The Madras High Court has held that terminal benefits, including death-cum-retirement gratuity due to a government servant, could not be given to her/his brothers if they had crossed the age of 18 at the time of being nominated to receive them.
Watch What Else Is making News
A division bench of Justice M Sathyanaranan and Justice J Nisha Banu dismissed a petition filed by a brother of a clerk in the district court, who died in December 2011 after taking voluntary retirement, nominating her husband and brother to receive her terminal benefits.
After she passed away,her husband also died in 2013. As they had no issues,the petitioner had requested the district judge to settle the benefits in his favour. But the judge rejected the request on the ground that he would not fall under the definition of the term ‘family’ and hence was not eligible to claim the benefit.
The bench said according to Pension Rules, retirement benefits could be handed over only to wife or wives, in the case of a male government servant; husband, including judicially separated husband in the case of a female government servant and sons including step sons, adopted sons and sons born through illegitimate wife.
Others who could claim the benefit were unmarried or widowed daughters, including stepdaughter, adopted daughters and unmarried daughters born through illegitimate wife; parents including stepmother and adoptive parents; unmarried sisters and widowed sisters including step sisters and brothers including step brothers below 18 years.
The bench said as per sub rule 5 of Rule 45 of the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules, the petitioner herein cannot be considered as a family member unless at the time of nomination he was below the age of 18 years.