LE Staff

Bengaluru, July 20, 2021: The Karnataka High Court has held that failure to consider applications seeking appointment on compassionate grounds, within a period of three months, will make the concerned authorities liable to pay damages if the appointment is eventually granted. 

A Bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna observed that delay in considering such applications will defeat the very purpose of Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1996. The High Court also opined that a family which loses its breadwinner would be driven to impecuniosities or become condemned by penury. Therefore, the need for immediate consideration of such representations/applications for appointment on compassionate grounds is paramount. 

These observations were made by the High Court while directing the State government to consider the five-year-old application of the petitioner, who had sought compassionate appointment following the death of his father who was a headmaster in a government-aided school in Mysuru.

Justice Nagaprasanna after examining the Karnataka Civil Services Rules, 1996, noted that the application for compassionate appointment shall be made within a year from the date of death of the government servant.

“This has all along remained only on paper and is seldom implemented by the State, most conspicuously seldom in the cases that are brought before the Court. These very Rules bind the applicants to give an application seeking appointment on compassionate grounds within one year from the date of death. If Rule 5 is binding on an applicant, sub- Rule (2) of Rule 6 would become binding on the State as well,” opined the Bench.

The High Court while directing that such appointment shall be mandatorily made as far as possible within a period of three months, also observed that any unreasoned delay on the part of the authority competent to consider such application would render such authority personally liable to pay damages to such applicant by way of wages that the applicant would be entitled to, if an appointment had been granted.

Therefore, in order to tackle this issue of the authorities in failing to consider applications seeking compassionate appointment on time, Justice Nagaprasanna stated that the authorities would be made personally responsible for the unjustified delay. 

“This Court, in umpteen number of cases, has come across the authorities not considering the applications given seeking appointment on compassionate grounds immediately notwithstanding the need for appointment lying in its immediacy. Keeping the application pending for years or months will defeat the very object of framing the Rule for grant of appointment on compassionate grounds,” said the Bench. 

Accordingly, the High Court proceeded to direct the Department of Secondary and Primary Education to reconsider the case of the petitioner for appointment on compassionate grounds within eight weeks.

The High Court also added that in case of any failure to adhere to its directions, the petitioner would be entitled to a salary in lowest post of Group-C till such consideration.

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