Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: In a writ petition filed for entitlement of 50% dues of the Contributory Provident Fund (CPF) of the deceased brother of the petitioner, a Single Judge Bench comprising of Hrishikesh, J. gave four week’s time to the petitioner to bring material to show that she was a dependent member.

The petitioner was nominated by her late brother (FCI employee) for 50% share in the CPF. The remaining share was to be given to the wife of the deceased. The petitioner claimed the said share. However, the same was denied by the respondent- Food Corporation of India, on the ground that the petitioner was married.

The High Court considered the submission made by the respondent that according to Rule 2 (iii) of the Contributory Provident Fund Rules (India), 1962, it is only an unmarried sister who is entitled to a share in the CPF. The petitioner submitted that indeed she was married earlier, however her relationship with her husband got estranged and she was now divorced. The Court held that apart from the mentioning of the maintenance proceedings initiated by the petitioner against her husband, there was nothing on record to prove that she was divorced. Accordingly, the petitioner was given four week’s time to bring on record the necessary material to show that she was a dependent person on account of the dissolution of her marriage. [Nazrana Sultana Begum v. Food Corporation of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Gau 571, dated 24-05-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi, JJ held that the brother of a married female tenant is neither a ‘heir’ as visualized under Section 3(a) nor ‘family’ within the meaning of Section 3(g) of the U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972.

In the present case, the suit property was taken on rent by the father-in-law of deceased tenant and after his death, his son became tenant of the suit property. Upon his death, his wife i.e. the appellant’s sister became the tenant of the suit property.

The Court noticed that the word ‘heir’ is not defined in the Act and hence, it has to be given the same meaning as would be applicable to the general law of succession. Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act lays down the general order of succession to the property of a female intestate who dies after the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act and the exception carved out in Section 15(2)(b) provides for a special order of succession in case of property inherited by her from her husband or her father-in-law; but its operation is confined to the case of her dying without leaving a son or a daughter or children of pre-deceased children to inherit her property. Language used in the section clearly specifies that the property inherited from the husband and father-in-law would devolve upon the heirs of husband/father-in-law from whom she inherited the property. Hence, upon death of the deceased tenant, in terms of Section 15(2)(b) of the Hindu Succession Act, in the absence of any son or daughter, the tenancy would devolve upon the heirs of her husband.

Determining whether the appellant was “family” as per Section 3(g) of the Act, the Court said that the said section defines ‘family’, in relation to landlord which includes the spouse that is husband or wife of a person, male lineal descendants which means his or her son, son’s son, son’s son’s son and so on, parents, grandparents, unmarried, widowed, divorced daughter or granddaughter, etc. The definition given in the clause is an inclusive one and is supposed to be construed in its technical meaning which implies what is not given has to be excluded as not forming part of the family of landlord or tenant. Therefore, sisters and brothers of landlord and tenant are excluded from his/her family.  [Durga Prasad v. Narayan Ramchandaani, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 103, decided on 07.02.2017]


Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Deciding an appeal challenging the judgment passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal where the application for seeking pension on husband’s death was dismissed, the bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and R. Banumathi, J., allowed the ex-gratia grant of 10 Lakh to the appellants.

In the case, where the wife sought family pension for the death of her husband, it was contended that denial of family pension to the ‘next of kin’ of territorial army personnel who died after being disembodied from service is against the Article 14 of the Constitution. It was further contended that the Pension regulation for Army, 1961 apply to both regular army personnel and personnel of territorial army. On the contrary, the respondants contended that as per existing Pension Regulations, the territorial army personnel who died during disembodied state without completing fifteen years of embodied service are not entitled to receive service pensions. Also, emphasis was laid to Section 2 of Regulation 62 of ‘Ordinary Family Pension’ which states that ‘the regulations shall not apply to the members of territorial army other than those who die while rendering embodied service.

Considering the above mentioned contentions and the Report of Ministry of Defence for Reduction of Litigation, Review of Service & Pension Matters 2015 which states that ‘if the families of regular military personnel who die on leave are entitled to receive pension then by same logic even families of Territorial Army personnel are also entitled’, the Court, in the interest of justice and in exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India awarded grant of rupees ten lakhs payable to the appellant as against the order of the Armed Forces Tribunal.[Santosh Devi v Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 479 , decided on May 6, 2016].