The Supreme Court on Monday expressed its reservations against directing central and state governments to provide jobs on compassionate ground to children and dependents of victims of 2002 Gujarat communal riots.
“Compassionate appointment cannot be given in this case. There is an established jurisprudence on this subject and a statute cannot be stretched to such an extent that the victims in this case be given compassionate appointment. We cannot order compassionate appointment,” said a bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Kurian Joseph.
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If the compensation has been provided to the riot victims, the bench said, it cannot pass further orders for ensuring government jobs to them since the legal jurisprudence was amply clear on this subject. It also pointed out that 13 years have passed since the unfortunate incident.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the Union government, had earlier told the bench that compensation provided to the riot victims by the state and Centre was in accordance with the policy and also as per the directives of the Gujarat High Court.
He said that the government had relaxed the upper age limit up to five years for children and dependents of riot victims for jobs in Intelligence Bureau and CISF, but not a single candidate came forward to avail it.
Reading out from an affidavit filed by the previous UPA government in December 2013, Mehta said that the Department of Personnel and Training has specifically ruled out giving jobs on compassionate ground since such positions were meant for a different class of government servants.
Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, who appeared for petitioner Gagan Sethi, then requested the bench to grant leave in the matter so that he could argue it later. “If we grant leave in the matter, it may not come up for hearing before five years from now and by that time, your petition will lose its relevance,” the bench told Hegde. Once granted leave, a petition is lined up in the queue of appeals and it would come up for hearing only after the petitions filed prior to it are decided. Hegde, however, replied that he knew what he was doing and that the court may grant his prayer.
At this, Mehta said that the petition has already outlived its life since the prime prayer pertained to disbursal of compensation and it has already been taken care of. About giving appointment, the ASG said that the court has conveyed its view and hence the plea may be disposed of. But the bench, accepting Hegde’s submission, granted leave in the case while reiterating it will not be listed at least for five years from now.