Supreme Court of India
Civil Appeal No. 6003 of 2021
The State of UttarPradesh & Ors vs. Premlata
The facts of the case are as following:-
The husband of the respondent i.e. Premlata posted and serving as Messenger in Police Radio Department of Uttar Pradesh (Class-iv) died on 07.11.2014. The respondent then on 05.12.2014 submitted an application for the post of Assistant Operator in Police Radio Department on compassionate ground, but was rejected on the ground that she is uneligible for the post. Afterwards, the respondent submitted an application for the post of Workshop Hand on compassionate ground, but she didn’t pass the physical test and was rejected. The Police Radio Headquarter, U.P., Lucknow, subsequently offered the same post to the respondent as her husband i.e. Messenger in Police Radio Department.
The respondent however instead of accepting the post, filed the writ petition before the High Court claiming for the appointment on the post of Workshop Hand (Karmshala Karmchari). The High Court in its judgment stated that as the husband of the defendant was Class-IV employee, and she has been offered for the same post, she cannot claim for the appointment on higher post i.e. Class-III.
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment, the defendant made an appeal before the Division Bench of the High Court, and the Division Bench set aside the order passed by the Single Judge and therefore allowed the appeal of the defendant and directed the appellants to consider the respondent for the Class-III post. The Division Bench made an observation that the Rule 5 of the Dying-In-Harness Rules 1974 makes it crystal clear that appointment under Rule 5 is required to be given on a “suitable post” and the ‘suitable’ in Rule 5 pertains to suitability of the aspirant is required to be assessed on the basis of the educational qualification and other eligibilities so possessed by such person. And as the respondent has Bachelor’s Degree in Arts as well as Bachelor’s Degree in Education and therefore she is qualified for appointment on a post in Grade-III.
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with this order, appellant made following appeal in the Supreme Court. The advocate appearing for the appellant submitted that the Division Bench of the High Court had misinterpreted the Rule 5 of the Dying-In-Harness Rules 1974. Also that the Division Bench of High Court did not consider the fact that the appointment was asked on compassionate basis and therefore it cannot be compared with the normal/regular recruitment were qualification is considered. It was also submitted that as the husband of the defendant was serving on the post of Grade-IV the respondent is eligible for the same post or for the post of same grade. The object of the act of Dying-In-Harness is to help the family with a job to fulfill their economic needs. And though the defendant was allowed for the post of Grade-III, she didn’t qualify the physical round and therefore she was offered the more subordinate post i.e. of her husband.
The Supreme Court in his submission referred the judgment of same court in N.C. Santosh vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. Were the Supreme Court having summarized the principal governing the grant of appointment on compassionate ground as under:-
(i) That the compassionate appointment is an exception to the general rule;
(ii) That no aspirant has a right to compassionate appointment;
(iii) The appointment to any public post in the service of the State has to be made on the basis of the principle in accordance with the Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India;
(iv) Appointment on compassionate ground can be made only on fulfilling the norms laid down by the State’s policy and/or satisfaction of the eligibility criteria as per the policy;
(v) The norms prevailing on the date of the consideration of the application should be the basis for consideration of the claim for compassionate appointment.
The Supreme Court in its submission also held that the appointment on compassionate grounds is a concession and not a right. And that the interpretation of the Division Bench of the Rule 5 of Dying-In-Harness Rules 1974 is opposite to the object and purpose of granting the appointment on compassionate ground.
The Supreme Court, therefore, set aside the order passed by the Division Bench of High Court and upheld the order passed by the Single Judge of the High Court.