SC: Married Daughter Can’t Claim Compassionate Appointment as Right; Certainly Not Years After Employee’s Death

Supreme Court Law Insider

Bhuvana Marni

Published on: October 6, 2022 at 20:09 IST

According to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, the married daughter cannot be considered to be dependent on her deceased mother and is not qualified for a compassionate appointment.

Justices MR Shah and Krishna Murari, bench ruled that the daughter was not entitled to a compassionate appointment after several years had passed after the deceased employee’s death and that she was also not dependent on her mother.

The mother of the respondent was given an appointment in the current case after the deceased employee, the respondent’s father, passed away while wearing a harness.

After the mother passed away in 2006, the respondent’s elder married sister applied for a position on compassionate grounds. This application was later denied in 2011 because she is a married daughter. She cannot be considered dependent on her deceased mother and is, therefore, ineligible for the position.

The younger married daughter of the respondent applied for an appointment on compassionate grounds in 2013, seven years after her mother’s death.

Even so, the Court ruled that the respondent would not be eligible for an appointment on the grounds of compassion because it had been a while after the employee’s death.

This clarification was made by the court as it was debating an appeal filed by the appellants in opposition to two orders issued by the Bombay High Court and the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal requesting that the respondent’s application for employment be given consideration on compassionate grounds.

Notably, the State Government announced in a Circular two years later that one of the dead government employee’s legal heirs or representatives will be given a job out of sympathy.

Thereafter, the respondent, another married daughter of the deceased employee, submitted an application for employment on a compassionate basis, which was similarly denied.

After having her application for an appointment on compassionate grounds denied, the respondent applied to the Tribunal, almost two years later.

The Tribunal granted the requested relief and instructed to take into account the respondent’s request for an appointment on compassionate grounds. After that, the Bombay High Court upheld the Tribunal’s decision.

The appellants challenged both of the orders in an appeal they filed with the Top Court as a result.

The Supreme Court noted that compassionate appointments were created with the understanding that, in cases where the only breadwinner had passed away, a family would not be able to make ends meet.

Equal opportunity should be given to all applicants for all government positions, as required by Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution, including those that are filled on humanitarian grounds. An exemption to the aforementioned rules is, however, a compassionate appointment given to a dependent of a deceased employee.

“Compassionate appointment is an exception to the general rule of appointment in the public services and is in favour of the dependents of a deceased dying in harness and leaving his family in poverty and without any means of livelihood.”

“In such cases, out of pure humanitarian consideration taking into consideration the fact that unless some source of livelihood is provided, the family would not be able to make both ends meet, a provision is made in the rules to provide gainful employment to one of the dependants of the deceased who may be eligible for such employment.”

“The whole object of granting compassionate employment is, thus, to enable the family to tide over the sudden crisis. The object is not to give a such family a post much less a post held by the deceased.”

Applying the aforementioned law to the case on hand, the Court held that to appoint the respondent now on compassionate grounds shall be contrary to the object and purpose of the appointment on compassionate grounds.

“The respondent cannot be said to be dependent on the deceased employee, i.e., her mother. Even otherwise, she shall not be entitled to an appointment on compassionate ground after a number of years from the death of the deceased employee.”

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