Brother of government servant, if aged 18 years and above at the time of nomination, cannot be construed as ‘family member’ eligible for pensionary benefits

Madras High Court: Dismissing a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution  against the order of the District judge denying pensionary benefits to the petitioner, the Bench of M. Sathyanarayanan and Nisha Banu, JJ. held that as per sub-rule 5 of Rule 45 of the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules, the petitioner herein cannot be considered as a family member unless at the time of nomination he was below the age of 18 years and admittedly it was not so.

The petitioner was nominated by his sister, who was employed as Grade I Bench Clerk in Tamil Nadu Judicial Ministerial Services, as legal heir and had also executed a registered will by appointing him to succeed her estate in respect of the receipt of the said service benefits. The learned counsel for the respondent invited the attention of this Court to the Rule 45(5) of the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules that said that the family in relation to the government servants means brothers below the age of 18 years including the step-brothers and admittedly the petitioner, even at the time of nomination, has crossed that age and as such, he cannot be given pensionary benefits. While the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner vehemently submitted that in terms of Rule 48 of the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules, the petitioner fell under the category of specified nominee.

In the considered opinion of this Court, the said stand of the petitioner lacked merits and substance for the reasons that the proviso should be read in consonance with the main provision and it could not fall on exception. It further noted that in the light of the definition of family members under Rule 45(5), Rule 48 should be read in consonance with Rule 45 and therefore, the petitioner herein cannot be construed as a family member, though he was nominated along with his brother-in-law, who was no more. [B. Senthil Kumar v. The District and Sessions Judge, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 10391, decided on 14.11.2016]

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