SC grants succession right to live-in partner

SC grants succession right to live-in partner  

Ruling Despite Man’s Wife Being Alive  

Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN  New Delhi:

     Setting a precedent, the Supreme Court has granted succession certificate to a woman after the death of the man she was living with and despite the fact that his legally-wedded wife was alive. 

        This gives a new twist to the concept of live-in relationship. In the past, the court had repeatedly shown inclination to assume valid marriage between a man and a woman who lived together as husband and wife for ‘long years’ without specifying the inheritance rights of the woman in such a relationship.

        In this judgment, the court gave succession certificate to the live-in partner on the ground that the children born out of the relationship were legitimate disregarding the fact that the man had a legally-wedded wife, who never lived with him.

        One Vidyadhari had lived for a long time with Sheetaldeen and gave birth to four children from him. After the death of Sheetaldeen, Vidyadhari claimed succession certificate on the basis of her being mentioned as the nominee by him in the provident fund and life insurance policies.

        After the death of Sheetaldeen, both Vidyadhari and his legally-wedded wife, Sukharna Bai, filed petitions before a Madhya Pradesh trial court seeking right of succession to his properties.The trial court rejected Sukharna Bai’s claim, but the high court reversed the decision saying there was no evidence to substantiate Vidyadhari’s claim that there was a customary divorce between Sheetaldeen and his legally-wedded wife. After reaching this finding, the HC had held that Sukharna Bai alone was entitled to the right of succession and not Vidyadhari. 

        An apex court Bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and V S Sirpurkar came to the rescue of Vidyadhari and said though the HC was right in reaching the conclusion about subsisting marriage between Sheetaldeen and Sukharna Bai, it was wrong in denying succession certificate to Vidyadhari for the purpose of collecting provident fund and life insurance amounts.
   Whatever be the status of Vidyadhari, there was no doubt about the legitimacy of the four children born out of her relationship with Sheetaldeen, said Justice Sirpurkar, who wrote the judgment on behalf of the Bench.

       “No doubt Vidyadhari herself claimed to be a legal heir which status she could not have claimed, but besides that she had the status of a nominee of Sheetaldeen. She continued to stay with Sheetaldeen as his wife for a long time and was a person of confidence for Sheetaldeen who had nominated her for his PF, life cover scheme, pension and amount of life insurance and other dues,” he said.

Congress MP on camera assaulting police

Cop attack: Bhadana PSOs suspended

     New Delhi: Two Delhi Police constables deployed as Personal Security Officers (PSO) of Faridabad’s Congress MP Avtar Singh Bhadana have been suspended after it was learnt that the PSOs allegedly assaulted Delhi Police inspector Vimal Kumar on Sunday night at Taj Mansingh Hotel.

      The MP Bhadana too has been caught on camera assaulting the police officer when he was stopped by him while handling the security of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. 

        The police CCTV footage obtained from the hotel staff showed Bhadana assaulting Kumar along with his men. He was joined by men in Khaki and other people when they were assaulting him.

      The two constables, identified as Vishnu Dutt and Vinod Kumar, have been placed under suspension. ‘‘It has also been learnt that there were four more security officers from Haryana police who were present with Bhadana and all of them had assaulted Kumar.

      The CCTV footage has been seized and will be used as evidence,’’ said a senior officer.
   A case under has been registered at Tughlaq Road police station. TNN



Singh Happy With Noble Act, Rues Labourer’s Death  TIMES NEWS NETWORK  New Delhi:

