Right to Pension of Widow - No divorce between them - In such circumstances the widower, even though staying separately and even though exclude in the nomination, held entitled to family pension

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Before :- G.B. Pattanaik and Umesh C. Banerjee, JJ.
Civil Appeal No. 2458 of 1999. (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 1117 of 1999) D/d. 23.4.1999.

G.L. Bhatia - Appellant
Versus
Union of India & another - Respondents

Supreme Court of India Judgments

ORDER
1. Leave granted.
2. The sole question that arises for consideration in this appeal is whether the appellant
, who happens to be the husband of the deceased government servant, is entitled to family pension under the provisions of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules (for short "the rules") notwithstanding the fact that the deceased wife in her nomination did not include the husband. The forums below have taken the view agreeing with the authorities that since the nomination was not in favour of the husband and the husband was staying separate from the wife, the husband would not be entitled to family pension in question. This view cannot be sustained in view of the provisions contained in Rule 54 of the rules. It is too well settled that where rights of the parties are governed by statutory provisions, the individual nomination contrary to the statute will not operate.
3. Under Rule 54 sub-rule (14)(b)(i) the expression "family" has been defined thus:
    "54. (14)(b)(i) Wife in the case of a male government servant, or husband in the case of a female government servant?."
4. Sub-rule (8)(ii) of Rule 54 states that:
    "54. (8)(ii) If a deceased government servant or pensioner leaves behind a widow or widower, the family pension shall become payable to the widow or widower, failing which to the eligible child."
5. In the light of the aforesaid provisions and there being no divorce between the husband and wife even though they might be staying separately, the appellant husband would be entitled to the family pension in terms of the rules as noted aforesaid and the authorities, therefore, committed error in not granting family pension to the appellant relying upon the nomination made by the deceased wife of the appellant. The impugned order is, accordingly, set aside and this appeal stands allowed.

Appeal allowed.
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