HC allows widow of constable to get part of benefits claimed by daughters

Published on Jun 27, 2021 07:31 PM IST

The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the Mumbai Police to disburse the monetary compensatory benefit accrued in the name of a deceased police official who succumbed to Covid in May 2020 between his second wife and two daughters from his first wife, who passed away before him

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HT Image
ByKAY Dodhiya, Mumbai

The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the Mumbai Police to disburse the monetary compensatory benefit accrued in the name of a deceased police official who succumbed to Covid in May 2020 between his second wife and two daughters from his first wife, who passed away before him. The second wife approached the court after the married daughters of the deceased constable’s first wife claimed rights to the 50 lakh compensation as well as the pension and gratuity benefits of their father as a result of which the benefits were withheld.

The court appointed a mediator to ensure that the feuding women reached a consensus and settled the matter amicably. After mediation, the second wife agreed to let the married daughters have a share in the compensation and other post-death benefits. However, the HC ordered that a part of the post-death benefits be deposited with the court till final orders.

The division bench of justice S C Gupte and justice M S Karnik while hearing the petition of Rekha Khandait, the wife of deceased head constable Jayant Khandait who was attached to the traffic education department, Byculla and succumbed to Covid on May 26, 2020, was informed by advocates Rushabh Sheth and Pratibha Rupnawar, that she was the second wife of the deceased constable and had a son too.

The advocates informed the court that after the death of the head constable, the police decided to process the 50 lakh compensation and other benefits accruing to his family. However, when Rekha applied for it, the married daughters of the deceased constable also claimed a right to the benefits like the government aid, payout from the Mumbai Police Foundation Trust as well as 7th Pay arrears, Death-cum-Retirement Gratuity, General Provident Fund, Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme Amount, Group Insurance Scheme and Leave Encashment dues.

It was submitted that the second wife had a right to the benefits accruing in the name of the constable but in light of the claims by the two daughters the payouts had been withheld which was resulting in the widow being unable to take care of herself and her son.

In an earlier hearing on March 25, another bench of HC after hearing the submissions had appointed advocate Rajiv Patil as a mediator and asked the disputing women to settle the matter amicably.

On June 19, Patil informed the bench that the women had reached a settlement and had agreed to share the benefits accruing in the name of the deceased head constable.

After hearing the terms of the settlement, the court, in its order allowed the widow to receive the pension. The compensation amounts were to be shared equitably among the three women. The court however ordered that while the two daughters would be entitled to claim half of the post-death benefits, the other half would be deposited in fixed deposits by the court which would be renewed from time to time till the case was finally decided.

The bench, while allowing the second wife and daughters to apply for succession certificate, restrained the state from appointing anyone from the relatives till the matter was decided.

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