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A single judge bench comprising of Justice Jagmohan Bansal of Punjab and Haryana High Court (High Court) reiterates that while considering compassionate appointment for a family member of a deceased employee, the scheme or policy of the employer in force at the date of consideration would be applicable.

PHHC on compassionate appointment

Credits: Deependra Garcha/Google photos

The petitioners had approached the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking directions to the respondent to provide compassionate appointment. The family member of petitioners had died in 2018 due to heart attack while in harness. The petitioner had hence applied for compassionate appointment but the same was denied stating that as per the 2014 policy of the respondent  the case of the petitioner does not fall under exceptional categories and rather would be provided compassionate compensation.

The petitioner challenged the said action of the respondent on grounds that the deceased employee was appointed much prior to 2014, thus, petitioners are entitled to compassionate appointment in terms of policy prevailing prior to 2014.

The single bench reiterated that the scheme as is in force on the date of consideration shall be applicable for compassionate appointment and while considering submissions of both the party opined that as the policy of 2014 was in vogue the petitioner admittedly is not entitled to compassionate appointment as per aforesaid policy as has been held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in State Bank of India Vs. Raj Kumar, 2010 (4) SCT 77 and M.G.B. Gramin Bank Vs. Chakrawarti Singh, 2013 (4) SCT 541.

The relevant extracts of State Bank of India v. Raj Kumar

“8. It is now well settled that appointment on compassionate grounds is not a source of recruitment. On the other hand it is an exception to the general rule that recruitment to public services should be on the basis of merit, by an open invitation providing equal opportunity to all eligible persons to participate in the selection process. The dependants of employees, who die in harness, do not have any special claim or right to employment, except by way of the concession that may be extended by the employer under the rules or by a separate scheme, to enable the family of the deceased to get over the sudden financial crisis. The claim for compassionate appointment is therefore traceable only to the scheme framed by the employer for such employment and there is no right whatsoever outside such scheme. An appointment under the scheme can be made only if the scheme is in force and not after it is abolished/withdrawn. It follows therefore that when a scheme is abolished, any pending application seeking appointment under the scheme will also cease to exist, unless saved. The mere fact that an application was made when the scheme was in force, will not by itself create a right in favour of the applicant.”



Vakeel Chand and Another v. State Bank of India; CWP-5777-2020 decided on 04 August 2023

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