Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department has been asked to initiate action and file criminal cases against those employees who have more than one spouse. An order was passed by the Madurai bench of the Madras high court.

According to a report in The New Indian Express, the court passed the order on a petition filed by R Thenmozhi from Madurai, the second wife of a policeman who had died.

She was allegedly seeking pension benefits equivalent to that provided to the first wife of the deceased policeman.

In her complaint, she stated that she and the policeman got married in the year 1982. She claimed that years after being married to him, she came to know that he had been previously married and had three children from the first marriage.

The woman’s complaint read that she approached the Usilampatti police station, but soon after, her husband assured her that he would take care of both families.

After he died in 2011, she did not receive any of the monetary benefits provided by the Tamil Nadu government and hence requested the court to split his pension and other benefits between her and his first wife.

Hearing the petition, Justice SM Subramaniam rejected the plea because her name was not mentioned in any records as the nominee of the deceased government servant.

During the judgment, Justice Subramaniam observed that though the rules state that bigamy is an offence and amounts to misconduct under the Indian Penal Code, the government authorities are insensitive towards such issues.

He also observed that this insensitivity results in denial of livelihood to women who marry government employees as second wives.

The judge also ordered the departments concerned to verify the documents of their staff properly.