A unique ‘elopement certificate’ has emerged as a legal solution to a complex situation, providing a widow with the legal status of a soldier’s wife and securing her family pension. The deceased soldier’s first wife had abandoned him shortly after their wedding, leaving the soldier to remarry and spend the remainder of his life with his second wife. However, Army records continued to list the long-estranged first wife as the legal heir, resulting in the second wife being denied her rightful pension for over a year.
Recognising this injustice, Army authorities at Nagpur’s Kamptee cantonment introduced the concept of an ‘elopement certificate.’ This certificate attests to the fact that the soldier’s first wife deserted him, making it impossible to initiate divorce proceedings. The soldier’s second marriage, performed in accordance with Hindu rites, is also acknowledged in the certificate.
Official approval of the elopement certificate was granted by the veterans’ branch of Uttar Maharashtra and Gujarat sub-area. This crucial document legalises the soldier’s second marriage, thus granting his second wife the status of a legal spouse. The certificate is currently with the Army’s pension office in Allahabad for further processing.
Service rules stipulate that family pension generally goes to the first wife unless the husband remarries after a legal separation or her death. In this case, the elopement certificate serves as a crucial document to rectify the discrepancy in the Army records, ensuring the second wife receives her deserved pension.
This unique approach underscores the importance of addressing complex legal matters with creative and empathetic solutions, ensuring that individuals receive their rightful entitlements, even in unconventional circumstances.
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