The Allahabad High Court observed that the nominee of a government employee serves as a mere custodian and emphasized that post-death benefits must be legally granted to the legal heirs.

The Court dismissed the Petition seeking retiral benefits of Late Bhojraj Singh as his nominee, claiming to have lived with him as his wife. However, the Court noted the lack of legal wedlock between the Petitioner and Bhojraj Singh and the lack of divorce during his lifetime.

“A nominee of a Government employee is just a custodian and benefit after death of Government employee has to be conferred or granted in accordance with law, i.e., to his/ her legal heirs”, the Bench of Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery observed.

Advocate Rakesh Kumar Rahore appeared for the Petitioners and Advocate Himanshu Singh appeared for the State.

The Petitioner, approached the High Court claiming retiral benefits as the nominee of the late Sri Bhojraj Singh, who retired in 2012 and passed away in 2021. She asserted that she lived with him for several years as his wife. The Petitioner contended that there was a past proceeding under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC), resulting in a compromise and the receipt of an agreed amount by the Respondent, implying an abandonment of any rights.

The Respondent, legally wedded to Bhojraj Singh, argued that the Petitioner, not being the legal spouse, was not entitled to the retiral benefits.

The Court referred to the case of Shipra Sengupta v Mridul Sengupta and others [(2009) 10 SCC 680] and noted that the Petitioner was not the legally wedded wife of Bhojraj Singh, whereas the Respondent held that legal status.

Additionally, the Bench noted that there was no dispute that during Bhojraj Singh's lifetime, he did not divorce Respondent. The argument that the Respondent's compromise in the Section 125 CrPC proceedings implied an abandonment of her rights was deemed legally incorrect.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Petition.

Cause Title: Rajni Rani v State of UP and others (2024:AHC:5349)

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