Gujarat through Chief Secretary & Ors Vs.
Sarti Devi  INSC 742 (27 November 1995)
K.Ramaswamy, K.Hansaria B.L. (J)
1996 AIR 937 1996 SCC (1) 558 JT 1995 (9) 224 1995 SCALE (7)260
O R D
Singh, son of the respondent who died in harness, had worked as constable in
Gujarat State Reserve Police in the year 1975. He was recruited in the year
1965 as a constable. After his demise, his widow Savitri was granted family
pension. She contracted second marriage in 1976.
the appellant stopped paying pension to the widow. In 1987, the respondent laid
the suit in the court of Additional Senior Sub-Judge, Mohindergarh, Haryana State claiming family pension. The trial court decreed the suit.
appeal, the District Court refused to condone the delay of 107 days and
confirmed the decree of the trial court and when second appeal was preferred,
the High Court in RSA No.1660/94 by an order dated 17th December, 1994 dismissed it, as usual, in limine. Thus this appeal
by special leave.
questions have been raised in this appeal. First relates to the jurisdiction
and the second to the entitlement of the respondent to pension. It is an admitteed
fact that the deceased Lal Singh served as a constable in the State of Gujarat. Section 20, Code of Civil
Procedure, 1908 envisages institution of the suit in the court within whose
jurisdiction the defendants ordinarily reside etc. The appellant's offices are
situated in Gujarat State and no part of the cause of action had arisen in Haryana.
Neither counsel can waive the jurisdiction nor consent confer jurisdiction on
courts situated in the State of Haryana.
none of the courts in Haryana has any territorial jurisdiction to entertain the
suit for the payment of pension by the State of Gujarat. Under these circumstances, the decree of the trial court
is one of total lack of jurisdiction. It is a nullity.
next question is whether respondent is entitled to the family pension. The
State of Gujarat made family pension under revised
family pension scheme in 1972 enabling the dependents to get pension for a
maximum period of 10 years.
mentioned in the preamble of the order itself:
the existing orders (The revised pension Rules 1950, as amended) a Government
servant has to complete service of not less than 10 years in order to become
eligible for the benefit of Family Pension and also duration of the pension is
limited to a maximum period of 10 years. The existing provisions were not found
to be adequate and as such the position has been reviewed and a fresh scheme
has been drawn up which provides at varying rates a pension for the life to the
widow of the deceased Government servants as detailed.
has been defined in Rule 3 of the Rules:
for purposes of this scheme will include the following relatives of the
Government servants:- (a) wife, in the case of a male Government servant;
in the case of a female Government servant;
or minor daughters.
1-(c) and (d) will include children adopted legally before retirement/death.
2-Marriage after retirement will not be recognised for purposes of this
reading thereof clearly indicates that the family consists of the relatives,
namely, the widow (if he happens to be married) of the deceased in case of male
Government servant and husband in case of female Government servant and minor
sons and unmarried or minor daughter. In the case of the children, legally
adopted children, before retirement/death also would become members of the
family. If the widow remarries, she becomes disentitled to the pension as she
ceases to be the member of the family. Obviously, for this reason, the widow Savitri
Devi was not given pension after her remarriage in 1976.
question is whether mother is a dependent. In view of the express definition of
the family, mother has not been included as a member of the family to claim any
family pension from the Government, much less after the maximum period of ten
years. Under these circumstances, in either event, the decree of trial court as
affirmed by appellate court and second appeal, are clearly illegal.
stated that the mother-respondent is aged woman of 85 years. She has no other
source except her dependence on her deceased son and, therefore, some
consideration may be shown to the aged mother. In view of the peculiar facts,
without treating this order as a precedent, we think that an ex-gratia payment
will be made by the State. Accordingly, we direct the appellant-State to pay a
sum of Rs.6,000/- to the appellant as ex-gratia.
the decree of the court below is set aside. It is directed that the State to
pay the amount within a period of two months from the date of the receipt of
this order. The learned counsel for the respondent would give the address of
the respondent to the counsel for the State which would be communicated to the
appellants and the amount shall be disbursed to the address so stated. The
appeal is disposed of. No costs.