Discrimination in compassionate appointment violative of Articles 14 and 15: Punjab High Court.
The Punjab High Court on 25th January, 2023, in State of Punjab and another v/s Amarjit Kaur (LPA-462-2021 (O&M), held that discrimination in married and up married daughter, whereas the absence of the same in the marital status of the son would is violative of Articles 14 and 15. The judgement was presided by Honourable Mr. Justice G.S. Sandhawalia and Honourable Mrs. Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
Under the list of family members mentioned in Note-I, the word UN married daughter had been mentioned, but not married daughter. On the contrary, the beneficiaries of compassionate appointment includes both married or an unmarried son.
The origin of compassionate appointment can be traced back to the judgement of the apex court in Umesh Kumar Nagpal v/s State of Haryana and others (1994). The sole purpose of the scheme is to provide with a helping hand for the family on the sudden demise of the sole breadwinner of the family.
The Court held that since the primary motive of the policy is to assist the family in financial crises, there can be no discrimination against a woman based on her marital status. The discrimination is evident in case of a married son, who would avail the benefits. The Court held that a man was placed on a pedestal while considering the benefits of the policy which could not be attained by a woman sharing the same marital status. Upon marriage, the daughter cannot be considered to not be a part of the family but the son is looked as a member of the family even after his marriage.
The Court laid a reference to Pooja v/s State of Punjab & others (CWP-10146-2021) and Jyoti Devi v/s State of Punjab & others (CWP-22915-2016), among others. TheCourt also put forth an observation that a situation where the deceased has only daughters and a widow left behind could come up and the widow would not be in a position to take up employment. Therefore, this view of once a daughter, always a daughter while a son might change on account of the fact that he is married and has a wife to look after who could have serious differences with her in-laws. Here, the son irrespective of the poor relationship shared with the parents would get a right of consideration. On the other hand, the daughter, in spite of sharing a healthy relationship with the parents would be excluded.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ARYA THAKUR.