New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that death of a government employee in harness does not entitle the family to claim compassionate employment and the person seeking appointment must possess the eligibility for the post.
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde also said that the competent authority should examine the financial condition of family of the deceased and job should be offered to the eligible family member only if it is satisfied that they would not be able to cope up with the crisis.
"Mere death of a government employee in harness does not entitle the family to claim compassionate employment.
"The competent authority has to examine the financial condition of the family of the deceased employee and it is only if it is satisfied that without providing employment, the family will not be able to meet the crisis, that a job is to be offered to the eligible member of the family. More so, the person claiming such appointment must possess required eligibility for the post," it said.
The bench allowed an appeal filed by MGB Gramin Bank which had challenged a 2010 judgement of the Rajasthan High Court by which one Chakrawarti Singh, son of a deceased Bank employee, was directed to be appointed under a scheme of compassionate employment.
Singh`s father, who was working as a Class III employee with the Bank, had died on April 19, 2006 while in harness. Singh had applied for compassionate appointment on May 12, 2006.
The bench set aside the judgements of the High Court, saying, "The reasoning given by the single judge as well as by the division bench is not sustainable in the eyes of law."
It also said that "an ameliorating relief should not be taken as opening an alternative mode of recruitment to public employment".
The bench said compassionate employment cannot be claimed
as a "matter of right, as it is not a vested right".
It also said that every appointment to public office must be made by strictly adhering to the mandatory requirements of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
"An exception by providing employment on compassionate grounds has been carved out in order to remove the financial constraints on the bereaved family, which has lost its bread earner," the bench said.
The Bank had said during pendency of Singh`s application, a new scheme dated June 12, 2006 came into force with effect from October 6, 2006 which provided that all applications pending on the date of commencement of the scheme shall be considered for grant of ex-gratia payment to the family instead of compassionate appointment.
This contention was rejected by the High Court which said the cause of action, i.e death of the employee, had arisen prior to the commencement of the new scheme and, therefore, the case was to be considered as per the then existing scheme which provided for compassionate appointment and not for grant of ex-gratia payment.
The apex bench also said that Singh may apply for consideration of his case under the new scheme and the Bank should consider his case in accordance with the rules of the scheme within a period of three months from the date of receiving application.