The Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras Bench, has ruled that the second wife of a deceased government employee is not entitled for appointment on compassionate ground, when the first marriage is still subsisting.

Dismissing a petition by the second wife of a railway employee, the Tribunal’s member, B.Venkateswara Rao, said, “When the (second) marriage itself is declared as voidable, it does not entitle the second wife for nomination of her name in Pension Payment Order for the purpose of family pension or benefits like compassionate appointment.

“The government servant should have been aware that when the first marriage is subsisting, contracting a second marriage without dissolution of the first is an offence under the Indian Penal Code. The authorities also should not have permitted the employee to include the name of the second wife in the family composition declaration,” he added.

L. Durga claimed that she was the second wife of V. Lakhmipathy, a railway employee who died in harness in 2008. His petition for divorce from his first wife was pending. Even before obtaining a decree of divorce, he married Durga in 1999. On his request, her name also has been included in his family composition. After Lakshmipathy’s death, she requested the Southern Railway for appointment on compassionate grounds. Her request was rejected .

Durga contended that her marriage with Lakshmipathy was not challenged by the first wife and no competent court had declared their marriage null and void.

However, Southern Railway contended that the deceased employee had not got any permission from the department for his second marriage in accordance with the Railway Servants Conduct Rules, 1966.

From Durga’s school record, it was apparent that her marriage took place when she was hardly 14. A child marriage could not be recognised for grant of compassionate appointment.

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