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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