The Bombay High Court, allowing a plea by the Central Railway (CR) against a Central Administrative Tribunal order to hire the son of a deceased employee, observed that “claiming an appointment on compassionate ground is not a vested right”. The court favoured submissions made by the CR, which stated that the family “failed to establish strong merit of financial distress” for granting appointment on compassionate grounds. A division bench of justices Naresh Patil and Prakash Naik was hearing the petition.
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The railway employee died on duty in 1997, leaving behind his wife and four sons. An elder son’s application for the job was rejected in 2002 after he reportedly produced fake age certificates, after which another son applied for the job on compassionate grounds in 2009. This was allowed by the Tribunal, but challenged by the CR in the High Court in 2011. The HC dismissed the petition, stating the application could be considered or rejected as per law by the Railway.
Thereafter, the Railway rejected the application, which was once again challenged by the family in the Tribunal.
The Tribunal, in 2014, directed the General Manager and the Divisional Railway Manager of the CR to appoint the son on compassionate grounds. This was challenged in the HC in 2015.
While pointing out that the fundamental principle of the rule was to ‘mitigate’ immediate financial distress of the family that arises on the sudden demise of the bread earner, the Railway counsel submitted that 17 years after the employee’s death, it was not reasonable to consider the son’s appointment. Besides, the family had produced fake documents to appoint another member to the job, and the employee’s spouse was deriving two pensions and had grown-up children to support her. The counsels from both sides also referred to previous judgements on appointments on compassionate grounds.