Observing that the “entire action by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in keeping appointment on hold for over seven years was completely arbitrary and was in breach of principles of natural justice,” the Bombay High Court recently allowed a plea by a woman seeking appointment in the civic body on compassionate ground after her father, who was working with the solid waste management department, passed away in 2001.
The Court noted that the woman had sought a job in March 2002 and was given an appointment letter in 2015, but the same was kept on hold by the civic body as she sought transfer to the E-Central department. The Court asked BMC to act on its appointment letter of 2015 and held that “depriving her of the benefits without following due process of law was illegal.”
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Makarand S Karnik passed a judgment in a plea by the woman, who had sought directions to the civic body to confirm her appointment at the earliest and for grant of back wages.
Advocate Satishkumar R Soni, appearing for the petitioner, told the Court that the petitioner’s father was working as a motor loader in Solid Waste Management Department of BMC. On December 29, 2001, he passed away while on duty, leaving behind his ex-wife and two daughters. The petitioner’s parents had sought divorce by mutual consent on December 20, 1991, and though the petitioner and her sister were to stay with her mother as per the terms of divorce, she was attached to her father and she was staying with him too.
She applied for a job on compassionate grounds on March 15, 2002, and submitted requisite documents for scrutiny. She was appointed on April 21, 2015, and was allotted to the E-Central department, the locality of which, according to the petitioner, was not as good for women and therefore she requested transfer to East Byculla. Her appointment has been kept on hold since then. The petitioner was told that some inquiry is going on and therefore her case was kept on hold and despite several representations, she did not avail any response, therefore she approached HC.
The Court held that the 2015 document was indeed an appointment letter on compassionate basis and it even recorded that a rent-free residential unit in chawl in the name of her deceased father would also be allotted in her name after following requisite procedure.
The bench held the April, 2015, a letter by the BMC to petitioner is “nothing short of an appointment order
appointing petitioner on compassionate basis”. It noted that the BMC was well aware that petitioner was a minor when her father died and she made an application for a compassionate job after she attained majority.
“The BMC simply kept the appointment on hold. The entire action of the BMC is in breach of the principles of natural justice. We find that the procedure adopted by the BMC in keeping the petitioner’s appointment on hold is completely arbitrary and unreasonable,” the bench observed.
“The petition therefore must succeed and is accordingly allowed. The BMC is to act on the appointment,” the HC held and directed the civic body to appoint the petitioner suitably with effect from October 1, but without continuity of service and back wages.