Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Anoop Chitkara J. remarked “There is neither any illegality nor the maintenance beyond the petitioner’s means; as such, there are no merits in the present petition.”

The facts of the case are such that the petitioner persuaded and married the respondent when she was a widow with three children. In the beginning, her marital life was good, but later on, his attitude changed, which led to discord, and he even withdrew his financial support. He would spend money on liquor instead of giving it to her and her children. Furthermore, he would abuse, assault, and beat the petitioner on trivial matters. Given such behavior and the absence of financial support, it became impossible for her to reside with him in his house. Consequently, she was forced to shift to the house of her first husband, where Subhash Chand neither paid visit nor gave any money. The petitioner’s wife filed an application under Section 125 Criminal Procedure Code i.e. CrPC, seeking monthly maintenance from the petitioner-husband which was thereby allowed. The petitioner stated that she is still drawing benefits, which is being given to widows, and, as such, her drawing such benefits would show that she never solemnized marriage with him. The husband challenged the said order by filing criminal revision before Sessions Judge, Bilaspur which was dismissed too. Challenging both the orders, the husband filed the instant petition under Section 482 of CrPC.

The Court relied on judgment Ramesh Chander Kaushal v. Veena Kaushal, AIR 1978 SC 1807, wherein it was observed regarding Section 125 CrPC as under:

 “[9]. this provision is a measure of social justice and specially enacted to protect women and children and falls within the constitutional sweep of Article 15 (3) reinforced by Article 39. We have no doubt that section of statutes calling for construction by courts are not petrified print but vibrant words with social functions to fulfil. The brooding presence of the constitutional empathy for the weaker sections like women and children must inform interpretation if it has to have social relevance. So viewed, it is possible to the selective in picking out that interpretation out of two alternatives which advances the cause – the cause of the derelicts.”

The Court observed that S. 125 (1) (a) of CrPC provides grant of maintenance to the wife, unable to maintain herself. Proviso to S. 125 CrPC empowers the Magistrate to order monthly allowance for the interim maintenance and also the expenses of such proceeding during its pendency. The foundation of the measures of social Justice enacted by the Legislature lay beneath the sweep of Article 15 (3) of the Constitution of India. It fulfills the concept of a welfare State in a vibrant democracy by safeguarding wives and children and preventing them from the modes of vagrancy and its consequences. Given above, it would be appropriate for the Courts to direct the person against whom an application is made under S. 125 of the Code to pay some reasonable sum by way of maintenance to the applicant pending final disposal of the application.

The Court further observed that the contents of the wife’s application, which is supported by her affidavit, prima-facie make out just grounds for the wife to live separately and that she could not sustain financially, making out a case for interim maintenance.

The Court thus held “There is neither any illegality nor the maintenance beyond the petitioner’s means; as such, there are no merits in the present petition. Furthermore, if the Court concludes that Krishani Devi played fraud upon Subhash Chand, it would undoubtedly have consequences. Given above, the impugned orders are well reasoned and call for no interference.”

[Subhash Chand v. Krishani Devi, 2021 SCC OnLine HP 7309, decided on 20-09-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearances

For Petitioner- Adv. T S Chauhan

For Respondent- Adv. Seema Azad

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: Biswanath Rath, J. dismissed both appeals being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are such that the deceased, at about 8 P.M. was proceeding to perform his duty by a bicycle on left side of the road near Balugaon Bazaar on N.H.5 when the offending Truck came in high speed in a rash and negligent manner and dashed against the deceased from his backside resulting in his death.

A claim petition by the claimants i.e. the legal heirs of the deceased was filed seeking compensation which was thereby granted by the Tribunal. Assailing the said order, the insurance company filed one appeal primarily on the question of quantum, and another appeal was filed by the legal heirs for enhancement of compensation

Two appeals have been filed which was collectively taken by the Court and disposed off by the common order.

Counsel for the insurance company Mr G Mishra submitted that the fact of future gain to the family on account of death of the deceased by way of compassionate appointment given to the wife should have also been kept in mind of the Tribunal while granting compensation and future prospects.

