For the woman, it was her second marriage.
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the government to resume paying pension to a woman whose husband working with the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) died in 2011. For the woman, it was her second marriage. She had divorced her first husband in 2007. The pension payment was discontinued by MbPT in 2013 after a complaint was received that the woman’s divorce from her first husband in 2007, done via a mutual consent, was irregular. The court held that the 2007 divorce of the woman, though not done through a competent court, was valid as was also her marriage to the deceased in 2010, and hence she had the right to get pension.
The division bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and B.P. Colabawalla was hearing a writ petition filed by Asha Raghu Roman through advocate Pradeep Thorat complained of the refusal of the finance department of the MbPT, pension division to pay her pension after they received a complaint from a relative of her deceased husband Raghu Roman. The complaint by Dnyaneshwar Roman claimed that Asha was not the legally wedded wife of Raghu in the absence of a proper divorce decree from a competent court.
However, Mr Thorat placed on record that his client Asha had married Zimesh Phapale in 2003 but had separated in 2007 by mutual consent in the presence of local government authorities but was not done in front of the competent court. After the divorce Phapale had remarried and Asha married the deceased MbPT employee Raghu in 2010. “On being asked by MbPT to provide proof of the divorce my client and her ex-husband approached the competent court and invoked section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 which was accepted by the Court
Civil Judge, senior division to Khed, District Pune and issued the divorce decree in 2015. However, the same was questioned by MbPT as the marriage of Raghu and Asha had taken place in 2010. Hence the writ had to be filed,” said Thorat.
After hearing the arguments the bench passed an order, “We direct that the respondents shall continue to release the pensionary benefits to the petitioner. It would be open for the complainant to work out his remedies in a competent court. All arrears and the regular pension for the ensuing month shall be released in favour of the petitioner as expeditiously as possible and within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.”