible for family pension even if she remarries. I do not agree with the contention of learned counsel for respondents, Shri Rajinder Nischal that OM dated 01.04.2011 can only be prospective in nature since the OM is only clarificatory in nature. Principally, it has been held by the Government that even in the case of re-marriage of a widow, family pension can be given.”
It, therefore, asserted that since Ms. Gupta is legally entitled for family pension under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, there seems no legal bar in re-transferring the pension in her name. It further noted that the NOC from her son is also available.
The authorities were then directed to restore Ms. Renu’s family pension in her name, prospectively, within a span of four months.