Jhar HC | [Interpretation of Statutes] Principle of compassionate appointment should not be strictly applicable as it is a part of beneficial legislation

Jharkhand High Court: Deepak Roshan J., allowed the petition on merits.

 The facts of the case are such that the husband of the petitioner was appointed on the post of Loader on Hudag Colliery. The husband of the petitioner left the place of work without intimation and was found to be mentally ill later. Later, after being treated and a certificate being issued to that effect, he died of harness suddenly on 11-12-2011 leaving behind the petitioner as his widow and four children. Pursuant to this, an application by the petitioner was filed for employment of one of her sons on grounds of compassionate appointment under the provisions of National Coal Wage Agreement (NCWA for short) which was thereby rejected vide letter dated 25-09-2013. Aggrieved by the same, instant petition has been filed to quash the impugned letter and a direction to be issued for employment of his son.

Counsel for the petitioner Ajit Kumar submitted that the allegations leveled against the petitioner’s husband with regards to him being absent from duty without any intimation stand no ground for rejection of compassionate appointment to his son as no disciplinary proceedings were conducted against him then and his name was also struck off from the roll only on 15-03-2012 which is only after petitioner made an application for compassionate appointment i.e. on 09-01-2012. He further submitted that as the dead husband was the only bread earner of the family, it is a fit case for a compassionate appointment.

Counsel for the respondents D K Chakraverty submitted that at this stage to allow the son for employment on compassionate grounds would frustrate the objective and legislative intent as the husband of the petitioner was absent for 8-9 years without any information. However, the Counsel did not dispute the submissions regarding the struck off date being after the date of application. He even agreed that no disciplinary action was taken against the husband of the petitioner.

After perusal of facts and submissions the Court observed that this is a beneficial legislation and totally governed by the National Coal Wage Agreement and as such, the general principle of compassionate appointment should not be strictly applicable.

The court directed the respondent to consider the application of the petitioner for appointment of any of her sons as per NCWA provided the other criteria are fulfilled as per the Company policy and NCWA.

In view of the above, petitions stand allowed and disposed of.[Jai Murti Devi v. Central Coalfields Limited, 2020 SCC OnLine Jhar 768, decided on 20-08-2020]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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