Counsel for the claimants Mr KK Das submitted that widow’s compassionate appointment and getting salary/some benefits on the death of her husband not to be deducted from gross income while calculating compensation

The Court relied on judgment Helen C. Rebello v. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation and observed that  “bank balance, shares, fixed deposits, etc. though are all a pecuniary advantage receivable by the heirs on account of one’s death but all these have no co-relation with the amount receivable under a statute occasioned only on account of accidental death. How could such an amount come within the periphery of the Motor Vehicles Act to be termed as ‘pecuniary advantage’ liable for deduction.”

 The Court further relied on Vimal Kanwar v. Kishore Dan, 2013(3) TAC6 (SC) and observed that “Compassionate appointment” can be one of the conditions of service of an employee, if a scheme to that effect is framed by the service leaving behind the dependents, one of the dependents may request for compassionate appointment to maintain the family of the deceased employee dies in harness. This cannot be stated to be an advantage receivable by the heirs on account of one’s death and have no correlation with the amount receivable under a statute occasioned on account of accidental death.”

The Court thus held “this Court finds none of the grounds agitated by the Insurance Company remains sustainable in the eye of law.” 

The Court further held “the bereaved family got the premature superannuation benefits on the head of the deceased and also an employment under rehabilitation assistance scheme, this Court observes grant of Rs.1,00,000/- towards funeral expenses be considered as compensation towards funeral expenses, loss of estate as well as loss of love and affection. In the above view, this Court is not inclined to grant any further amount on the above heads except directing to treat grant of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh) only towards funeral expenses as expenses on the head of loss of estate and for loss of love and affection as well as loss of consortium”. 

In view of the above, both the appeals were dismissed.[S. Divya v. P. Ramalingeswar, MACA Nos. 593 & 774 of 2016, decided on 05-04-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT): Pradeep Kumar, Member (A) addressed the instant application wherein the widow of one Narayan Dutt, who was engaged as casual labour on 18-12-1972 under the respondent-Railway, had sought for the grant of family pension.

The deceased was drawing a basic pay of Rs 226/- p.m. when he, unfortunately, died on 28-07-1983, leaving behind three children – a 4 years old son and two daughters; 2 years and 6 months at that time. The applicant submitted that gratuity was paid to her at the time of death and subsequently, her elder son Brij Mohan was appointed on compassionate ground as a Group-D employee by the respondent-Railway on pay scale of Rs 2550-3200.

The grievance of the applicant was that in spite of repeated representations since 1983,

for directions to grant family pension, leave encashment, insurance, GPF, death-cum- retirement benefits along with arrears of family pension, the same had not been released by the respondent. Reliance was placed by the applicant on the decision of Supreme Court in Prabhavati Devi v. Union of India, (1996) 7 SCC 27, and on the following rule:

75. Family Pension Scheme for railway servants, 1964

(2) Without prejudice to the provisions contained in sub-rule (3), where a railway servant dies:-

  1. a) after completion of one year of continuous service,

***

the family of the deceased shall be entitled to a family pension 1964 (hereinafter in this rule referred to as family pension) the amount of which shall be determined in accordance with the Table below…”

On the other hand the respondent argued that the deceased was not a regular employee. Since the husband of the applicant was unscreened, his services could not be treated as a Substitute or permanent and as such, applicant was not entitled to any of the benefit sought in the OA.

The Bench observed that the total service from 18-12-1972 to 28-07-1983 out of which the service as an authorised scale employee was from 01-04-1974 to 28-07-1983 which was a period more than 9 years as against one year specified. Noticing further that according to the notification released by Assistant Personnel Officer-IV, Delhi Division, the deceased had acquired the status of a substitute, the Bench opined that under such conditions substitute should be accorded all the rights and privileges as may be admissible to a temporary Railway servants from time to time on completion of six months continuous service.

Relying on Prabhavati Devi’s case, which was similarly placed as that of the applicant, the Bench said the applicant could not be denied the benefit of family pension and other retiral dues as applicable to a temporary Railway servant.

