New Delhi: The Allahabad high court has ruled that a married daughter of a government official who dies during his service is as eligible as her married brother for the job on compassionate grounds.
Justice J.J. Munir gave the ruling on a plea by Manjul Srivastava, a native of the state who challenged a June 2020 order of the Prayagraj’s district basic education officer, rejecting her claim to be appointed to her father’s post on compassionate grounds following his death during service.
The district’s education department had dismissed her claim, saying she was a “married daughter” of the deceased official and her appointment would violate the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Recruitment of Dependents of Government Servants Dying in Harness Rules, 1974.
The high court, however, held that a married daughter is as eligible for government jobs on compassionate grounds as a married son or an unmarried daughter.
The bench held that rejecting the claim of a deceased government official’s daughter for a job on compassionate grounds only because she is married would breach the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 15 of the constitution.
The court recalled even earlier, in the Vimla Srivastava case, it had been held that the exclusion of married daughters from the definition of ‘family’ in the rules for appointment on compassionate grounds was unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the constitution.
Therefore, even if the state government has not amended the rule, it cannot be considered a subsisting provision for deciding the claim of a married daughter.
The court pointed out that even otherwise, the word ‘daughter’ figures in the rule shorn of any adjective in the definition of deceased’s family and accordingly the word ‘daughter’ has to be read unqualified by her marital status.
Accordingly, the relevant rules do not even require any further amendment to allow the government to give the job on compassionate ground to a married daughter of a deceased government servant, the court held.
The court asked the district education department to consider and decide Majul’s claim for compassionate appointment by law without reference to her marital status, within two months.
Many high courts have passed similar orders recently. In December 2020, the Karnataka high court also held that married daughters can seek employment on compassionate grounds. A month before that, the Himachal high court said “there can be no artificial classification between a married son and a married daughter only on the basis of sex”.
In 2019, the Uttarakhand high court said a ‘married daughter’ should be considered for appointment on compassionate grounds and that she should fall within the definition of her parents’ ‘family’, just like a ‘married son’ would be.
(With PTI inputs)