The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the state government and the Railways to deposit in the court within a week the compensation amount due in the death of a railway policeman, who succumbed to Covid-19.
The direction of the division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice Madhav Jamdar came after the daughter of the policeman’s second wife approached the court, seeking proportionate distribution of the compensation amount among the two wives and daughters of the policeman.
The policeman – who was posted as the assistant sub-inspector with Maharashtra Railway Police Force and died due to Covid-19 on May 30 – had married his first wife in 1992 and the second wife in 1998. However, both were unaware of each other till his demise.
Advocate Prerak Sharma, representing the petitioner, told the court that his client’s mother wrote to the Railway authorities to provide her with pension benefits, employment and gratuity in her deceased husband’s name. However, she came to know that a similar letter had been written by another woman, who also claimed to be his wife and had a daughter.
The petitioner told the court that both marriages were registered with the Registrar of Marriages and under the Hindu Marriage Act. Sharma submitted that his client being the child of the second wife had a right to family pension and death-cum-retirement gratuity and therefore she and her mother should get equal proportion in the compensation disbursed by the state government and the Railways.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Western Railway, Pradeep Chavan submitted that they had already collected compensation and other benefits from authorities for the deceased policeman and were willing to hand it over to the beneficiary as per court orders. The state government also submitted that it had expedited the disbursal of compensation and that it will hand it over as per the court’s decision.
The court asked the first wife and her daughter to remain present during further hearing on Tuesday and said that without them it cannot decide on distribution of compensation. However, the bench said it will proceed to pass necessary orders if its direction is not complied with.
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