Hence, the respondents were directed to allow family pension and other terminal dues as per rules with arrears to be paid within a period of eight weeks. It was further clarified that the arrears for the period prior to 23-05-2018 should not carry any interest. The arrears which were due as of 23-05-2018 would carry interest at 6% p.a. w.e.f. 23-05-2018.[Kamla Devi v. Union of India, O.A. No.2208 of 2018, decided on 16-03-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court:

For the applicant: Adv. T.D.Yadav,

For the respondents: Adv. K.K.Sharma

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava (Chairperson) and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve (Member) A heard the instant application, whereby the mother of the ex-serviceman had sought for the grant of family pension.

The facts of the case were such that one, Sepoy Tarun Kumar Yadav was enrolled in Indian Army on 14-12-2004. Unfortunately, on 27-01-2013, when the deceased soldier was on temporary duty cum leave, he died in a car accident leaving behind his widow and mother as his dependants. A Court of Inquiry was conducted and the death of deceased soldier was declared as a physical casualty. Being nominee, Babita Yadav, widow of the deceased was paid all pensionary benefits after the death of soldier.

Thereafter, applicant being mother of the deceased soldier made several correspondences with the respondents for grant of at least half of the awards entitled to her son after his death but to no avail. The applicant submitted that,

After few months of death of her son, her daughter-in-law left her matrimonial house and started living with her parents in her parental house. She was repeatedly requested and persuaded to remain with the family as the applicant was completely shattered by the sudden death of her son and the separation of daughter-in-law was another blow to the applicant.  

Applicant was solely dependent on the earning of her son during her life time and after the death of her son, the widow had been paid all benefits and presently she was being paid family pension. Therefore, the applicant claimed that as per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and Govt. of India, Ministry of Defence letter dated 31-01-2001, the applicant was entitled for pensionary and other benefits as applicable to the parents of the deceased soldier and accordingly, applicant should be given 50% share of family pension which had been paid to the wife of deceased solider.

The Tribunal observed that According to Section 8 of Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Class I heirs are entitled to get share in assets left by a deceased. Since the widow had no child, the widow and mother were entitled to get share of family pension, being inherited property of the deceased soldier. The Tribunal expressed,

“It was the moral and even legal duty of widowed daughter-in-law to look after properly to the parents of deceased soldier who were wholly dependent on their son during his service and after death on his pensionary benefits, but to leave them in a destitute condition and herself living quite comfortably on the pensionary benefits of deceased soldier is quite unjust and unlawful on the part of her.”

In the light of above, the state was directed to consider the claim of the applicant for division of family pension in equal share (i.e. 50% each) between the wife and mother of deceased soldier.[Sunita Devi v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine AFT 2080, decided on 02-03-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

For the Applicant: Shri V.P. Pandey, Advocate

For the Respondents: Dr. Shailendra Sharma Atal Central Govt Counsel and Shri R.Chandra, Advocate

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: S.M. Modak, J., dealt with some significant issues in a claim petition wherein a widow is earning and has prospects of remarriage.

The present matter dealt with a very interesting issue involving an appeal about the entitlement of widow to the compensation who got remarried during the pendency of petition before Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.

What is the effect of a marriage of widow on her right to claim compensation on account of the death of her husband in a vehicular accident?

Whether due to marriage, her right vanishes?

Further, the issue is whether an earning wife can be said to be dependent of her husband?

MACT did not reject the widow’s claim but allotted less share to her. Insurance company on being aggrieved with the same, came in appeal, wherein the submissions were as follows:

  • the widow was working since the beginning and she was earning separately and as such, she is not depending on the income of her deceased husband and
  • she lost her right to compensation on account of remarriage during the pendency of the petition.

Decision, Law and Analysis

Bench laid down the focus on the following issues:

a] Whether separate earnings of the widow has got any bearing on her right to claim compensation?

b] Whether remarriage of widow dis-entitles her from claiming compensation?

