Family pension denied to second wife as marriage was solemnized during subsistence of first marriage

Meghalaya High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, CJ. dismissed a writ petition filed against the order of denial of family pension to the petitioner.

Husband of the petitioner was in the Police Department under State of Meghalaya. After his death, the petitioner claimed family pension. The said claim was denied by the respondent Authorities, inter alia, on the ground that the marriage of the petitioner was solemnized with the deceased public servant in the year 1978, during subsistence of first marriage with his first wife. It was contended on behalf of the petitioner that marriage between the petitioner and the deceased was contracted in accordance with customs and usage in the local area which is protected under Section 3 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The High Court did not find favour with the contention of the petitioner and held that the marriage was void under Section 5(i) read with Section 11 HMA. It was further observed that registration of marriage in the year 2003 will not alter the position that marriage was contracted in 1978; knowledge or no knowledge of first marriage was immaterial. In such circumstances, it was held that the petitioner was not entitled to claim family pension. The petition was accordingly dismissed. [Debokala Thakuri v. State of Meghalaya, 2018 SCC OnLine Megh 93, dated 20-07-2018]

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