No pension for child adopted after death of government employee: SC

If the child is adopted after the death of the government servant, by his widow, he/she cannot be considered a part of the dependent family of the deceased government servant, as per the Supreme Court

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According to the Supreme Court, a child adopted by a deceased government employee’s widow, after his death, cannot be considered part of the family of the deceased. That is because, he was not part of the immediate or dependent family of the government servant at the time of his death.

Therefore, such an adopted child cannot be entitled to any family pension either.

Such an adopted child does not fall under the definition of ‘family’ as per Rule 54(14)(b) of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 to claim family pension, observed the bench comprising Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna.

In this particular case, the widow of Shridar Chimurkar, the deceased government servant, adopted a son two years after Chimurkar died.

The Central Administrative Tribunal, Mumbai, wanted the authorities to consider the son’s claim for family pension saying that he should be treated as the adopted son of the deceased Chimurkar.

According to the Tribunal, as per Sections 8 and 12 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, the widow of a Hindu man is allowed to adopt a son or a daughter even if the dead husband had not ordered or wished for her to do so. Therefore, the Tribunal held that such an adopted child is deemed to be the child of the dead husband. However, when the High Court reversed this order, Chimurkar’s son approached the Supreme Court.

The Apex Court pointed out that there is a difference between the rights of an adopted son under Hindu Law and his rights to draw family pension. The latter has a significant impact on the Government’s finances. Also, the SC observed that a ‘family member’ should be close to the deceased, that is, directly connected and not just some remote association. In this case, the adopted son was unknown to the deceased and the two had not even seen / met each other. Therefore, the adopted son could not be called a part of the family of the deceased.

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