Supreme Court: In a case where a married daughter of the deceased was claiming compassionate appointment, the bench of MR Shah* and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that neither the the daughter was dependent on her mother nor was she entitled to appointment on compassionate ground after a number of years from the death of the deceased employee.


  • In the case at hand, on the death of the deceased employee – father of the respondent, who died in harness, the mother of the respondent was given appointment on compassionate ground.
  • After the death of the mother in 2006, the elder married sister of the respondent made an application for appointment on compassionate ground, which came to be rejected in the year 2011 on the ground that being a married daughter, she cannot be said to be dependent on her deceased mother and therefore, she is not entitled to the appointment on compassionate ground.
  • In 2013, after a period of seven years from the date of death of her mother, the respondent being the younger married daughter made an application for appointment on compassionate ground.

Compassionate appointment a concession and not a right

On the appointment on compassionate ground, for all the government vacancies equal opportunity should be provided to all aspirants as mandated under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. However, appointment on compassionate ground offered to a dependent of a deceased employee is an exception to the said norms.

“Compassionate appointment is an exception to the general rule of appointment in the public services and is in favour of the dependents of a deceased dying in harness and leaving his family in penury and without any means of livelihood, and in such cases, out of pure humanitarian consideration taking into consideration the fact that unless some source of livelihood is provided, the family would not be able to make both ends meet, a provision is made in the rules to provide gainful employment to one of the dependants of the deceased who may be eligible for such employment. The whole object of granting compassionate employment is, thus, to enable the family to tide over the sudden crisis. The object is not to give such family a post much less a post held by the deceased.”

Ruling on facts

Applying the aforementioned law to the case on hand, the Court held that to appoint the respondent now on compassionate ground shall be contrary to the object and purpose of appointment on compassionate ground.

“The respondent cannot be said to be dependent on the deceased employee, i.e., her mother. Even otherwise, she shall not be entitled to appointment on compassionate ground after a number of years from the death of the deceased employee.”

[State of Maharashtra v. Madhuri Maruti Vidhate, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1327, decided on 30.09.2022]

*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah

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