Minor legal heir eligible for compassionate apportionment; but appointment upon attaining majority-Chennai High Court (Madurai Bench).

Case title: State of Tamil Nadu v. C. Arnold

Case no: W.A(MD)No.479 of 2024 and C.M.P(MD)No.3875 of 2024

Dated on: 01st April 2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Mr. Justice R. Suresh Kumar and Hon’ble Mr. Justice G. Arul Murugan.

Facts of the case:

This Writ Appeal filed, under Clause 15 of Letters Patent, is to set aside the order dated 16.11.2023 made in W.P(MD)No.27247 of 2023 and W.M.P(MD)No.23395 of 2023 seeking Compassionate appointment. The Respondent/Writ Petitioner and father, working as a B.T Assistant in a Government High School, passed away on 03.01.2016, while in service. At the time of his father’s death, the Writ Petitioner was 15 years and 6 months old. On his behalf, his mother made an application dated 02.01.2018, before the Chief Educational Officer, seeking compassionate appointment which was rejected vide Order dated 31.05.2023 on the ground that on the date when the application was made, the respondent/writ petitioner was a minor. That rejection order was challenged before the High Court. The learned Judge, who heard the Writ Petition, took note of the fact that the Rule issued by the Tamil Nadu Government, in the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 2023 was notified on 08.03.2023 and at the time of consideration of the application submitted by the respondent/writ petitioner the said Rule was already in force and despite which it was rejected in May 2023 ie., by order, dated 31.05.2023. Hence, it was an erroneous approach on the part of the Appellant employer.


Whether it was correct on the part of the Respondent to reject the Compassionate appointment on 31.05.2023 based on G.O.Ms.No.155 Labour and Employment (Ku1) Department, dated 10.12.2014 when Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 2023 was already notified on 08.03.2023?

Legal provisions:

Writ Appeal filed, under Clause 15 of Letters Patent- lays down that any appeal can be made to the High Court provided it is not a sentence or order passed or made in the exercise of criminal jurisdiction.

Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 2023- These rules govern the appointment of individuals on compassionate grounds within the Tamil Nadu Civil Services.  

Contentions of the appellant:

At the time of making the application seeking compassionate appointment, the respondent/writ petitioner, was only a minor who has completed only 15 years and 6 months. Therefore, at the time when he attained majority, three years period was over from the date of death of the employee ie., his father. Therefore, beyond three years period, compassionate appointment would not be considered. This rejection was based on Rule, dated 10.12.2014, of G.O.Ms.No.155, Labour and Employment Department and therefore, the said order of rejection ought not to have been interfered by the Writ Court.

Contentions of the respondent:

The Government of Tamil Nadu had framed rules for appointment on compassionate grounds under Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 2023. The said rule was notified on 08.03.2023 and as per the said Rule 6, there is no minimum age limit for making an application. However, an appointment order could be issued only on completion of 18 years of age. These Rules were prevailing on the date of consideration of the application. Hence, the action of the 3 rd Respondent in relying upon G.O.Ms.No.155 Labour and Employment (Ku1) Department, dated 10.12.2014 was not right.  

Court analysis and judgement: 

Compassionate appointments are made to bail out the families of the employee, whose sudden demise would push the family to penury. Compassionate appointment is made depending upon the education and other qualifications of the dependent of the deceased employee and further no person can be employed in any organization, unless he attains majority ie., above 18 years. In most cases, when such an employee dies, the son or daughter or the dependents other than the spouse would be minor and therefore, it will take some years for them to reach the majority by which period the three years period from the date of death of the employee would be over. Under such circumstances, though the dependent or legal heirs would become eligible to seek for compassionate appointment but by then the period of three years would be over. These difficulties were considered by the State Government, and they bought Rule 6, the same is briefly mentioned herein. On the date of application for appointment. –  the spouse or medically invalidated Government servant or parent of the deceased servant, must have completed fifty years of age; and the son, daughter, brother or sister of the deceased or medically invalidated Government servant must not have completed forty years of age. There shall be no minimum age limit for the applicant on the date of application for appointment, provided appointment shall not be provided unless the applicant completes eighteen years of age.” Hence, under Rule 6, the maximum age has been prescribed, but minimum age limit was not prescribed. It was made clear that the appointment shall not be provided unless the applicant completes eighteen years of age Therefore, the intention of the Rule making authority is clear, that under no circumstances compassionate appointment should be denied to a family for want of attaining the majority of the legal heir/dependent of the deceased employee’s family. If compassionate appointment could not be given immediately, the employer can consider such application and grant/extend the benefit of compassionate appointment to the dependent/legal heir upon his attaining majority. When the intention of the Government was made very clear and as the Rule was effective from 08.03.2023, the Rule should have been applied by the employer. It is due to this reason that the learned Judge interfered with the said order and given direction for extending the benefit of compassionate appointment.  Writ Appeal is accordingly disposed with no costs. The appellants to consider the application, within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. When such consideration is made, if any similarly placed persons are there seniority is to be followed. In the name of following the seniority, the plea of the respondent/writ petitioner cannot be deferred or rejected and if in case there is no vacancy available, where he has sought, then as per the existing procedure, the request of the respondent/writ petitioner be forwarded, where similar vacancy is available and necessary orders to be passed. 

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Judgement reviewed by- Parvathy P.V.

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