Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said all state government employees will have to seek prior permission for second marriage even if their religions allow it.
The Assam government in a recent order had barred its employees from marrying another person if the spouse is alive and warned of punitive action if they indulged in bigamy.
“This is an old circular. An Assam government employee, from the point of view of our service rules, is not entitled to enter into a second marriage.
“However, if some religion allows you to enter into a second marriage, even then on the basis of the conduct rules, you have to seek permission from the state government. Now, the state government might give you (permission), may not give you,” Sarma told reporters here.
He said the government often gets cases where after the death of an employee, both wives fight for pension.
“We find it very difficult to settle those disputes. Many widows are deprived of their pensions because of conflicting claims. This rule was there earlier, we did not enforce it. Now, we have decided to enforce it,” Sarma said.
The chief minister said a person can go for a second marriage.
“But a government employee will have to seek the state government’s permission before the second marriage irrespective of whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim. It has to come on the records of the state government,” he added.
Sarma asserted that this rule was not framed by the BJP-led government, but it was enacted by the Congress government earlier.
An ‘Office Memorandum’ (OM) by the personnel department on October 20, which did not mention about the divorce criterion, instructed employees to take the government’s permission before marrying another person if the spouse is alive.
The notification, issued by the personnel additional chief secretary Niraj Verma, came to light on Thursday.
It said guidelines have been issued as per the provisions of Rule 26 of The Assam Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1965.
“In the context of the above provisions, the disciplinary authority may initiate immediate departmental proceeding…for imposition of major penalty, including compulsory retirement,” the order said.
It termed such a practice as a gross misconduct on the part of a government servant having “large bearings” on society. The OM further asked authorities to also take necessary legal steps whenever such cases are detected.