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The Punjab and Haryana High Court (High Court) recently held that if an employee died while in service then the age of the deceased employee is not a criteria for deciding the eligibility of compassionate appointment for its legal heir.

PHHC on compassionate appointment

Credits: Deependra Garcha/Google photos

The petitioner (wife of deceased employee) had approached the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking directions against the respondent (Punjab National Bank) to consider the case of petitioner for compassionate appointment.

The petitioner contended that her claim was bona fide and that the respondent was wrong is denying her compassionate employment. The respondent bank on the other hand submitted that the petitioner is not eligible for compassionate employment as per the policy of the bank. The respondent bank, in this regard, submitted that according to its policy benefit of compassionate employment is available to a family member of an employee who had died prior to completing age of 55 years whereas husband of the petitioner at the time of death was 59 years and 10 months old, thus, petitioner is not eligible for compassionate appointment.

The single judge bench of Justice Jagmohan Bansal while examining the relevant part of the bank’s policy found ambiguity in it and thereby held that the petitoner’s case for compassionate appointment be considered by the respondent bank. Further the bench also held that – “There is no condition of age qua death and in the case in hand, employee had died during service, and thus, petitioner is not precluded to claim compassionate appointment.”

Raj Kumari v. Punjab National Bank and anr; CWP-29474-2022 decided on 04 August 2023

Read the judgment

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