Thursday, 4 September 2014

Family Pension to Childless Remarried Widow of a Soldier

 From MILITARY NEWS 02 Sep 2014, sent by Col Thapa. 
Armed Forces Tribunal Says Soldier's Remarried Widow Is Entitled To Pension
 
The Armed Forces Tribunal has ruled that childless widows of Army Men who remarry, and continue to depend on the family pension as their primary source of sustenance, cannot be denied the benefit.
 
The Chennai bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal, quashing a petition which challenged the eligibility to pension of an Armyman's widow who had remarried, said family pension was not legal ownership subject to laws of succession but a welfare measure of the government.
 
Citing the precedent established by the Supreme Court, it said, "Pension schemes have an overriding effect over general laws of succession."
 
R Reddamma, mother of former Naik E Bhaskar, in a petition to the Army said her son had been in service for 16 years and was discharged in 2000. He died a year later and his wife Revathy received the family pension. She remarried in 2009 and was no more a widow. According to the Hindu laws of succession, Reddamma was now entitled to the pension, the petition said. When the Army rejected her petition, Reddamma moved the AFT.
 
Redamma's counsel said pension regulations of the Army stipulate that a widow who remarried can only receive pension if she married her husband's brother. This was not the case with Revathy, he said and Reddamma, therefore, had the right to receive the pension.
 
Countering the argument, Revathy said the rule applied only to special family pension and not ordinary pension. She said Bhaskar's mother was not entitled to pension. She also said Redamma was financially independent, with several properties and a thriving moneylending business.
 
A bench of judicial member V Periyah Kuppah and administrative member K Surendra Nath said Revathy was a childless widow who had remarried. The investigation report of the Army said the family pension was her only means of income and as such she was entitled to the pension.
 
"The mother is one of the legal heirs along with the widow and children of the deceased, according to the provisions of Hindu Succession Act. However family pension is not an estate but a welfare measure by the government," the bench said. It added that, according to the Army report, Redamma had independent sources of income from various immovable properties.
 
The Armed Forces Tribunal has ruled that childless widows of Army men who remarry, and continue to depend on the family pension as their primary source of sustenance, cannot be denied the benefit.       

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