ISSUE OF DEPENDENCY & REMARRIAGE

Bench observed that though the tribunal had outrightly rejected the ground of remarriage, but it apportioned the amount of compensation lesser in comparison to the 2 children and mother.

While analyzing the issue, it was also stated that

The widow is certainly one of the heirs on which property of a Hindu devolves as per intestate succession. Now, it is interesting to see how the word ‘dependent’ has evolved. It has been judicially recognized that –

a] age of the deceased,

b] income of the deceased and

c] number of dependents

are 3 factors to be considered while fixing the quantum of compensation. From his earning the deceased will spend on himself and on his near relatives/dependents. So when a person dies in a vehicular accident, dependents/near relatives losses the amount contributed by the deceased towards them.

Supreme Court has laid down guidelines on how to calculate contribution to personal expenses and contribution towards dependents. It depends upon the status of the deceased (married/unmarried) and on the number of dependents.

More the number of dependents, lesser will be the contribution towards personal expenses.

Bench in view of the above discussion noted the fact that the eligibility of dependency does not come first, it comes later while arriving at the quantum of compensation. Issue of ‘legal representative’ will come first while entertaining the claim petitions.

Supreme Court in the decision of Manjuri Bera v. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., (2007) 10 SCC 643, held that even married daughter residing with husband (though not dependent on the income of the father) being legal representative is entitled to claim compensation under Section 140 (no faulty liability) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Punjab and Haryana High Court in Kartar Kaur. v. Manoj Kumar, 2014 SCC OnLine P&H 25130 held that

“Dis-entitling a woman on account of remarriage would go against the proposal of remarriage of widow after the death of the husband. Taking such drastic view would discourage the remarriage after the death of the husband.”

Similarly in National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Nidhi Goel, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 6920, it is observed that –

“accepting the proposition of Insurance Company would militate against the right of widow to remarry and it would not be in public interest or in the interest of the Society at large.”

In view of the above decisions it can be found that a consistent view has been taken by all the Courts, that remarriage does not disqualify the widow from claiming compensation.

Continuing with the above analysis, Bench added that

the tribunal should consider the situation prevailing when the cause of action arises. At the time when the accident took place, the widow is the legal representative of the deceased, certainly, she is entitled to claim compensation. What we do is to determine the amount of compensation and its apportionment amongst the eligible persons. So when a widow approaches the Tribunal, she wants to exercise her right which has become part of her estate.

Hence, the Court agreed with the consistent view taken by the Courts.

APPLICATION OF MEASURES

In accordance with Supreme Court guidelines to have uniformity in arriving at the income, it can be stated that if the deceased is having 2-3 dependents, it is presumed that he spends 1/3rd on his personal expenses. If the deceased is having 4-6 dependents, it is presumed that he spends 1⁄4th of his income on his personal expenses.

CRUCIAL ISSUE

When she is having a separate income, whether the widow can be said to be depending on the income of the deceased?

There are two aspects with respect to the above issue:

One is deciding the percentage for personal expenses and towards the contribution of dependents.

Second is the apportionment of compensation which comes later.

As per the guidelines of the Supreme Court given in various judgments, if wife is considered as one of the dependents, then there is a tendency to spend more on an individual and percentage of spending on dependents will be less. If number of dependents is more, there is tendency to spend less on an individual and spend more on dependents.

In the instant case, Court observes that both the spouses are earning. Monthly salary available of the deceased is Rs 23, 431. Where salary of widow Pushpa (for the month of January 2014) had come to Rs 40,044.

Bench expressed that, Separate earning of the widow does not relieve the deceased husband from contributing towards the expenses.

To the above observation Court added that if the evidence on the point of spending by every individual spouse could have been available, this Court might have deleted the widow from the list of dependents.

Hence the Court affirmed the percentage of distribution arrived by the tribunal.

Therefore, High Court opined that case for deleting the widow from list of dependents is not made out by the Insurance Company and remarriage will divest the widow from her right to claim compensation.

APPORTIONMENT

Mother of the deceased was also having two earning sons. It is also their responsibility, so why she shall be given 30%? In fact, more attention towards the two children of the deceased should have been paid.

