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Supreme Court of India
P.S.E.B. And Others vs Ram Rakhi on 28 July, 2000
Author: R Babu
Bench: Shivaraj V. Patil, S.R.Babu
           PETITIONER:
P.S.E.B.  AND OTHERS

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
RAM RAKHI

DATE OF JUDGMENT:	28/07/2000

BENCH:
Shivaraj V. Patil, S.R.Babu




JUDGMENT:

Rajendra Babu, J. :

Leave granted.

Respondent filed a suit seeking a mandatory injunction
to the appellants to sanction and pay family pension,
G.P.F., Death-cum- Retirement Gratuity, ex-gratia grant and
leave encashment etc. Her case is that she is the widowed
sister of Shri Dalip Chand, who was working as a Lineman in
the appellants establishment at the time of his death. The
suit was resisted by the appellant and it is contended that
deceased Dalip Chand did not nominate any person to be paid
the family pension or G.P.F. nor any member of his family
was dependent on Dalip Chand for payment of family pension.
The trial court decreed the suit in respect of various
claims made by the respondent. The matter was carried in
appeal unsuccessfully. In the second appeal in the High
Court it was noticed that the matter is covered by the
decision in Jasohdhan Devi vs. State of Punjab and Anr,
1989 (6) S.L.R. 664 and therefore no interference is called
for as the widowed sister is recognized as member of the
family entitled to family pension.

The contention put forth before this Court is that the
respondent is not a member of the family as per the new
pension rules which came into force in 1964 under which only
spouse and children of the deceased employee will constitute
members of the family. In addition it is contended that
even if the respondent is a member of the family under the
old rules, in which an unmarried widowed sister is included
in the definition of family, still she has to fulfil other
conditions arising under the other relevant provisions of
the Rules and those conditions having not been fulfilled the
Courts below were not justified in passing the decree for
grant of family pension. The learned counsel for the
respondent submitted that the view taken by the Courts below
is absolutely justified and no interference is called for.

Though three claims had been made by the respondent,
the learned counsel for the appellant confined his case only
to one aspect of the matter namely, grant of family pension
and in regard to other two aspects did not challenge the
decree passed by the Courts below as affirmed by the High
Court of Punjab & Haryana. Therefore, we will rivet our
attention only to the question of grant of family pension to
the respondent.

The fact that respondent is a widowed sister of the
deceased employee of the appellant is not in dispute. It is
also not in dispute that he did not exercise his option to
be governed by the Pension Scheme 1964 and therefore the
restricted definition given to the expression `Family
confining only to spouses, sons and unmarried daughters has
no application. On the other hand, the relevant rules in
Punjab Civil Services Rules Vol. II 1960 Ed. would be
applicable wherein in Rule 6.16- D (1) an explanation is
added to define as to what family is and that definition
adopts the definition set out in Rule 6.16-B (1)(a) except
certain persons and that rule clearly includes a widowed
sister. Therefore in the absence of any option having been
exercised by the deceased employee to adopt new Rules, old
Rules govern him as rightly held by the High Court following
the decision in Jasodhan Devi v. State of Punjab (supra), a
widowed sister does become a member of the family who could
claim pension under those Rules. So far as this aspect of
the matter is concerned, the view taken by the Courts below
is absolutely justified and calls for no interference.

However, the matter does not rest at what we have
stated so far. In order to become entitled to claim family
pension, the conditions specified in Chapter VI, sub-heading
D:`Family Pensions, have to be fulfilled. Clause (a) of
Rule 6.16-D provides that no pension is payable without
production of any proof that such person was dependent on
the deceased officer for support in respect of those falling
within sub-rule (4)(b). Sub-rule (4) applies to two
categories of the members of the family. The first category
consists of spouses and children. The second category
coming under clause (b) are all other relatives of the
deceased such as parents and siblings. So far as relatives
other than spouse and children are concerned there is a
condition that they are dependents on the deceased employee
for support has to be established by adducing reasonable
proof to claim pension. Further the scheme of grant of
pension is by way of exclusion of a relative mentioned in
the earlier category with reference to the one mentioned in
the latter category. In the first place it is to be
established that there was no nomination in respect of any
one of them and that such person was a dependent of the
deceased employee at the time of the death. In the absence
of such proof family pension cannot be granted. Indeed
whether a widowed sister, as in the present case, has her
own source of income or was not a dependent upon the
deceased is a matter to be established by adducing
appropriate proof. However, none of the Courts have
adverted their attention to this aspect of the matter,
though the defence raised by the appellants has been
noticed. Thus we have no option but to set aside the decree
passed by the trial court as affirmed by the first appellate
court and the High Court in second appeal to the extent
indicated above in so far it relates to direction for
payment of family pension.

This appeal is thus allowed to the extent indicated
above setting aside the decree in so far as it relates to
the direction to grant of family pension and in other
respects remains undisturbed and the matter is remitted to
the trial court for fresh consideration on the question as
to whether the respondent is dependent of the deceased
employee so as to claim pension in terms of the rules to
which we have adverted to. Appeal is allowed in part. No
costs.


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