TITLE: A Chinnaponnu Vs. Union of India and Others
Decided On: August 30, 2023.
W.P.No.19408 of 2019 and M.P.No.18905 of 2019.
CORAM: Hon’ble Mr. Justice D. Krishna kumar and P.B. Balaji.
The petitioner’s (Chinnaponnu) husband who worked as a Gang mate in southern railway, died in harness on 07.07.2010 leaving behind the 1st petitioner and his two daughters and one son. The 2nd petitioner herein is the daughter of the deceased employee. Since his brother gave consent to apply for a job compassionate appointment, she made request to the southern railway seeking compassionate appointment. The said request was rejected by the respondent department. Even though the 2nd petitioner has preferred two original applications one after other and got favourable orders, the respondent department did not consider her request and rejected the same. Therefore, the 2nd petitioner has filed 3rd original application before the Central Administrative Tribunal in O.A.No. 1417 of 2017 and by order dated 17.11.2016, the Original Application was dismissed. Challenging the same, the present writ petition is filed.
Legal Analysis and Decision:
The daughter, Venkateswari, submitted that since her brother and sister gave consent to apply for a compassionate appointment, she made a request to the Southern Railway seeking a compassionate appointment but it was rejected by the department. It was submitted that Venkateswari was taking care of the entire family. Thus, it was argued that merely on the ground that she was married, the request for an appointment was rejected. The Railways opposed the plea submitting that Venkateswari’s request for a compassionate appointment was rejected not because she was married but for the reason she did not fulfil the criteria laid down by the Railway Board for offering a compassionate appointment. Relying on the Railway Board Letter dated February 3, 1981, it was submitted by the authorities that while considering the married daughter for compassionate appointment, the criteria for whether the married daughter will be the breadwinner for the bereaved family has to be examined. It was submitted that as per the Railway Board Letter, if there are no other wards to be looked after, there was no justification for considering a married daughter for a compassionate appointment. The court noted that Venkateswari got married in 2006, four years before her father’s death. The court also noted that her brother and sisters were also married and her mother, i.e. wife of the deceased employee was receiving a family pension of Rs.18,734 and had no other minor children to take care of. Thus, the court observed that the application was rejected not because of Venkateswari marital status but based on the financial status of the deceased’s family. The court also emphasized that the Supreme Court in various decisions has held that the mere death of an employee in harness does not entitle the family to compassionate employment, the financial condition of the family has to be examined by the authorities.
The Madras High Court finally concluded that even though daughters of the deceased are equally eligible to be considered for compassionate employment regardless their marital status and appointment has to be considered on touchstone of criteria like dependency, financial status of the family.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY JANGAM SHASHIDHAR.