High Court felt that the widow does not deserve to get Rs 4,00,000 as she was already earning and prospects of re-marriage were there. She also had received service benefits of deceased and amount of L.I.C partially.

Amount was apportioned in the following manner:

Widow Rs 2,00,000  

50% of remaining amount of Rs 40,13,000 after deducting Rs 7,00,000

Son Rs 16, 56, 500
Daughter Rs 16,56,500
Mother Rs 5,00,000

[Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pushpa Narayan Khurde, First Appeal No. 1379 of 2018, decided on 18-12-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker, J., modified the sum of the award granted to a widow by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.

The instant appeal was filed challenging the judgment and award passed by the Additional District Judge wherein the sum of Rs 70,000 with an interest of rate 7% was awarded.

Brief facts

The deceased was 62 years of age at the time of the accident. The claimant was the sole surviving legal heir of the deceased. Further, it was added that the deceased was a retired railway employee and was getting pension.

In view of the above circumstances, the pension was halved and the widow was getting Rs 14,000 which shows that she lost Rs 14,000 because of the sad demise of her husband.

MACT awarded a sum of Rs 70,000 while relying on the decision of Supreme Court in National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi, (2017) 16 SCC 680 holding that there was no loss of income.

Further tribunal held that claimant was the legal heir and legal representative of the deceased, the deceased was 62 years of age whose income was shown to be Rs 30,000 per month but no document was produced, hence tribunal did not believe the income to the deceased to be Rs 30,000.

Tribunal also added to its observation that the deceased had been receiving the pension of Rs 28,000 and after his death, family pension of Rs 14,000 is being received by the claimant herself.

Therefore, as the deceased was getting Rs 28,000/- approx as a pension, 50% of the same he would be spending on himself and, therefore, Rs 14,000 would be the monthly datum figure available to the widow.

Issue:

Can the claimant a widow who receives family pension be deprived of compensation is the main question which arises for consideration. If the answer to it is in the negative, what compensation is she entitled to?

Bench stated that, Tribunal ought to have considered the fact that had her husband survived, she would have got a sum of Rs 28,000 per month which has now been halved. Court stated that the multiplier applicable would be ‘7’ as the deceased was in the age bracket of 61-65 years in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Sarla Verma v. Delhi Transport Corporation, (2009) 6 SCC 121 which has been not considered by the Tribunal and has given reasonings which can be said to be questionable.

Further, relying on the decision of this Court in Regional Manager, UPSRTC v. Nisha Dubey, First Appeal from Order No. 3154 of 2013, no deduction from the pension is allowed.

In view of the above, total compensation of Rs 4,97,000 would be granted.

As far as the issue of rate of interest is concerned, it should be 7.5% in view of the latest decision of the Supreme Court in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Mannat Johal, (2019) 15 SCC 260.

The claimant is the widow of a railway officer and, therefore, she is not illiterate, hence, all the amount need not be invested but shall be transferred to her account.

In view of the above, the appeal was partly allowed. [Subhadra Pandey v. Siddharth Agrawal, First Appeal From Order No. 1237 of 2018, decided on 07-12-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of R.D. Dhanuka and Surendra P. Tavade, JJ., upheld the trial court’s decision based on circumstantial evidence of a woman murdering her newly born female child.

Appellant has filed the present appeal against the judgment passed by the Additional Sessions Judge by which she was convicted for the offence punishable under Section 302 of Penal Code, 1860. Appellant has been acquitted for Section 317 IPC — Exposure and abandonment of child under twelve yearsby parent or person having care of it.

Facts of the Case

Informant while going to attend his duty saw a newly born female child lying beside the road, alive and lodged a complaint regarding this at the Uran police station.

PW11 in the meanwhile reached the spot and took the child to his house wherein his mother PW-6 bathed the child and later reported the matter to the police.

Later the police made enquiry with Hirabai who informed that she saw the appellant as pregnant, therefore police called the appellant.