      Would you risk your life for a stranger? The thought did not even cross 20-year-old Happy Singh’s mind as he jumped into a 12-ft ditch in Malviya Nagar to save the life of a labourer working on a sewer line there.
   On Wednesday morning, Singh was at home when he heard a commotion of men screaming and women crying for help.
   Said Singh: ‘‘When I heard everyone shouting that a boy had fallen into the pit, I just jumped into it. I didn’t even have the time to think of the consequences. If someone is in need of help, how can you turn your back on him? I did just what I would expect anyone to do for me, if I was in such a situation.’’
   Singh, who stays with his parents in H-block, helps out in the family’s jewellery business. Residents of the area said that this was not the first time that the 20-year-old had risked his life for a stranger.
   As Satyapal Gulati, RWA president of the area, pointed out: ‘‘There was an accident in our colony sometime back. Happy was the first one to pitch in with help. He rushed the injured boy to the hospital. We are all very proud of him. Very few people would have the courage to risk their lives like this.’’
   Singh, who suffered minor bruises while trying to rescue 20-year-old Ashok Kumar, has just one regret that the labourer could not be saved. Once inside the pit, Singh had started out by digging the mud under which Kumar lay buried.
   He was helped by the policemen, who came 15 minutes later, and the fire fighters who had by then arrived at the scene.
   Said Singh: ‘‘I am just sad that I couldn’t do more for the labourer and Kumar passed away. It is unfortunate that no lessons are learnt by government agencies even as people continue to get hurt by falling into open ditches. A few days ago, another labourer had fallen into the pit and hurt himself.’’

MCD: Negligence bordering upon criminal carelessness

New Delhi:

Negligence bordering upon criminal carelessness on the part of civic agencies and contractors hired by them led to the death of a labourer in Malviya Nagar on Wednesday — 20-year-old Ashok Kumar fell into a 12-ft sewer which he was digging along with 14 other labourers.

     Forget safety equipment for workers, there was not even a rope at the site to pull him out of the ditch. And precious moments were lost waiting for the fire-fighters to arrive with help.
   Residents of H-7 block said this was not the first time that someone had fallen into the under-construction sewer and hurt himself — as there were no barricades — but that obviously had not served as a wake-up call for the contractor laying the sewer line for the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

        Said RWA president Satyapal Gulati: ‘‘Ten days ago, a labourer had fallen into the sewer and hurt himself, while another one had injured his eye. No barricades had been put up around the pit to prevent people from coming near the area and no safety equipment had been provided to workers.’’

        Said Ajmer Singh, elder brother of the deceased: ‘‘After the first mishap, we were all scared to work, but the contractor forced us to work. We had no option. Not even a rope was provided to pull my brother out of the pit.’’ The fire brigade arrived an hour after the accident and a rope was provided by them to pull Kumar out. 

        It was only after Kumar’s death that barricades were finally put up around the pit. The police have arrested the contractor, Atam Prakash, for causing death due to negligence. However, the loss of life could have been easily avoided if it wasn’t for apathy of officials concerned.

     Said Gulati: ‘‘We had complained several times to DJB officials about the risks involved in carrying out digging without putting up proper barricades, as anyone could have fallen into the pit. Even earlier, a little boy had fallen into one such pit being dug up by DJB in the area. In that case, the work was at least completed the next day.’’ 

         Said Bhupinder Kaur, a resident: ‘‘I have two small children and I don’t let them play unsupervised, as they might fall into the pit. It is sad that no value is attached to a person’s life. Though we had approached various agecies, nothing was done in terms of precautionary measures.’’
   Even the councillor of the area had apparently alerted the DJB about the risk posed by the open sewer. Said councillor Mudita Gupta: ‘‘After the incident, I tried contacting DJB officials, but to no avail. I even tried getting in touch with them months before, looking at the security risk the open pit posed, but got no response.’’

        Work on the sewer line had begun one and a half months ago after residents of H-8 and H-12 blocks complained of contaminated water flowing out of their taps. The dirty water was causing various ailments among the elderly and children. The DJB had hired a contractor to lay the sewer line. When contacted after the death of the labourer, its officials were quick to pass the buck.

      ‘‘Since the work was contracted out, we are not responsible for providing safety equipment. We have not received any complaints from residents of the area,’’ said a DJB official. 

        As for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), they were quick to point out that they had not granted permission to DJB to carry out digging in the area.

     On their part, the DJB official said: ‘‘We have not got any formal letter from MCD to carry out work here, but we have paid them about Rs 4 lakh as road and restoration charges. Normally, in cases where the financial implication is not huge, informal permission is taken from MCD.’’