The Bombay High Court said that as per the law, if a man has two wives and both lay claim to his money, only the first wife would be entitled for it but his children from both marriages would get the money.
The bench led by Justice Kathawalla was hearing a petition filed by the second wife of Suresh Hatankar, an assistant sub-inspector in the Maharashtra railway police force who died of Covid-19 on May 30. As the state government’s resolution promises a compensation of Rs 65 lakh to police personnel who die of Covid-19 while on duty, two women, both claiming to be Hatankar’s wives, had laid a claim to the compensation amount.
Later, Shraddha, Hatankar’s daughter from his second wife, approached the Bombay High Court, seeking that she be given a proportionate share of the compensation amount to save her and her mother from “starvation” and homelessness.
On Tuesday, state’s counsel Jyoti Chavan told the bench that the state would deposit the compensation amount in the court for the time that HC takes to decide who is entitled to the amount. The law says that the second wife might not get anything. But the daughter from the second wife, and the first wife will be entitled to the money.
Sharma also said that Hatankar had been living with his second wife and their daughter in the railway police quarters allotted to him in Dharavi. The high court, therefore, directed Hatankar’s first wife and her daughter to file an affidavit by Thursday, clarifying if they knew Hatankar had two families.
Hatankar married for the first time in 1992 and his second marriage took place in 1998. Shraddha told the court in her plea that both the marriages were registered with the Registrar of Marriages and under the Hindu Marriage Act. She claimed in her plea that being the child of Hatankar’s second wife, she too had the right to a family pension, and death-cum-retirement gratuity.