Police took the child, appellant and Hirabai to the hospital wherein the child and appellant were allotted Cot No. 4. After a few hours, nurse found out that the child was movementless and on examining the child it was found that the child was dead.

In the postmortem report, it was found that the child died due to strangulation. Hence, crime no. 89 of 1993 was registered against the appellant.

Appellant was put under arrest and charge sheet was filed under Sections 317 and 302 IPC.

Trial Court on going through the evidence of record acquitted the appellant under Section 317 IPC but convicted her for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

Circumstantial Evidence

When the case is based on circumstantial evidence, the motive plays a vital role. Generally, motive remains in the mind of the culprit, so it is difficult to prove it. The motive can be proved by circumstances of the case and the acts of the culprit.

In view of the circumstances of the present matter, it is clear that the custody of the child was with the appellant at the time of the death of the child.

The crucial circumstance against the appellant/accused is that she was having custody of the child in the hospital and ultimately child found dead on Cot No.4; so the effect of an acquittal of the appellant/accused under Section 317 of the Indian Penal Code would not come in the way of the prosecution to hold her guilty under Section 302 of the IPC.

It would have been a shame for the appellant/accused and the delivery of child would have affected her character since she was a widow for 8 years. Hence, the appellant/accused had a motive to done away with the life of the child

Homicidal Death

Prosecution has proved all the circumstances namely the abandonment of child, the good physical condition of the child prior to the death, the child was in possession of appellant/accused since the child was referred to the Rural Hospital, Uran. The prosecution has proved the homicidal death of the child.

Hence the Court concluded that chain of circumstances against the appellant was also proved beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt.

“There was nobody else except the appellant to commit murder of the said child.”

In view of the above circumstances, the appeal was dismissed. [Kamlabai Tukaram Gharat v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 850, decided on 11-08-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a widow in her late 20s was allegedly sold by her father and aunt for Rs 10,000/-, gang-raped by her keeper his friends and then turned away by the police when she approached them for help. It also reveals that the traumatized woman set herself on fire last month and is not battling for life with 80 percent burns at a private hospital in Delhi.

The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, and Director General of Police, Government of Uttar Pradesh, calling for a detailed report of the treatment of the victim lady, ensuring protection to her life and steps to be taken for her rehabilitation. The DGP has been further directed to inform the Commission in detail about the progress of the investigation and arrest, if any, be made to the perpetrators. It has called for both the reports within four weeks.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, amount to gross violation of human rights of the victim woman. These give an extremely shocking and pulsating narrative depicting vulnerability of the helpless woman, who became a widow at an early age, whereby she had been subjected to huge kind of deprivation of human life and dignity. Moreover, remissness and the act of negligence on the part of police authorities for not registering the case timely by arresting the accused person has aggravated the distressful plight of the lady, which cannot be tolerated in a civilized society governed by rule of law.

The Commission has observed that it has always been keen to address the issues relating to violation of human rights of the weaker section mainly women and children. It is conscious of the fact that the Delhi Commission for Women has issued Notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh but jurisdiction of said Commission fails to empower them to provide adequate justice to the victim, the lady in question. Any Commission other than National Commission has its jurisdiction within the territory of the State and Delhi Commission for Women is also not an exception. On the other hand, the National Human Rights Commission in view of Section 1 (2) of the PHR Act, 1993, can exercise its power and functions whole of India and therefore jurisdictional issue of Section 36 (1) of the said Act, will not stand in the way to take up the reported incident.

According to the media report, carried today on the 13th May, 2019, the woman from Hapur in West Uttar Pradesh, was allegedly sold after the death of her husband. The man who bought her had taken loans from several people and sent the woman as domestic help to the houses of his creditors where she was repeatedly harassed and raped. The news report also stated that an FIR had now been registered against the 14 persons under the various sections of rape and investigation initiated in the case. The news report also reveals that the Delhi Commission for Women has taken up her case and written to the Utter Pradesh Chief Minister seeking justice for the woman.

