The Bombay high court has directed the state and railways to deposit the compensation amount accruing in the name of a railway police personnel who died of Covid-19 in the court. The daughter of the police personnel had approached the court seeking proportionate distribution of the compensation amount between the two wives and daughters of the policeman.
The court directed the first wife and her daughter to be present for the hearing, without which, the petition could not be decided and posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.
A division bench of justice S J Kathawalla and justice Madhav Jamdar, while hearing the petition filed by a woman, was informed by advocate Prerak Sharma that the father of the petitioner was serving as an assistant sub-inspector with the Maharashtra Railway Police Force till his untimely death due to Covid-19 on May 30. Sharma submitted that it was only when his client’s mother wrote to the railway authorities to provide her with the employment, gratuity, pension benefits accruing in her late husband’s name, she came to know that there was a similar letter written by another woman who also claimed to be the dead policeman’s wife, having one daughter.
Sharma added that both marriages were registered with the Registrar of Marriages and under section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, his client being the child of the second wife had a right to family pension and death-cum-retirement gratuity, hence she and her mother should get an equal proportion in the compensation that has been disbursed by the state government and the railways in the name of her father.
On its part, deputy commissioner of police, Pradeep Chavan, West zone, Railways, submitted that they had already collected the compensation and other benefits for their demised personnel and were willing to hand it over the beneficiary, as per court orders. The state also submitted that it had expedited the disbursal of the compensation and would hand it over as per court orders.
After hearing the submissions, the court sought the presence of the first wife and daughter as without them the court could not decide on the distribution of the compensation on Tuesday and directed the railways to deposit the compensation amount in the court within a week. The court also asked the state to inform when it would be able to deposit the compensation amount of ₹60 lakhs with the court and posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.