Second wife entitled to govt job: SC

Apex court dismisses Karnataka govts petition


In a recent ruling, a bench headed by Justice Markandeya Katju said: “When the two wives have come to an understanding, who are you to oppose it? Why should you be bothered if one wife seeks compassionate appointment and another wants the compensatory benefits?’’

While dismissing an appeal by the Karnataka government, the bench said if there was no objection from the first wife, Anasuya, the state authorities should not have any problem in providing the job to Lakshmi, the second wife of G Hanumanthe Gowda, who was a head constable with the Karnataka Armed Reserve Police.
The apex court rejected the Katnataka government’s submission that, under the Hindu Marriage Act, a man cannot have two wives during the subsistence of the marriage, so the so-called “second wife” cannot claim any right of appointment by merely entering into an agreement with the first wife.

Advocate M Qamaruddin, appearing for Lakshmi, submitted that the employment was on compassionate grounds and it would help the family to sustain in future as they have lost their earning member.  Gowda died on October 12, 1988.
A district court ruled in favour of Anusuya and Lakshmi challenged the decision in the Karnataka High Court. Later, both agreed to a formula under which it was agreed that they would share the property left by the deceased, including pension benefits, in equal proportions.

The agreement said Anusuya would take the compensation and Lakshmi stake claim for a post in the police department.

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