Madurai: Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled that non-production of marriage registration certificate cannot be a ground for rejection of family pension to the wife of a government employee.
Allowing a petition by 54-year old Thavamani, Justice S Vaidhyanathan held as unacceptable the argument of concerned officer that marriage registration certificate was mandatory and that unless or until the same was produced by the petitioner the family pension could not be extended.
"The officer's order is set aside. The officer is directed to extend the family pension to the petitioner without insisting upon the certificate," the judge said.
Petitioner had applied for family pension after her husband Raju, who had worked as Revenue Supervisor in Tamilnadu Power Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), died last year.
The internal audit officer (pension) of TANGEDCO rejected her clami vide an order on April 27 last year for want of her marriage registration certificate as per the Tamilnadu Registration of Marriages Act, 2009.
Assailing the order, the petitioner filed the petition in the court producing 12 documents, including marriage invitation, to prove that she is wife of the late Raju.
Petitioner's counsel M Thirunavukkarasu submitted that the internal audit officer failed to see that the Tamilnadu Registration of Marriages Act came into force only from November 24, 2009 and prior to that there was no such compulsion.
The Judge said the provision of the act gave an impression that registration of marriage was only optional. Besides The Hindu Marriage Act and Tamilnadu Hindu Marriage Registration Rules,also made it clear that registration of the marriage was only discretionary, not compulsory.
The judge further said that non-registration of marriage would not give right to one of the spouses to contend or take a stand that there was no valid marriage.
If such a stand was taken, it would not only collapse the entire system of marriage, but also create problem to the children born through the said unregistered marriage.
Though the intention of the legislature was appreciable, there was a loophole for avoidance of registration of the marriage, the Judge said.