Financial crises must be determined before compassionate appointments: HC

Financial crises must be determined before compassionate appointments: HC

The Allahabad High Court has held that benefit of compassionate appointment cannot be claimed as a "matter of right" and such a benefit would be "illegal" if given "without determining the financial crises" that family members of a deceased government employee may be facing.

 A division bench comprising justices Rajes Kumar and Shamsher Bahadur Singh also said that "lapses" on part of UP government departments in determining financial crises and recording "specific findings in this regard" prior to making compassionate appointments had been "resulting in grave irregularity and illegality", besides "causing unnecessary litigation, burdening the court and causing unnecessary harassment to the party concerned.

The court made the observations in an order dated May 8, wherein the state's Chief Secretary was directed to issue a circular to all departments "to abide by the law laid down in the present case". The court also directed that applications for compassionate appointment must be disposed of "within a maximum period of six months from the date of its presentation".

The order was passed while allowing a Special Appeal filed by the state government challenging a single judge order dated 26.07.2013.

Vide the impugned judgement, the state government had been slapped with a cost of Rs 10,000 besides being asked to "re-consider the claim" of Raj Surya Pratap Singh Chauhan, whose father was a police constable and had died in harness on 31.7.2001 and who had sought compassionate appointment to the post of a sub-inspector.

The state government challenged the order contending that in 2002 Chauhan had moved an application seeking appointment to the post of a sub-inspector on compassionate ground following which he was called for a test in 2008 wherein he failed. Soon afterwards, he moved a fresh application seeking appointment as a constable followed by another plea that he be appointed as a sub-inspector.

Since under the Dying in Harness Rules applications are required to be moved within five years of the death of a government employee, Chauhan's applications were turned down.

He moved the court, which directed the police department to refer the matter to the state government, which has the discretionary powers to relax the time limit in special cases. 

The state government, in 2011, offered Chauhan a compassionate appointment to the post of a constable, which he declined and filed another petition insisting that his application for the sub-inspector's post be considered.

The court disposed of the petition directing the state government to "consider the request of the petitioner".

The state government, vide order dated 23.4.2012, rejected Chauhan's application outright taking exception to the fact that after rejecting an offer for the post of a constable, he had been involved in "unnecessary litigations" which indicated that he was facing "no financial crisis" but was "seeking appointment to the post of a sub-inspector by being obstinate".

Chauhan challenged the government order by filing yet another petition and was granted relief by means of the impugned single judge order.

However, the division bench was of the view that the single judge order was "not justified" since "on the facts and circumstances, we are of the view that the respondent is not at all entitled for any compassionate appointment".

The court pointed out that in his applications Chauhan had "not given the name and age and other details pertaining to all family members of the deceased employee, particularly about their marriage, employment and income and details of financial crises" as required under Rule 6 of the Dying in Harness Rules.

The court added that Chauhan was "maintaining himself and his family members for the last 14 years and is involved in litigation, incurring expenses which show that he and his family members are not in financial crises".

Compassionate appointment "cannot be claimed as a matter of right. Compassionate appointment is an exception to the general rule of recruitment. The object and purpose...is to enable the dependent members of the family of the deceased employee to tide over the immediate financial crises caused by the death of the bread-earner", the court remarked. 

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