Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Second wife entitled to govt job: SC

New Delhi: In a decision that could benefit the second wife of a married man, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that such women too on the husband’s death are entitled to compassionate appointment in government jobs, as long as the first wife has no objection to it.

Under the Hindu Marriage Act, a man can have only one wife during the subsistence of a marriage as wedding for the second time amounts to crime under Section 494 IPC and Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act, inviting punishment up to seven years RI.
“When the two wives have come to an understanding and one wife seeks compassionate appointment and another wants the compensatory benefits,” a bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and R M Lodha asked, while dismissing a Karnataka Government’s appeal.
The apex court rejected the government’s argument that under the Hindu Marriage Act,the so-called second wife cannot claim any right of appointment by merely entering into an agreement with the first wife.
The bench passed the order on an appeal filed by the state challenging a direction of the Karnataka High Court to the Government to consider the appointment of Lakshmi, second wife of G Hanumanthe Gowda, a head constable of the Armed Reserve Police.
In this case Hanumantha Gowda had initially married Anusuya, but even during the subsistence of the marriage, he entered into a wedlock with another woman named Lakshmi. He died on October 12, 1988 resulting in a legal battle for the property, pension benefits and also the question of availing compassionate government job as Gowda was in service when he passed away. PTI

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