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Widow Has Right Over Husband’s Pension Even If She Is Sentenced In Murder: Punjab & Haryana High Court [READ JUDGMENT]

The petitioner was restrained from receiving the pension on account of her conviction in a murder case

By: Malavika S Menon, BBA-LLB, Nehru Academy of Law

The plea was moved before the single Bench of Honorable Justice G. S Sandhawalia by the petitioner Baljinder Kaur, where she challenged the Haryana state authorities. The state authorities passed an order whereby they rejected her claim over the grant of arrears of monthly financial assistance and family pension. She moved a plea for the right over pension of her deceased husband who was a Teacher in Haryana Government Educational Service, died on November 18th, 2008 forsaking his wife and children.

As per the Deceased Government Employees Rule, 2006, monthly financial assistance must be provided for the dead’s family until the date employee should  have retired from the service after attaining the age of obsoleteness which was October 31st, 2017.

In the case of the petitioner’s husband, also as per the rule, a monthly family pension has been given after the expiry date of retirement.

The widow (petitioner) withdrew money for a particular period until she was involved in a murder case with Gurjeeth Singh, as a result of which she got sentenced to life imprisonment.

After the conviction, the said authorities restricted her from monthly allowance and the extended family pension which resulted in her filing a Mandamus writ claiming her rights.

The court observed that it is common as per Deceased Government Employees rule, 2006 and Punjab Civil Service Rules & Family Pension Rules, 1964 to restrict, withdraw or withhold pension if the holder is convicted of a serious crime but not in the case of financial aid received by family and there is no misconduct from the part of the family for not being entitled to the money.

Also opinioned that “It is not disputed that the petitioner-widow has committed the offence of murder and is on bail and her sentence has been suspended and, therefore, she requires to maintain herself and cannot be denied the financial assistance and it is not a bounty, as such, and is her right on account of the services rendered by her husband to the Government.”

The court also expressed that she was not acquitted for killing her husband Tarsem Singh. Hence her right can’t be denied, pension must be provided including the arrears pending from November 2017 with the simple interest of 6% per annum.

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