Compassionate appointments cannot be made as a matter of right as it has to be done only when the family is in need of financial security after the death of the bread winner otherwise it would be unconstitutional,the Supreme Court said today.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha quashed a direction of the Madras High Court which directed appointment of M Selvanayagam in Karaikal Municipality,five years after the death of his father Meenakshisundaram,a watchman.
“An appointment made many years after the death of the employee or without due consideration of the financial resources available to his/her dependents and the financial deprivation caused to the dependants as a result of his death,
simply because the claimant happened to be one of the dependents of the deceased employee would be directly in conflict with Articles 14 & 16(equality) of the Constitution and hence,is quite bad and illegal.
“In dealing with cases of compassionate appointment,it is imperative to keep this vital aspect in mind,” the Bench said.
Meenakshisundaram died on November 22,1988,after putting in 4 years 3 months and 25 days of service. It was only in 1993 that Selvanayagam made an application for his appointment on compassionate grounds.
The apex court rejected the plea of the wife that she could apply for government job and instead chose to do some menial jobs on account of her poor health condition.
“We think that the explanation given for the wife of the deceased not asking for employment is an after-thought and completely unacceptable.
“A person suffering from anaemia and low blood pressure will always greatly prefer the security and certainty of a regular job in the municipality which would be far more lucrative and far less taxing than doing menial work from house to house in an unorganised way,” the Bench said.
The apex court recalled that under the scheme of compassionate appointment,in case of an employee dying in harness,one of his eligible dependents is given a job with the sole objective of providing immediate succour to the family which may suddenly find itself in dire straits as a result of the death of the bread winner.
“It is not our intent nor it is possible to lay down a rigid time limit within which appointment on compassionate grounds must be made but what needs to be emphasised is that such an appointment must have some bearing on the object of the scheme,” the Bench added.