Denial of benefit of rehabilitation (including employment) to a married daughter of affected family, violative of Articles 14, 15 & 21

Chhattisgarh High Court: Deciding upon the issue as to whether the State Government was justified in impliedly excluding married daughter of affected/displaced family (land oustee) from consideration for employment under the Chhattisgarh State Model Rehabilitation Policy, 2007 on the ground of her marriage, the Court held that such denial of employment, included in the rehabilitation, to a married daughter is gender-biased, unreasonable and violative of Articles 14, 15 as well as Article 21, as rehabilitation of a  land oustee is a logical corollary of Article 21. The Court further observed that marriage is a social circumstance and basic civil right of man and woman and marriage by itself is not a disqualification. A daughter remains a daughter after her marriage and does not cease to be a daughter of her father or mother.

The petitioner’s application for employment after her father’s land was subject to acquisition by the government, was rejected on the ground that as per the R&R Policy, a married daughter was not included within the purview of affected family and hence not entitled for employment as a matter of right.  Quashing the impunged order,  clause 2.1(c) of the 2007 Rehabilitation Policy regarding employment was held to be discriminatory to the extent of excluding married daughers, and declared void and inoperative. The Court observed that members of affected families are entitled for resettlement and rehabilitation as per the government policy, and as such the policy framed should be just, fair, reasonable and consistent with the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Articles 14 and 15. [Sadhna Bai v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2016 SCC OnLine Chh 299, decided on January 21, 2016]

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