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Compassionate appointment can only take place immediately after death: High Court of Delhi

When a government servant dies, compassionate appointment of dependent of that government servant is only meant for immediate assistance and cannot be done after a considerable lapse of time. This was decided in the case of Gour Sarkar vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors [W.P.S.T. 63 of 2019] by double bench consisting of Hon’ble Justices Rajesh Bindal and Hon’ble Justice Aniruddha Rao in the High court of Calcutta.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner is an Arts Graduate and the father who is now deceased was employed as a constable in the Office of the Superintendent of Police. The widow of the deceased made a representation requesting the State Authority that as and when the writ petitioner would become major, appointment on compassionate basis be granted to him. Upon attaining majority, the petitioner applied for compassionate appointment with all requisite documents before the State Authorities. He was then asked to give written test and after he performed well, he was called for physical fitness procedure and viva voce tests which he also qualified. However, after this there has been no communication. Aggrieved by the decision of rejection of compassionate appointment, he moved to the High court.

The court observed that the issue falls for consideration before this Court is that, whether the writ petitioner is entitled for any compassionate appointment and or decision taken by the State employer rejecting the claim of the writ petitioner for compassionate appointment was just and lawful.

The counsel for petitioner submitted that, the writ petitioner was fully eligible for appointment on compassionate basis. The writ petitioner had performed, well the state employer acknowledged the candidature of the writ petitioner for compassionate appointment and as such there was no good reason with the state employer to reject the claim of the writ petitioner is extremely necessary for survival of the family of the deceased and to meet their financial distress.

Advocate for the state respondents at the threshold submitted that, there is no specific scheme provided for giving compassionate appointment in the facts and circumstances under which the writ petitioner seeks such appointment. The object behind compassionate appointment is to provide for immediate survival of the family of the deceased, who died in harness. In the instant case no such necessity was there in the family of the deceased immediately after his death and, therefore, the question of granting compassionate appointment to the writ petitioner after about 11 years of death of the employee concerned will not arise.

The court relied on the case of Jagdish Prasad v. State of Bihar and Anr. [(1996) 1 SCC 301], where it was held “Compassionate appointment is intended to enable the family of the deceased employee to tide over sudden crisis and distress resulting due to the death of the bread earner who had left out the family in penury. Immediate action is always required for requesting for compassionate appointment after the demise of the deceased bread earner of the family. Such a matter cannot be allowed to be prolonged or kept alive for a long time after the death of the deceased.”

Further, it noted that Applying the law prevailing on the field as discussed above, the purpose of providing employment to a dependent of a government servant dying in harness in preference to anybody else, is to mitigate the ‘immediate hardship ‘caused to the family of the deceased on account of his unexpected death while still in service. On these grounds the writ was dismissed by the court.

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