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For appointment on compassionate ground, the policy prevalent at the time of death of the deceased employee only is required to be considered and not the subsequent policy: Supreme Court

It is observed and held that claim for compassionate appointment must be decided only on the basis of relevant scheme prevalent on date of demise of the employee and subsequent scheme cannot be looked into as upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court through the learned bench led by Justice M.R. Shah in the case of The State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. v. Ashish Awasthi (CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6903 OF 2021) with The State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. v. Baalendu Yadav (CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6904 OF 2021)

The brief facts of the case are that the respondent’s father was working on the post of Chowkidar in the office of Assistant Engineer, Public Health Engineer, District Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh. The father of the respondent died on 08.10.2015. That at the time of death the deceased employee was serving as a work charge and he was paid salary from the contingency fund. That the respondent was provided a compensatory amount of Rs. 2 lakhs as per the policy prevalent at the time of death of the deceased employee. That after the death of the deceased employee, the policy for appointment on compassionate ground came to be amended and it was provided that even in case of death of the employee working on work charge, his one of the heirs/dependents shall be eligible for the appointment on compassionate ground. The respondent filed a writ petition before the High Court, which came to be disposed of by the learned Single Judge with a direction to the appellants to decide the representation preferred by the respondent in accordance with law. That thereafter the respondent filed an application for compassionate appointment and the same came to be rejected vide order dated 15.03.2017 on the ground that the policy/circular dated 31.08.2016 shall be applicable prospectively w.e.f. 22.12.2016 and as the deceased employee died on 08.10.2015, i.e., prior to the amended policy, the respondent shall not be entitled to any appointment on compassionate ground. That thereafter the respondent filed a fresh petition before the High Court. The learned Single Judge dismissed the said writ petition observing that considering the policy prevalent at the time of the death of the deceased work charge employee, his dependents/heirs shall not be entitled to appointment on compassionate ground and the subsequent policy/circular dated 31.08.2016 shall not be made applicable. The respondent preferred an appeal before the Division Bench, the Division Bench has allowed the appeal and has directed the appellants to consider the case of the respondent for appointment on compassionate ground relying upon and/or considering the subsequent policy/circular dated 31.08.2016. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court, the State of Madhya Pradesh has preferred the present appeal.

The Hon’ble Court held, “It is reported that the amount of Rs. 2 lakhs which was paid to the respondent as compensatory amount pursuant to the policy/scheme of 2014 has been given back by the respondent. If that be so, the same may be paid to the respondent. For the reasons stated in the judgment and order in Civil Appeal No.6903 of 2021, the impugned judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court in Writ Appeal No.2003 of 2019 also deserves to be quashed and set aside as in the present case also, the Division Bench of the High Court has directed the appellants to consider the case of the respondent for appointment on compassionate ground applying the subsequent scheme/circular and though under the scheme/circular prevalent on the date of death of the deceased employee, who at the relevant time was serving on work charge establishment, also deserves to be quashed and set aside and consequently, the present appeal is also allowed. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur is hereby quashed and set aside.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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