Youngster Misplaced In Custody By Deceased Govt Worker To Be Thought-about As ‘Dependant’ For Compassionate Appointment: MP Excessive Courtroom

The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently held that the child of the deceased government employee shall be considered as ‘Dependant’, despite the parent losing their custody, for the purpose of compassionate employment.

Deciding the write petition, Justice Vivek Agarwal observed-

I am of the opinion that impugned order deserves to be quashed as it is arbitrary and has failed to take into consideration a comprehensive meaning of the word ‘dependent’. Respondents have tried to supply a very restricted meaning to the clause ‘dependents’, vide Annexure P-10, whereas admittedly, by virtue of divorce of his mother, petitioner No.1 will not lose his status of being a son who is covered by definition of ‘dependent family member’.

The case of the petitioner was that his father was a government employee who died while in service, leaving behind a widow and the petitioner who at the time of his death was a minor. On attaining majority, the petitioner had moved an application for grant of compassionate appointment before the authority concerned. However, his application was rejected. Aggrieved by the same, the Petitioner moved the Court challenging the rejection of his application.

Justifying the rejection of the application moved by the Petitioner, the Respondents argued that the Petitioner did not come under the definition of ‘dependent family member’ of the deceased. It was submitted before the Court that the deceased employee had moved an application under Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act for the custody of the Petitioner but the same was rejected. It was asserted that since the Petitioner grew up separately from his father, he was not ‘wholly dependent’ on him and therefore, he could not claim the benefit of compassionate employment.

Considering the submissions of the parties and documents on record, the Court examined the definition of the word ‘dependency’ within the factual matrix of the case-

According to this dictionary, ‘dependency’ is the state of needing help and support of in order to survive or be successful. When this definition is taken into consideration then, it is evident that reliance of the learned Counsel for the respondents on the fact that petitioner No.2 had separated from her husband is of no consequence because despite divorce of petitioner No.2, petitioner No .1 will be dependent on his father with whom petitioner No.1, who was minor had not severed any relationship. It is also not in dispute, that deceased Girish Pandey, was paying maintenance towards the up keeping of his son ie petitioner No.1, as is evident from para 14 of the order dated 11.05.2007, Annexure P-11. Thus the fact of dependency is established inasmuch as, firstly, petitioner No.1 being son will be covered by the definition of ‘dependent family member’ and secondly; deceased employee paying the maintenance establishes the dependence of the petitioner No.1 on the deceased Government servant. No narrow construction can be given to the clause ‘wholly dependent’, so to frustrate the basic aim of providing ‘bread and butter’ to the legal heir of a deceased employee.

Placing reliance on the decision of the Apex Court in State of MP & Ors. v. MP Ojha & Anr., the Court observed that the expression ‘wholly dependent’ was not a term of art. It had to be given its due meaning with reference to the Rules in which it appears-

Ordinarily dependent means financial dependent but for a member of family it would mean other support, may be physical, as well. To be “wholly dependent” would therefore include both financial and physical dependence. If support is required is physical and a member of the family is otherwise financially sound he may not necessarily be wholly dependent.

With regard to the submissions made by the Intervenor, who was the beneficiary of the Will of the deceased employee, the Court held that the post for compassionate appointment was not the estate of the deceased employee and it could not be Willed. Therefore, it was observed that it was only the Petitioner who could claim the benefit of compassionate appointment and not the Intervenor.

With the aforesaid observations, the Court allowed the Petition by directing the Respondents to do the needful within 60 days of the order.


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