It is reported that the woman alleged that she approached the police officials as well as Superintendent of Police, Hapur but they refused to register her complaint, let alone take any action against the accused.


[Press Release dt. 13-05-2019]

NHRC

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Debangsu Basak, J. dismissed a petition filed by widow of a deceased teacher seeking directions to respondent authorities to accept her change of option from provident fund to family pension scheme.

The petitioner submitted that the deceased employee did not exercise the option of change-over during his lifetime because he had no opportunity to do so as the law relating to switchover stood settled subsequent to his death. On the other hand, the Government Pleader submitted that the option of switchover was available only to living employees, and the deceased teacher never exercised the option in his lifetime, so her widow could not be allowed to exercise such option now.

The High Court perused the record and considered submissions made by the parties. It also referred to its various earlier decisions on the same subject. The Court found that there was a divergence of opinion as to whether a widow of deceased employee should be allowed to exercise the option of switchover from contributory provident fund cum gratuity scheme to pension including family pension cum gratuity scheme? However, the Court followed the decision in Renuka Khatua v. State of W.B., 2016 SCC OnLine Cal 1442,  rendered by a Division Bench which was later in time. Furthermore, in the facts of the present case, there was nothing on record to suggest that the deceased employee opted for Revision of Pay Allowances, 1990 during his lifetime. The employees who opted for ROPA 1990 were given fresh opportunity to submit option for switchover. The Court held that in such circumstances no relief could be given to the accused. The petition was accordingly dismissed. [Bula Chakraborty v. State of W.B.,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 5951, dated 04-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Meghalaya High Court: A civil writ petition praying for granting pensionary benefits to the petitioner after 25 years of death of her husband, was allowed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, CJ.

The husband of the petitioner who retired from Assam Rifles, had died in 1993. After that the pension and other benefits were not given to her by the respondents, creating an impression on her that same was not permissible. The petitioner continued to live in destitute and a literary magazine, working towards improving lives of old aged men and women, espoused the cause of the petitioner. However, the respondents refused to allow payment of pensionary benefits. Aggrieved thus, the present petition was filed.

The High Court perused the record and found that the petitioner was an illiterate woman living in far off area; thus the delay of even around 25 years ought to be condoned and that would not stand as a bar to the claim of the petitioner. Further, simply alleging that the petitioner had eloped with another man during her marriage with the deceased husband, as was done by the respondents, was without meaning or logic. Lastly, since the parties were Hindus, the alleged divorce between the petitioner and her husband could have been granted under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act 1995. In absence of any such decree, this contention of the respondents was also liable to be rejected. In such facts and circumstances, the petition was allowed and the respondents were ordered to pensionary benefits to the petitioner as were due to her since the death of her husband. [Dhan Maya v. Union of India,  2018 SCC OnLine Megh 52, dated 31-5-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Arun Bhansali J., dismissed a writ petition on the basis of unreasonable and baseless grounds placed in regard to the grievance.

The brief facts of the case are that the petitioner was a widow and had been appointed in the said category of “widow” as a grade three teacher and eventually she had been transferred to a few other schools one after the other.

The primary contention of the petitioner is that she being an appointee in the category of “widow” is aware of the fact that in accordance to Rule 7B of the Rajasthan Educational Service Rules, 1970, she can only be replaced with a widow in place of her, whereas there was a violation of a rule in which as she was replaced by some person named Sanwat Singh Rathore. She also placed further contention saying that, due to certain ailments she was restricted from any kind of movement. For the stated reasons she had filed the petition asking for quashing of transfer order.

The Hon’ble High Court, concluded its order by stating that the contentions posed by the petitioner in regard to manning of her position has been declared to be illegal, the point which talks about violation of provision 7B of the Rules of 1970, the Court stated that the rule only talks about the reservation of vacancies for women and not the transfers/postings made. Though the Court by dismissing the petition has been considerate about the physical condition of the petitioner but subsequently observed that this cannot be the ground for invalidating the said transfer order. [Rani Lamba v. State of Rajasthan, 2018 SCC OnLine Raj 1301, dated 24-05-2018]