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What Was The Case

  • The case was Malarkodi v. The Chief Internal Audit Officer.
  • The first wife was the Petitioner’s sister.
  • The second marriage took place while the first wife was still alive. The first wife passed away later on.
  • The second wife of the deceased man filed a plea seeking that her husband’s pension benefits be given to her.
  • This was because her application to withdraw the pension was rejected.
  • The Petitioner was registered as a nominee after her sister died in 2009.


  • The Madras High Court Single Bench Judge, Justice Vaidyanathan, referred the Petition to a larger Bench.
  • The conflict was that the Hindu Marriage Act does not permit second marriage but the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 holds that even in a live-in relationship without marriage, it is held valid and over time the woman attains the status of a wife.
  • The Domestic Violence Act does not say anything about permitting or denying a married man from having a relationship with an unmarried woman.
  • Moreover, Section 497 has also been struck down.

What Did The Court Say

  • The Court held that the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules, 1978 will be taking a back seat.
  • The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 would take precedence.
  • It was held that the second wife attained the status of ‘wife’ from the date of demise of the first wife, in case the husband was alive during that time.
  • However, the issue regarding whether the second wife would be entitled to pensionary benefits has been referred to a higher Bench.

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Brinda Kundu Online
11 June 2021    24  Report


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