21 November 2022

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A little more compassion for married daughters

Smt. Sarojni Bhoi v. State of Chhattisgarh and ors.


It may not quite be the “but-for-sex”, but Chhattisgarh High Court’s ruling took a step in quelling another probably archaic, certainly egregious government policy. In a petition challenging State policy disentitling married women, but not married men, from being granted compassionate appointment in lieu of their deceased parent, the Court held such policy “plainly arbitrary and violative of constitutional guarantee…in Article 14, 15 and 16(2)”. Aside from basing itself on the constitutionally enshrined principles of not discriminating on the basis of gender, the Court tendered legal precedent that a woman remains a daughter even after marriage.

Compassionate appointment, manifesting from welfare considerations, is schemed to prevent families of government employees from falling into impoverishment upon death of a sole breadwinner. Over many years the policy has transformed from what was at inception an unfettered access into government service without regard for qualification, eligibility or, occasionally, actual financial need. Be it time taken to apply for compassionate appointment, financial means of the family and suitability for position, Courts have endeavoured to make compassionate appointments fairer not only for the government subjected to them, but also for those being granted benefit. A Rajasthan High Court decision, for instance, was faced with the dilemma whether a daughter-in-law could be granted compassionate appointment in the event of her husband and father-in-law’s death. It held that a ‘widowed daughter-in-law’, regardless of religion, could seek appointment under the definition of ‘widowed daughter’. However, Courts have been belaboured by inconsonant Central and State policies, particularly those that are insufficient to cover the vast array of peculiar circumstances that have arisen.

Compassionate appointment claims


Scheme for Compassionate Appointment

State of J and K and Ors. v. Sajad Ahmed Mir MANU/SC/3077/2006
Smt. Pinki v. State of Rajasthan and Ors. MANU/RH/0685/2011

Tags : compassionate appointment married daughter Chhattisgarh

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