IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
SUBJECT: APPOINTMENT ON COMPASSIONATE GROUNDS
Date of decision: March 10, 2005.
Raj Kumar Lohmorh Petitioner
Through Mr.D.K.Sammi, Advocate
Govt.of NCT of Delhi
through The Secretary
Through Mr.George Paracken, Advocate
Manmohan Sarin, J (ORAL)
1. Petitioner-Raj Kumar Lohmorh has filed this writ petition, seeking a writ of certiorari for quashing the impugned order dated 7th October, 2002, (Annexure P-1) of Deputy Secretary (Services) of Government of NCT. By the impugned order, petitioner was notified that his request for appointment on compassionate grounds had been considered by the Screening Committee, but could not be recommended, due to shortage of vacancies.
2. Petitioner is the son of late Shri Than Singh Lohmorh, who was working as Drawing Teacher in the Govt.Boys Senior Secondary School under the Director of Education. He had been employed on 22nd August, 1974 and died while in harness on 16th September, 1998. Late Than Singh Lohmorh left behind the petitioner, his widow, Kamla and two other daughters and two sons all between the age of 23 to 29 years. Petitioner is 31 years old married and has two children. Petition does not give any particulars about the family circumstances of the deceased's family i.e., the petitioner and his brothers and sisters. Petitioner claims that the deceased was seriously ill before his death and the petitioner and his family had to borrow money for treatment of deceased and became indebted. It is stated that there is no earning source in the family of the petitioner. The family pension is being received by the deceased widow to the extent of Rs.5150/-, which is likely to be reduced.
3. Petitioner's grievance is that he was informed for the first time by the respondent that his application regarding appointment on compassionate ground, would be considered by the Screening Committee on 28th January, 1999. Petitioner claims that he was subsequently informed that as per the Screening committee, his name had been shortlisted for the post of LDC. Petitioner's name had been kept in the waiting list. In the second week of October, 2002, petitioner received a letter from the respondent's office that through another Screening Committee meeting held on 12th July, 2002, his name had been struck off from the short listed names. Petitioner questions the said action in striking out the name of the petitioner by the Screening Committee on 12th July, 2002. A legal notice dated 11th January, 2003, was also served by the petitioner but to no avail. Petitioner's main grievance is that his name was short listed for the post of LDC, as per the Screening Committee recommendation on 28th January, 1999 but when his turn came after waiting for over 3 years, his name was deleted through another Screening Committee, which proves the mis-management on the part of the respondent. Petitioner holds the respondent responsible for the delay in granting compassionate appointment and then using the said delay for rejecting the petitioner's case.
4. Notice in the writ petition had been issued. Counter affidavit has also been filed. Petitioner, as noted earlier, had been empanelled for compassionate appointment on 28th January, 1999. Petitioner could not be accommodated in the years 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 in the 5% restricted number of vacancies available for compassionate appointment. It is stated that in the meeting of 12th July, 2002, Screening Committee considered afresh all the pending cases, when it was found that number of candidates applied for compassionate appointment was much more than the number of vacancies available. Circular No.E.No.14014/23/99-Estt.(D) dated 3rd December, 1999, enjoins upon the respondent to make the recommendation for compassionate appointment only in deserving cases in a manner that appointment on compassionate ground is made within a year, subject to the ceiling limit of 5%. This is in consonance with the dictum of the Supreme court holding that the purpose of compassionate appointment is to provide immediate succour to the bereaved family.
5. To satisfy the judicial conscience that petitioner had not suffered any discrimination and appointments were not made in an arbitrary manner, records and details of the candidates considered by the Screening Committee were called for. Records have been produced. Additional affidavit has also been filed by the respondent with regard to the appointments made. Respondents in the affidavit have averred that in terms of the Government of India DOPT OM No.F.14014/6/95-Estt. Dated 26th September, 1995, there was a ceiling on compassionate appointment up to maximum of 5% of vacancies available under the Direct Recruitment quota of Group C or Group D. The approach has been that appointment on compassionate ground should be recommended only in deserving cases, within the ceiling limit. A total number of 162 cases had been recommended for the post of LDC/Grade IV (DASS) in the meeting held on 26th April, 1998, 18th August, 1998, 28th January, 1999, 28-29th June, 1999 and 17-19th April, 2000. These cases were pending due to non-availability of vacancies from the year 1998 to 2001. Out of 162 cases only 3 candidates had been given appointment, as per the need, requirement, suitability and qualifications. The remaining 159 candidates recommended for appointment on compassionate ground to the post of Group IV were not made due to non-availability of vacancies. Petitioner happens to be one out of the 159 cases.
6. The Government of NCT, it appears, sought relaxation in increasing the percentage of compassionate appointment or to allow it to file an appeal for the same before the Supreme Court. The Central Government informed the Government of NCT vide letter of 29th May, 2000 to follow the existing instructions. Accordingly, Government of NCT was required to view the need for compassionate appointment on the basis of existing instructions. The Competent Authority took the view that genuine deserving cases were not being given help due to large number of people already empanelled for compassionate appointment, as per the recommendation of the earlier Screening Committee, who were in waiting list. The Competent Authority, therefore, decided to examine afresh the total number of empanelled cases so as to provide immediate assistance to the needy family.
7. Appointment on compassionate grounds cannot be permitted to turn into a scheme to give Government jobs, who may have lost a family member. It was intended to provide immediate succour to a family, who is in a state of penury and needed immediate relief. Keeping this in mind, respondent applied the following criteria:-
A. That the first priority would be for families, which are living in extremely indigent circumstances and having all children, who are less than 12 years of age and no other source of livelihood e.g. rent, ownership of a house etc.
B. Next consideration can be given to cases, where the family is in extremely indigent circumstances and has minor children less than 18 years of age and no other source of employment.
8. Records have been perused. It is noticed that the petitioner's case does not call within those, who would get priority, on the basis of the above criteria. In these circumstances, though the petitioner's case had been kept for consideration, it could not be allowed on in view of other deserving cases. Moreover, considering the circumstances of the petitioner, the legal heirs left by the deceased and their respective age, it would be seen that there are no minor children involved. Besides, the deceased left behind three sons and a widow, whose financial status has not been disclosed. In these circumstances, I do not find that the decision making process is flawed either on account of any discrimination or infirmity. The removal of the name of the petitioner from the waiting list is in accordance with the instructions of the Government of India and the criteria adopted.
No case is made out for interference in the exercise of writ jurisdiction. Writ petition is dismissed.
March 10,2005 Sd./- Manmohan Sarin,J.