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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Compassionate appointment : HC rules that marriage is no bar

He was born in a small village called Marudur near Chidambaram, became very popular because of his concern for fellow human beings and compassion towards everything.  Arutprakasa Vallalar Chidambaram Ramalingam, popularly known as Vallalar propagated the notion of Samarasa Sudha Sanmarga Sathiya Sangam (Common, pure, good and true way of life).
His immortal words ~ ‘vadiya payirai kanda poethellam vadinen’
வாடிய பயிரைக் கண்டபோதெல்லாம்
          வாடினேன் பசியினால் இளைத்தே
     வீடுதோரறிந்தும் பசியறாதயர்ந்த
          வெற்றரைக் கண்டுளம் பதைத்தேன்

In words defining compassion, Vallalar says that upon seeing crops withering without water; those who were suffering due to non-availability of food – he would shed tears – that he would suffer when he sees people afflicted by hunger, poverty and illness…

Great mind indeed……. Compassion is the understanding or empathy for the suffering of others and helping them to come out from the suffering. Compassion is emotional in nature. More involved than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another's suffering. The English noun compassion, meaning to suffer together with, comes from Latin. Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in Hinduism, a great virtue.  

The passing away of the sole bread winner can do immeasurable harm to the family.  Many Govt and PSU have a scheme of providing employment to the next kin of those who pass away at a young age or in service.  The object of the Scheme is to grant appointment on compassionate grounds to a dependent family member of an employee dying in harness or who is retired on medical grounds, thereby  ensuring that their family is not left in penury and without any means of livelihood; such employment would help the family get over financial destitution.

Compassionate appointment is not given as a right and is subjected to rules and regulation. The appointment is provided to dependent family members which would include : Spouse, son [including adopted son]; daughter [including adopted daughter]; by some definitions – brothers / sisters

In a recent judgment the Madras High Court held that ‘married woman is also entitled to job under compassionate ground’.  Times of India report is reproduced here. 

Madurai: Holding that married daughter of a deceased government employee is also entitled to a job under compassionate grounds, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court has directed the Ramanathapuram district collector to appoint a married woman in a government job.

“If marriage is not a bar in the case of a son, the same yardstick shall be applied in the case of a daughter also. At this juncture, it is relevant to take note of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 which places equal duty on both son and daughter to take care of the parents in their old age. Therefore, in the case of death of the parents, there cannot be any unequal treatment among the children based on sex,” Justice Hariparanthaman said, quashing the collector’s order rejecting A Chitra’s request for appointment under compassionate grounds.

Chitra married a daily wage farm labourer in 2002, and her father died on October 9, 2009, leaving behind her 52-year-old mother under her care. When she applied for appointment under compassionate grounds, the district collector rejected her plea by an order dated July 13, 2012 on the ground that she is a married daughter of the deceased employee.

A son of a deceased government servant, however, is eligible for a government job under compassionate grounds, it was explained.     Chitra then knocked on the doors of the Madurai bench of the Madras high court, praying for quashing the collector’s order and seeking a direction to give her a job. After hearing both sides, Justice Hariparanthaman passed an order last week quashing the collector’s rejection order and also directing him to give employment to her, within eight weeks.

Earlier in a different case, Allahabad High Court  ruled that a person employed on compassionate ground after the death of spouse cannot be deprived of the "fundamental right" to remarry.  Justice V. K. Shukla observed that "merely because compassionate appointment has been provided, a person cannot be forced to sign an affidavit, sacrificing his/her fundamental right, that in future remarriage will not at all be contracted".

The order was passed on a petition filed by one Ankita Srivastava, who was posted as a junior clerk in a government department at Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. She was employed in May, 2007, a year after the death of her husband who was working on the same post. Incidentally, her husband too had secured the job on compassionate ground, as his father had died in 2001. Barely a couple of months after her appointment, the petitioner had been made to file a "notarial affidavit to the effect that after the death of her husband, neither she has been married nor she has any intention to marry in future".

The petition was opposed by the state's standing counsel who said, "once petitioner remarries, the object of compassionate appointment shall stand frustrated, and accordingly writ petition be dismissed". The petitioner had moved the court with the submission that she was only 31 years old and her father had found a suitable match for her but she feared that she would lose the job upon remarriage as "the said affidavit would be used against her".

The  court was of the view that remarriage was "a personal choice of the petitioner and the same can not at all be curtailed in any manner" and that the only obligation she needed to comply with was to "maintain the family members of the deceased" and a failure on that count could be a ground for "disciplinary proceeding and nothing beyond the same".

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th May 2013.

1 comment:

  1. In a similar case a writ petition was been filed by the wife of a deceased employee of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), which is sued through, respondent nos.1 to 3. The sole relief pressed before me, is for issuance of a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate direction to the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) to process the claim for appointment of the petitioner’s daughter under option R-3, as contemplated in the Superannuation Benefit Fund Scheme (in short the Scheme). In support of his submission, Mr. Bhattacharya relied upon a judgment of the Single Judge of this court dated 17.03.2010, passed in WP
    (C) 125/2010, titled Yudhvir Singh Vs. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and Ors. Based on this judgment, Mr. Bhattacharya contended that the petitioner was entitled to relief, as a similar argument, which is now being
    advanced on behalf of IOCL, was rejected by the court.