In a significant order, the Bombay high court has set aside a decision of the Maharashtra government refusing to offer job on compassionate ground to a daughter of an employee, who died in harness. The state argued that a Government Resolution allowed only unmarried daughters, wife and son of a deceased government servant to get employment. However, the family of the deceased argued that the daughter was unmarried at the time of applying for job but got married later.

Therefore, the question arose in this case, whether the eligibility of such a candidate should be considered from the date of application or from the date of appointment.

Hearing a petition filed by aggrieved Aparna Zambre, justices A M Khanwilkar and Mridula Bhatkar opined that the eligibility of a candidate starts from the time she applies for a job.

Therefore, in this case, the unmarried daughter of a deceased employee, who applied for the job in July 2004, was eligible because she had not entered into a wedlock at the time of application.

The judges directed the state to reconsider her claim for being appointed for a job on compassionate ground against suitable vacancy.

The judges noted that if all other candidates senior to her in the concerned wait lists were already appointed, the state shall proceed to appoint Aparna against a suitable vacancy if she is found to be eligible in all other respects.

Mohan Kulkarni, assistant engineer in Irrigation Department in Sangli, died in harness on September 8, 2003.

His wife applied to the Collector, saying that her unmarried daughter Aparna Zambre should be given a job on compassionate ground. In 2007, she was informed that her name was on waiting list. Even at that time she was unmarried.

The daughter of the deceased employee said she was shocked to receive a communication from the government on November 10 last year, which said that her mother was getting monthly pension and was not dependent on her.

The communication also said she could not be considered as she was now married and that only an unmarried daughter was eligible as per the norms.

The judges noted, “Suffice it to observe that the fact that Family Pension is being received by the widow of the deceased employee can be no basis to deny them the benefit of appointment on compassionate ground. That concession is in addition to the relief of Family Pension, which is mainly intended to meet the immediate financial hardship suffered by members of the family due to sudden demise of the employee”.

The judges further said that the petitioner had applied for a job in 2004 and was placed on waiting list. At the relevant time, she was unmarried. She got married only on July 11, 2007. Therefore, she fulfilled the criteria laid down by the concerned GR that only unmarried daughters are eligible for job on compassionate ground.

The judges noted, “The fortuitous circumstance of her marriage on 11th July, 2007, while her name remained on the wait list since 2005 on account of non-availability of vacancy against which she could be appointed, cannot be the basis to deny her concession provided to family members of a deceased employee for being appointed on compassionate ground, which is intended to meet the immediate financial hardship suffered by the family due to the sudden demise of the employee.”

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