The Punjab and Haryana High Court has come to the rescue of a widow whose husband has been missing for the past eight years. In a rare case of civil death,the woman had approached the High Court stating that her husband had been missing since 2004,and that the Chandigarh Administration was denying her family pension.
Coming to her rescue,Justice K Kannan has held that Jaspal Kaur,a resident of Mohali,is entitled to consideration for family pension by treating her husband as having been regularised in service and treating her husband as civilly dead after July 28,2011 (on not knowing whether he is alive after a period of seven years,from the date when he went missing).
The petitioner had alleged that her husband,an employee of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation did not report for work since July 28,2004. The petitioner had contended that there was nothing on record to show that her husband had died,and that he had died in order that the claim for compassionate assistance could be made by the petitioner.
Kaur claimed that she was denied family pension on the grounds that her husband was allegedly not a regular employee of the Corporation. Acting on the contention,Justice Kannan had directed the counsel of the Corporation to furnish details of vacant posts against compassionate appointment quota on the basis that a civil death must be presumed to have taken place on the completion of seven years,following his disappearance in 2004.
The High Court was informed that there were only 40 vacancies in class IV posts and five percent reserved for compensate assistance,the appointment could be made only for filling up two vacant posts.
Making a demand of pension,the petitioner had stated that her husband must be treated as a regular appointee in accordance with the state policy spelt out through the circular issued on September 11,1996 by the Chandigarh Administration,Department of Personnel to all the heads of the Departments of Chandigarh Administration.
It exhorted all officials to prepare list of employees who had completed 240 days of continuous service in a year and people,who have not been regularised,should be entitled to the minimum scale prescribed for the post.
Counsel for UT Administration had opposed the petition. Finding conviction in the arguments raised,Justice Kannan disposed off the petition. The Court has directed the Administration to maintain the list of claims of compassionate appointees on the basis of seniority and as and when any vacancy arises within the quota admissible.
Also,the Court has directed that the petitioners name should be considered and the outcome of such consideration should be informed to the petitioner by a specific communication and decision should be taken within a period of 12 weeks from the date of such communication.