The Madras High Court on Saturday observed that there is no legal provision that prevents those receiving family pension for military services from receiving another pension from another government department.
The court made this observation while hearing a case involving the spouse of an ex-military man who demanded a second family pension from the Fire Department where her husband worked after retiring from the military.
R. Kesavan, the husband of K Gunasundari – the petitioner in question, was serving in the military before taking voluntary retirement in 1989. He was automatically entitled for pension from the Ministry of Defence. Almost three years later, Kesavan joined Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services as a fireman. He passed away on March 19, 2009 (still in service) due to snakebite. He was survived by Gunasundari and their three children.
Following his death, Gunasundari appealed for pension from the department on the ground that her deceased husband had put 17 years as a fireman. However, the authorities responded by saying that her request could not be entertained as the family was already receiving a pension from the military.
Following this, they asked her to furnish a certificate to the effect that her family was not receiving pension from the military, and also that she would not be entitled to any family pension in the future.
Acknowledging that she was indeed receiving family pension from the military, Gunasundari argued that it should not create any obstacle for her to receive a second pension from the department where her late husband worked for 17 years. However, her reply was promptly dismissed.
Gunasundari then seeked judiciary’s intervention in the case. Justice R Subbiah, the honorable judge hearing the case went on citing several earlier judgment of the court while ruling that the petitioner was eligible for a second family pension – even though she was not entitled to receive dearness allowance on pension from either fire service department or the military.