Read Order: Sunita Devi v. State Of Haryana and Another

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, April 16, 2022: While dealing with a Writ Petition assailing the order of the respondents denying the request of the petitioner-widow for appointment in the concerned department on compassionate grounds after the death of her husband during service, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that held that ordinarily the High Court would not have interfered in the matter of compassionate appointments in the absence of any policy qua the contractual employee, which concededly the husband of the petitioner was at the time of his death. 

However, given the mitigating circumstances as also the fact that deceased husband served the respondents for nine years, leaving behind young 33 years widow with four minor children to feed, the Bench of Justice Arun Monga added,“… it is expected of the respondents to have a compassionate outlook and try to accommodate the petitioner, subject of course to the requirement of services, on any suitable post in any class, on a similar arrangement of contract like her husband.”

The husband of the petitioner was working with the respondent-department on a contract basis. He died in harness on June 02, 2020. The petitioner (widow) sought her appointment on compassionate grounds after the death of her husband. However, her request was conceded to, resultantly, the petitioner approached the High Court seeking the issuance of a writ in the nature of certiorari to quash the impugned order dated December 18, 2020 whereby she was neither granted the service benefits on account of her husband’s death nor her request for the compassionate appointment was considered. 

The counsel for the petitioner relied upon the judgment of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in Mamtesh vs State of Haryana and others in support of his arguments, wherein it was held that even in the case of a temporary employee working for the State, in the event of death in harness, benefit of compassionate appointment to one of the family members can be extended. Therefore, the counsel argued that in the case of the petitioner the same benefit ought to be accorded. He further added that the petitioner’s husband was admittedly a contractual employee but having served for nine years, he was entitled for regularization of his services, qua which his case was pending at the time when he suddenly died in the road accident. 

After hearing the Counsel, the Court observed at the very outset that ordinarily, the High Court would not have interfered in the matter of compassionate appointments in the absence of any policy qua the contractual employee, which concededly the husband of the petitioner was at the time of his death.

However, the Court added that given the mitigating circumstances as more particularly stated in the petition and also the fact that deceased husband of the petitioner served the respondents for nine years, leaving behind young 33 years widow with four minor children to feed, it was expected out of the respondents to have a compassionate outlook and try to accommodate the petitioner, subject of course to the requirement of services, on any suitable post in any class, on a similar arrangement of contract like her husband. 

Thus, the Court directed the respondents to expeditiously decide the matter given the fact that the petitioner and her four minor children continues live in penury caused by the sudden financial hardship due to the accidental death of her husband. 

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