The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Jabalpur has dismissed a plea filed by a widow who claimed family pension holding that contracting second marriage itself is misconduct.

A Single Bench of Justice Vivek Agarwal said, “… when the whole situation is examined in the light of the Conduct Rules of 1965, then petitioner’s contention that she is second wife and is entitled to family pension is not made out because contracting second marriage itself is a misconduct. Thus, the impugned order when examined in the light of the Conduct Rules, then it cannot be said to be illegal or arbitrary. It is a speaking order giving reasons for denial of family pension to the petitioner, who claims to be second wife.”

The Bench asserted that as per Rule 22 of M.P. Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1965, irrespective of the personal laws, no government servant is entitled to contract a second marriage without first obtaining the permission of the government.

Advocate Arun Kumar Singh appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Government Advocate Manas Mani Verma appeared on behalf of the respondents.

In this case, a petition was filed assailing the order passed by the Superintendent of Police rejecting the claim of the petitioner to get a family pension on account of the death of her husband. The rejection order mentioned that her husband had a first marriage with another woman and in his service book, the name of the said woman was mentioned.

The petitioner contended that her husband had divorced his first wife and that she had taken divorce in 1998-99 as per tribal customs and traditions having legal sanctity. She further deposed that they were staying separately for the last 15 years and hence the first wife had no claim on the body and property of the husband.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the matter observed, “Sub rule 1 of the Rule 22 of the Rules, 1965 provides that “No government servant, who has a wife living shall contract another marriage without first obtaining the permission of the government, notwithstanding that such subsequent marriage is permissible under the personal law for the time being applicable to him.”

The Court further noted that the petitioner's claim as second wife has no legal sanctity in as much as there is no documentary evidence on record to show that the deceased had divorced his first wife.

“In fact in the affidavit, name is mentioned as Renu Kumari, whereas in the official record, name is mentioned as Rain Kumari. Thus, even the genuineness of the affidavit is also under suspicion”, said the Court.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the petition and denied the family pension to the petitioner.

Cause Title- Batasiya Maravi v. The State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

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