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No family pension to son adopted after death of govt employee: SC [Read Judgment]

By LawStreet News Network      18 January, 2023 06:40 PM      0 Comments
No family pension to son adopted after death of govt employee: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has declared that a child adopted by a widow of a government servant, subsequent to the death of her husband would not be entitled to family pension under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules.

"The deceased government servant would have had no relationship with the adopted child which would have been adopted subsequent to his demise," a bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna said.

The bench also pointed out the definition of the word “family” in relation to a government servant means various categories of persons coming within the nomenclature of the word “family” and all persons who would have had a familial relationship with the government servant during his lifetime.

"Any other interpretation would lead to abuse of the provision in the matter of grant of pension," the bench added.

The court also pointed out family pension was devised as a means to help the dependents of the deceased government servant tide over the crisis and to extend to them some succour.

"Therefore, the definition of the term ‘family’ cannot be extended to include those persons who were not even dependents of the government servant, at the time of his death," the bench said.

The top court dismissed a petition filed by Ram Shridhar Chimurkar against the Bombay High Court's judgement of November 30, 2015.

The High Court had reversed decision of the Central Administrative Tribunal which allowed his claim for family pension. Chimurkar was adopted by widow of Shridar Chimurkar, an employee of National Sample Survey Organisation, Nagpur, nearly two years after the death of her husband.

The petitioner, in his plea, submitted adoption made by a Hindu widow would be deemed to be an adoption by her deceased husband also, as per the provisions of Hindu Adoptions and Maintemance Act, 1956. Children adopted at any time after retirement of the government servant, including children adopted by the widow of the government servant after his death ought to be included under the definition of ‘family’ for the purpose of granting family pension, he contended.

The court, however, said provisions of the HAMA Act, 1956 determine the rights of a son adopted by a Hindu widow only vis-à-vis his adoptive family.

"Rights and entitlements of an adopted son of a Hindu widow, as available in Hindu Law, as against his adoptive family, cannot axiomatically be held to be available to such adopted son, as against the government, in a case specifically governed by extant pension rules," the bench said.

"The provisions of the HAMA Act, 1956 relate generally to the capacity of the female Hindu to take a son or daughter in adoption and the effects that follow such an adoption. The said provisions do not lend much assistance in the instant case which does not pertain to the rights of the adoptee such as the Appellant herein under Hindu Law, but to his rights and entitlements under the CCS (Pension) Rules. There exists a vital difference between the rights of an adopted son under Hindu Law and his rights to draw family pension, which creates a burden on the public exchequer," the bench added.

Citing the CCS Rules, the top court said it required that the family member must have a close nexus with the deceased government servant, and must have been dependent on him during his lifetime.

"Therefore, a son or daughter adopted by the widow of a deceased government servant, after the death of the government servant, could not be included within the definition of ‘family’ under Rule 54(14)(b) of the CCS (Pension) Rules," the bench said.

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