Job on compassionate grounds can’t be given years after death of employee

The Supreme Court observed that the very provision of providing job to a dependent of a deceased employee is to help the surviving family handle any sudden crisis arising from the death


The Kerala High Court had ordered a company to consider the application of a respondent for compassionate appointment 24 years post the death of the respondent’s father while in harness.

The deceased, who had passed away in 1995, was an employee of Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore. His daughter — a minor at the time — whose name was not even in the list of dependants submitted by the employee, had sought an appointment on compassionate grounds in 2018. The Company had rejected her appointment following which she had moved the High Court. When the Company’s appeal to a division bench of the Kerala High Court had been dismissed, it approached the Supreme Court. reported that a Bench of justices MR Shah and Krishna Murari observed that the very purpose of compassionate appointment is to help the surviving family of a deceased employee to tackle the sudden crisis that befalls them due to the death of the main bread winner of the family. The job is given to an eligible dependant, on compassionate grounds, so that the family is not left financially helpless. It is a purely humanitarian support. In no way does compassionate employment entail appointing a family member to the post rendered vacant by the deceased.

The counsel for the Company argued that the High Court should not have even considered the daughter’s petition demanding compassionate appointment after over two decades of her father’s death. Such a consideration was against the very purpose of appointment on compassionate grounds. When the daughter had applied for compassionate employment in 2018, her application was rejected as her name did not feature in the list of dependants.

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