By: Sakunjay Vyas
Published on: May, 26, 2022 at 10:45 IST
The Two Judge Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna of the Supreme Court overturned the judgment of the High Court of Orissa at Cuttack where the High Court dismissed the said writ petition preferred by the appellant herein and has refused to direct the State authorities to appoint the appellant herein – original writ petitioner on compassionate ground, the original writ petitioner has preferred the present appeal.
The Apex Court recently ruled that the appointments for compassionate grounds must be made within six months of application.
Relying on a catena of judgments the Appellant made the contention that the scheme prevalent at the time of the death of the employee and/or at the time of submitting the application is required to be considered and not the amended rules.
Respondent vehemently opposed the appellant’s contention and made a contention that that the claim ought to be considered as per the rules prevalent at the time of consideration of the application. It was also emphasized that the Odisha Civil Services (Rehabilitation Assistance) Rules, 2020 (2020 Rules) specifically contemplates the pending applications to be considered as per the amended rules.
The Apex Court stated that since the appellant requested a compassionate appointment after his father passed away and the Orissa Civil Service (Rehabilitation Assistance) Rules, 1990 (1990 Rules) were in effect back then, the Court thought it appropriate to consider the application according to those rules.
That the Court observed that, under 1990 Rules, the son of the deceased was not specifically excluded from appointment on compassionate grounds if the deceased’s wife is still alive.
That As a matter of fact, the appellant was not at fault for the authorities’ delay in considering his application.
“Thus, from the aforesaid, it can be seen that there was no fault and/or delay and/or negligence on the part of the appellant at all. He was fulfilling all the conditions for appointment on compassionate grounds under the 1990 Rules.”, the Court said.
The Apex Court stated that a refusal to appoint the appellant under the 1990 Rules would be a reflection of the department’s delay and/or inaction.
That the department/authorities acted with complete callousness. The factual situation clearly indicates that the department/authorities have been tardy in considering the application submitted by the appellant for employment, which is indisputably their fault.
That in fact, the appellant has been deprived of seeking compassionate appointment, which he was otherwise entitled to under the 1990 Rules. The appellant has become a victim of the delay and/or inaction on the part of the department/authorities which may be deliberate or for reasons best known to the authorities concerned.
“Not appointing the appellant under the 1990 Rules would be giving a premium to the delay and/or inaction on the part of the department/authorities. There was an absolute callousness on the part of the department/authorities. The facts are conspicuous and manifest the grave delay in entertaining the application submitted by the appellant in seeking employment which is indisputably attributable to the department/authorities.”, the Court said.
The Apex Court further said that the application should be considered as soon as possible. The consideration should be fair, reasonable and must be based on relevant considerations. It cannot be rejected on the basis of frivolous or irrelevant reasons. Only then can the object and purpose of appointment on compassionate grounds be attained.
“We have, therefore, directed that such applications must be considered at an earliest point of time. The consideration must be fair, reasonable and based on relevant consideration. The application cannot be rejected on the basis of frivolous and for reasons extraneous to the facts of the case. Then and then only the object and purpose of appointment on compassionate grounds can be achieved.”, the Court said.
As a result, the Apex Court overturned the impugned judgment of the High Court of Orissa at Cuttack Bench by stating that a family of a deceased employee may be placed in a position of financial hardship upon the untimely death of the employee while in service and the basis or policy is immediacy in rendering of financial assistance to the family of the deceased consequent upon his untimely death, the authorities must consider and decide such applications for appointment on compassionate grounds as per the policy prevalent, at the earliest, but not beyond a period of six months from the date of submission of such completed applications.