The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka vide order dated 15.12.2020 held that excluding a married daughter from being considered for appointment to government jobs on compassionate grounds is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
The said order was passed by Justice M. Nagaprasanna while allowing a writ petition moved by a daughter against the denial of appointment on compassionate grounds to her deceased father’s job on account of her being a “married” woman.
On the death of the sole breadwinner of the family, Petitioner, the daughter of the deceased employee, submitted a representation on 08.11.2016 for grant of appointment on compassionate grounds, which was rejected by the third Respondent Joint Director (Administration), Department of Agriculture Marketing on the ground that the Rules obtaining does not entitle the Petitioner to seek an appointment on compassionate grounds on the score that she is the daughter of the deceased employee who is married.
Counsel for the Petitioner in the present matter submitted that the Rule which empowers the Government to reject an application of a married daughter falls foul of Article 14 of the Constitution as it is on the face of it discriminatory seeking to make a division of entitlement on the basis of gender. In the same context, the Petitioner requested the Hon’ble High Court to declare Rule 2(1)(a)(i), Rule 2(1)(b) and Rule 3(2)(i)(c) of the Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1996 as unconstitutional.
Counsel for the Respondent on the other hand contended that compassionate appointment was not a matter of right but a concession that is shown by the Government for a family which loses its breadwinner to tide over the immediate crisis that engulfs such families.
After taking note of the merits of the case, Justice M. Nagaprasanna held that if the marital status of a son does not make any difference in law to his entitlement for seeking appointment on compassionate grounds, then the same should be applicable to a daughter as well.
The High Court ultimately held that the Rules, insofar as it creates a division based on gender by denying appointment to a daughter for being married, cannot but be held to be discriminatory.
The factor of dependency, which is the key to grant or deny compassionate appointment, is not considered as the definition of ‘dependants’ and ‘family’ under the Rules exclude a daughter who is married, the Court noted.
The Bench went on to hold that the exclusion of married daughters from the ambit of the expression ‘family‘ in the above-referred Rules is illegal and unconstitutional for violating Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The Court, therefore, struck down the word “unmarried” from the Rules.
With these pertinent observations, the Bench directed the State government to reconsider the claim of the Petitioner for appointment on compassionate grounds.
It was thus stated as follows, “I allow the writ petition and hold that the exclusion of married daughters from the ambit of expression ‘family’ in Rule 2(1)(a)(i), Rule 2(1)(b) and Rule 3(2)(i)(c) of the Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1996 is illegal and unconstitutional being violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution”.