HC directs payment of family pension arrears from 1987

Twenty seven years after his father’s death, an individual from Ramanathapuram district has succeeded in proving that there was nothing illegal in the marriage between his father and mother and therefore the latter was eligible for half of family pension in the capacity of being a legally wedded second wife of a government servant.

Allowing a writ petition filed by the individual, Justice R. Mahadevan pointed out that the petitioner’s father M. Ramuthevar, a former government servant, had died on April 10, 1987. However, the Accountant General’s Office refused to grant part of family pension to his mother R. Kannathal on the ground that her marriage was not valid in law.

The officials conceded that Tamil Nadu Pension Rules provides for apportioning the family pension between two legally wedded wives of a government servant, but said that in the present case they had granted the pension in full to the first wife R. Angammal since a second marriage during the lifetime of the first wife was illegal as per the Hindu Marriages Act 1955.

Rebutting their contention, the judge pointed out that a birth certificate of the first child born to Ramuthevar and his second wife Kannathal had been issued on December 27, 1955. Through the certificate, it could be presumed that their marriage had taken place before the Hindu Marriage Act came into force and therefore its provisions would not apply to the petitioner’s case.

Since the Pension Rules permit grant of 50 per cent of family pension to a legally wedded second wife, the judge directed the Principal Accountant General to sanction half of the pension amount, besides paying the arrears along with interest from 1987.

It was also ordered that the amount should be settled within four weeks.