Punjab and Haryana High Court: In a Letter Patent Appeal fconcerning the question that whether the State is justified in excluding consideration of a married daughter for appointment on compassionate grounds, the division bench of G.S. Sandhawalia* and Harpreet Kaur Jeewan, JJ. held that rejection only on the ground of gender of the applicant would be violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India.

The present judgment disposed of 6 cases wherein married daughters have been denied compassionate appointment with respect to the Government policy. The Court referred to the State Policy dated 21-11-2002, i.e., Scheme for Compassionate Appointments, whose object is to grant appointments on compassionate grounds to dependent family members of the deceased Government servant falling under specific categories, appointment by Head of the Department for posts under his control and the Secretary, Group-C and Group-D posts against direct recruitment quota available in the department of the deceased employee and in the unavailability of post, reference to the Redeployment Cell of the Department of Personnel for sponsoring the candidate for appointment, eligibility aspect and the indigent and financial conditions.

Relying on several High Courts’ views in State of W.B. v. Purnima Das, 2017 SCC OnLine Cal 13121; Court on its own motion v. State of H.P., 2018 SCC OnLine HP 2177; Central Coalfields Limited v. Hemanti Devi, 2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 918; State of U.P. v. Noopur Srivastava, 2019 SCC OnLine All 3212; Udham Singh Nagar District Coop. Bank Ltd. v. Anjula Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 1856; Meenakshi Dubey v. Madhya Pradesh Poorv Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Co. Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine MP 383 wherein, the Courts held the married daughters on a par with the unmarried daughters as well as married/unmarried sons.

The Court held that rejection only on the ground of gender would be violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India. The Bench said that exclusion at the outset in the case of a married daughter is apparently arbitrary, and that the dependence upon deceased employee must be the subject matter of consideration by the authority concerned. Further.a married daughter is shut out even from applying for compassionate appointment, as she would not come within the zone of consideration as to whether she is dependent or not, but exclusion is only on account of gender, and it would be patently discriminatory.

The Court considered specific facts of the matters wherever being a married daughter is the ground for rejection against compassionate appointment, quashed the respective orders discriminating on gender basis, and directed the competent authorities to consider such applications irrespective of the fact that the applicant is a married daughter. The Court dismissed the application where such discrimination was not the apparent reason for rejection of applications.

[State of Punjab v. Amarjit Kaur, 2023 SCC OnLine P&H 89, Judgment dated 25-01-2023]

*Judgment by: Justice G.S. Sandhawalia

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Appellants: Deputy Advocate General Arjun Sheoran;

For Petitioners: Advocate Rashika Bansal, Advocate Dheeraj Mahajan, Advocate Dinesh Kumar, Advocate Varinder Singh Rana and Advocate Jagdeep Jaswal;

For Respondents: Advocate Vijay Pal, Advocate Brahmeet Singh and Advocate L.S. Sidhu.

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