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If some persons are given benefit wrongly, that cannot form basis of claiming same relief-SC


The Hon’ble Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Krishna Murari allowed the appeal leaving the parties to bear their own costs.

After the demise of the respondent’s father who worked as a driver in the Tribal Welfare Department, Madhya Pradesh, over a period of 23 years, Pension Payment Order was issued to his family under the Madhya Pradesh Civil Pension Rules, 1976 based on his last pay-scale and grade pay. But the respondent filed an application seeking the benefit of compassionate appointment due to economic hardship.

However, the request for a compassionate appointment was rejected by the third appellant. The General Administration Department Ministry placed its reliance on the Policy in force for a compassionate appointment which pertains that if a government servant dies while in service and if such an employee is earning a salary from the work charge/ contingency fund t the time of his/ her demise, then there is no provision for the grant of such appointment (para 3). And thus the reliance was placed on Clause 12.1 of the policy which provided a compassionate grant to the wife of the deceased who has been a nominated dependent of the deceased employee.

The respondent filed a Writ Petition in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior Bench on being aggrieved by the aforesaid order. He relied on Rule 2(c) of the Madhya Pradesh Work Charged and Contingency Paid Employees Pension Rules, 1979. This rule was stipulated as any contingent paid employee who has completed 15 years or more on or after 1.1.1974 as a permanent employee (para 4).

In this case, the father of the respondent was a permanent employee as he had completed more than 15 years of service and therefore the respondent sought the quashing of the impugned decision and stated that claimed entitlement to a compassionate appointment being eligible for Class Ⅳ post as per the policy.

This Writ Petition was opposed by the appellants and stated that the father of the respondent had been appointed on the contingency basis. And the appointment was with a condition that his service may be terminated with one month’s notice and his salary would be released from the contingency fund. But the order was not placed and the appellant stated as the deceased wife as already received Rs. 1,00,000 as a relief as per the terms of the Policy, it was emphasised.

The Writ petition was allowed by the High Court based on the earlier Judgment. And it was held that on this issue of the applicability of Clause 12.1 of the policy reproduced hereinabove, it was opined that the same would apply to such employees who had not attained permanency i.e., once an employee becomes permanent under the Pension Rules, Clause 12.1 was held as inapplicable for compassionate appointment (para 7).

  • Aggrieved by the Judgment the appellants preferred a Writ appeal, an inter alia, on the ground that the respondent was not entitled to compassionate appointment.

  • And they also stated that he was not a regular Government employee within the meaning of Rule 2(b) of Madhya Pradesh Civil Service Conduct Rules, 1965.

  • They emphasized that the compassionate appointment is not an inherit right but the prerogative right of the state.

  • They also stated the difference between the regular and permanent employee and also pleaded that even the Rs.1,00,000 should be refunded.

The Writ appeal was also dismissed by the Division Bench of High Court and it was reasoned that the late father of the respondent was a permanent employer as per the Pension Rules. Insofar, as grant of amount of Rs.1,00,000 was concerned, it was directed to return to the appellants in the event of the respondent gaining compassionate appointment (para 10).

The appellants were in the process of filing an SLP and the appellant no.3 accepted for compassionate appointment on returning the amount of Rs.1,00,000. Leave was granted an interim order was made absolute but till date, the respondent has not got the benefit of compassionate appointment.

The question of law is whether the late father of the respondent who admittedly was employed as a work-charged/contingency employee in the Tribal Welfare Department was entitled to the compassionate appointment as per the existing policy on the date of his demise.

It was stated that in our view, the aforesaid plea misses the point of distinction between a work-charged employee, a permanent employee and a regular employee. The late father of the respondent was undoubtedly a work-charged employee and it is nobody’s case that he has not been paid out of work-charged/contingency fund. He attained the status of a permanent employee on account of having completed 15 years of service, which entitled him to certain benefits including pension and krammonati. This will, however, not ipso facto give him the status of a regular employee (para 16).

The judgment of Ram Naresh Rawat v. Ashwini Ray & Ors. was stated which opined that a ‘permanent’ classification does not amount to regularisation. So it was held that it would entitle one only to a minimum of the pay-scale in attaining the status of a permanent employee.

The Apex Court held that,

In order to answer this question, we may note that while considering this aspect in the aforesaid judgment, it was specifically opined that even “if some persons are given the benefit wrongly, that cannot form the basis of claiming the same relief. It is trite that right to equality under Article 14 is not in the negative terms” (para 20).

It appears from the documents on the record that possibly a sum of Rs. 1,00,000 was deposited by the respondent with the State Bank of India in an interest-bearing deposit in 2016, and the amount would be possibly lying in the same deposit. This would have been pursuant to the impugned order. We, thus, direct that this FDR be released to the respondent and that this amount, along with interest which would accrue to the benefit of the respondent, apart from the additional amount of Rs.1,00,000/-, we found as payable to the respondent which should be so paid within a period of two months from today, failing which will carry interest @ 12 per cent annum till the date of payment (para 29).

Thus the appeal is accordingly allowed leaving the parties to bear their own costs.

K. Ilakkiya