Jharkhand High Court: S.N. Pathak, J., while dismissing the present petition, reiterates, “Compassionate Appointment is a concession and not a right.”

Husband of the petitioner was an employee of the respondent company who died in harness on 23-03-1994. After the said demise, petitioner applied for a compassionate appointment along with required documents before the Project Officer vide her representation dated 10-10-1994. Though the petitioner was fully eligible for a compassionate appointment being the dependent of the deceased employee, the case of the petitioner was not considered and she was informed that she is entitled to monetary compensation to the tune of Rs 2000 per month till the date she attains the age of 60 years and further directed her to be present before the appropriate authority with required documents vide letter dated 13-12-1997. Thereafter, vide letter dated 23-03-1998, she refused to take the monetary compensation and instead requested the respondents to give compassionate appointment to her as she was eligible for the same being below the age of 42 years on the date of demise of her husband, as per the provisions of NCWA. It is the specific case of the petitioner that despite her request for compassionate appointment, neither the monetary compensation nor compassionate appointment has been provided to her. Hence, she has been constrained to knock the door of the Court, by way of the present writ petition.

Court did not consider appropriate to interfere in the present petition on primarily two grounds;

  1. Petitioner has approached this Court after more than 20 years from the date of death of her husband for compassionate appointment. Court considered the case of Umesh Kumar Nagpal v. State of Haryana, (1994) SCC 4 138, wherein the Court said, “…The compassionate employment cannot be granted after a lapse of a reasonable period which must be specified in the rules. The consideration for such employment is not a vested right which can be exercised at any time in future. The object being to enable the family to get over the financial crisis which it faces at the time of the death of the sole breadwinner, the compassionate employment cannot be claimed and offered whatever the lapse of time and after the crisis is over.”
  2. Supreme Court, in a catena of judgments, has held that appointment on compassionate ground cannot be claimed as a matter of right. It must be provided for under the Rules. Reliance was placed on the case of General Manager, State Bank of India v. Anju Jain, (2008) 8 SCC 475 wherein it was said, “Compassionate Appointment is a concession and not a right.”

Answering whether the petitioner is entitled to monetary compensation or not, Court cited the case of Etwari Devi v. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd., 2008 (1) JCR 403, with similar facts, where it was held, “the appellant-widow applied for compassionate appointment as far back as in 1992 immediately after the death of her husband. The application was kept pending by the respondents because of police verification and it was considered only in 2006. In our considered view, the appellant must get the benefit of NCWA-V and she is entitled to get monetary compensation.”[Jirwa Ghatwarin v. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 2952, decided on 10-12-2019]

Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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