The Madras High Court Bench here has reiterated that the wife of a dead government pensioner can be granted family pension by relaxing the relevant rules even if her husband had not declared her as his nominee before his death.

Justice K. Chandru made the observation while ordering family pension to an aged widow, who managed to get a divorce decree, originally obtained by her husband in 2003, reversed by the High Court in August last year though her husband died in January 2010 itself.

Malarvizhi filed the present writ petition in 2010 seeking a direction to the Accountant General's office to grant family pension to her towards services rendered by her husband as a secondary grade teacher in an elementary school in Sivaganga district until his retirement in February 2002.

The Tiruppattur Treasury Officer stated that a nominee entered in the government employee's service register was the only person eligible to receive family pension. But, the petitioner's husband had not nominated anyone till his retirement. The officer also pointed out that the petitioner's husband had filed a divorce case against the petitioner. However, the judge pointed out that pursuant to the filing of the counter affidavit in the present writ petition, the High Court allowed a second appeal filed by the petitioner and reversed the divorce decrees passed and confirmed by the courts below. In the light of the subsequent development there was no legal impediment in holding that the petitioner was the wife of Poovalingam.

In so far as the absence of her name in the nominee's column was concerned, the judge said that he had decided a similar issue in another case in 2007 itself.

In that case, the judge held that family pension could not be denied on technicalities such as the pensioner's failure to nominate especially when the object of the family pension scheme was to enable the family of the deceased Government servant to survive even after his death.

“As such when a welfare measure has been introduced with the purpose to enable the family of the deceased Government to survive that cannot be defeated by standing on mere technicalities,” the judge said and ordered the officials to grant family pension to Malarvizhi within twelve weeks.