top of page

Appointment to any public post in the service of the State has to be made on the basis of principles

N.C. Santhosh V. State of Karnataka & Ors, Civil Appeal NO. 1997 OF 2020.

“Applying the law governing compassionate appointment culled out from the above cited judgments, our opinion on the point at issue is that the norms, prevailing on the date of consideration of the application, should be the basis for consideration of claim for compassionate appointment. A dependent of a government employee, in the absence of any vested right accruing on the death of the government employee, can only demand consideration of his/her application. He is however disentitled to seek consideration in accordance with the norms as applicable, on the day of death of the government employee.”

The brief facts of the case is as follows; the appellants were the beneficiary of compassionate appointments. But on the discovery that their appointments were made out of the provisions of the Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1996 as amended w.e.f. 1.04.1999, (hereinafter referred to as the “Rules”), those appointments were cancelled. The amendment to the proviso to Rule 5 specified that in case of a minor dependant of the deceased government employee, he/she must apply within one year from the date of death of the government servant and he must have attained the age of eighteen years on the day of making the application. Before amendment, the minor dependant was entitled to apply till one year of attaining majority.

When their service was terminated the aggrieved appointees approached the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal at Bangalore. But the Tribunal found that appellants were ineligible for appointment under the Rules and accordingly dismissed the related applications. The resultant writ petitions were dismissed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore, leading to the present appeals.

Ms. Kiran Suri, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant, argued that Rule 5 is only procedural and is not mandatory and therefore, compassionate appointment of the dependent children who attained majority beyond one year of death of the government employee, should not be construed to be invalid.

According to the appellants, their cases have to be considered under the unamended Rules permitting a minor dependant to apply for compassionate appointment within one year of attaining majority. The appellants stating Describing Rule 9 as a transitional provision where under the period for making application has been changed through various amendments, the argued that retrospective application of the amended provisions should not lead to cancellation of appointment.

Challenging the order of termination, the appellant filed application before the Tribunal. The Tribunal vides order dated 20.10.2005 set aside the termination order holding that the service of the appellant was terminated without holding proper enquiry under Rule 11 of Karnataka Civil Services Rules, 1957 and directed her reinstatement, reserving liberty to the State in accordance with law.

Pursuant to the order of the Tribunal, the appellant was reinstated in service on 04.01.2006. Thereafter, an enquiry was initiated against her under Rule 11 of the said Rules alleging misconduct and misrepresentation of her age at the time of submission of her application seeking appointment on compassionate ground. The appellant was then removed from the service by order dated 28.12.2006 and when her appeal was rejected by the Appellate Authority on 30.08.2007, she again approached the Tribunal.

The respondents, on the other hand, argued that the norms applicable at the stage of consideration is relevant and here as the appellants had not attained majority within one year from the death of the government employee, they were ineligible to seek compassionate appointment under the amended provisions of the compassionate Rules. The Government counsel contend that since compassionate appointment is an exception to the general Rule governing appointment in the service of the State, the same has to be in conformity with the prescribed Rules and those ineligible under the Rules cannot ask for continuation of the illegal appointment. The respondents also argue that the government has the power to rectify the mistake and to recall the illegal appointment orders as the appellants were appointed wrongly, despite their ineligibility.

They also, contend that they have been legitimately appointed on compassionate basis and have rendered service without any imperfection and therefore, the authority should not be permitted to apply the amended provisions and cancel the appointment on the ground that the appointees were ineligible to apply for compassionate appointment.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court relied on the decision in State of Himachal Pradesh & Anr. V. Shashi Kumar and other earlier decisions governing the principles of compassionate appointment were discussed and analyzed.

Speaking for the bench, Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud reiterated that appointment to any public post in the service of the State has to be made on the basis of principles in accord with Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution and compassionate appointment is an exception to the general rule. Applying the law governing compassionate appointment collected out from the above cited judgments, our opinion on the point at issue is that the norms, prevailing on the date of consideration of the application, should be the basis for consideration of claim for compassionate appointment. Since no infirmity is found in the impugned judgments, the appeals are found devoid of merit and the same are dismissed.

– S. Vishal Varma

Comentarios


Articles

bottom of page