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Allahabad HC orders married daughter of govt servant entitled to job as dependent

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has said in an important decision that the married daughter of a government servant is also entitled to get a job as a dependent of the deceased.

The Division Bench of Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Om Prakash Shukla passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Neelam Devi.

The petitioner’s father was employed as Assistant Branch Accountant with the respondent-Bank, who unfortunately died in harness and accordingly the petitioner being his daughter made an application seeking compassionate appointment.

However, the compassionate appointment, as claimed by the petitioner, has been denied solely on the ground that she is a married daughter of the deceased employee.

In terms of the provisions contained in Regulation 104 of the U.P Cooperative Societies Employees’ Service Regulations, 1975, it is only unmarried daughter who is eligible for being offered compassionate appointment and not the married daughter. The claim of the petitioner was, thus, rejected by means of an order dated 29.01.2021, which is under challenge before us in the writ petition.

Apart from challenging the said order of rejection of claim of the petitioner for compassionate appointment, the petitioner has also prayed for issuance of an appropriate writ striking down the word ‘unmarried’ occurring in Regulation 104 of Regulations 1975.

It appears that during pendency of the writ petition a proposal was made by Institutional Service Board to amend Regulation 104 of Regulations 1975, however, the said proposal has been turned down by the State Government and information to the said effect has been sent to the office of the Chief Standing Counsel by the State Government which is contained in the letter dated 27.03.2023.

For governing the conditions of service of the employees of Cooperative Societies in the State of Uttar Pradesh, regulations have been framed by U.P Cooperative Institutional Service Board in terms of the provisions contained in Section 122 of U.P Cooperative Societies Act, 1965 which empowers the Board to frame regulations regulating the conditions of service, however, such regulations are subject to approval of the State Government.

It is in exercise of powers vested by Section 122 of the 1965 Act that 1975 Regulations have been made by the Board with the approval of the State Government and it is as per the requirement of Section 122 of 1965 Act that amendment in Regulation 104 of Regulations 1975 was proposed by the Board, however, the State Government has refused to accord its approval to the said proposal.

Regulation 104 of 1975 Regulations provides for recruitment of dependents of the deceased employees. A note is appended to said Regulation 104, according to which “family” includes the wife/husband, sons and unmarried or widowed daughters of the deceased employee. The amendment by the Board was proposed to include daughters irrespective of their marital status, however, the said amendment has not been acceded to by the State Government.

At this juncture, the Court noted that so far as the State Government employees are concerned, compassionate appointments are governed by statutory prescriptions available in the U.P. Recruitment of Dependants of Government Servants Dying in Harness Rules, 1974. The said Rules have been framed under Article 309 of the Constitution of India and initially within the definition of the word “family”, these rules also did not include ‘unmarried daughters’.

The Court observed that,

However, a Division Bench of the Court in a bunch of cases, leading writ petition, Smt Vimla Srivastava Vs State of Uttar Pradesh and Another delivered a judgment on 04.12.2015 striking down the word “unmarried” in Rule 2 (c)(iii) of the Dying in Harness Rules applicable to the State Government employees. Parity of the judgment in the case of Vimla Srivastava was given to another individual, namely, Neha Srivastava by a judgment of the Court delivered by a Division Bench on 23.12.2015 in Special Appeal (Neha Srivastava Vs State of U.P & Another). The said judgment by the Division Bench in the case of Neha Srivastava was taken up by the State Government before the Supreme Court by instituting a Special Leave Petition which was dismissed by the Supreme Court by means of the order dated 23.07.2019. After the aforesaid order passed by the Supreme Court dismissing the special leave petition of the State Government in the case of Neha Srivastava, so far as the Rules governing the compassionate appointment in respect of State Government employees are concerned, an amendment has been brought in the said Rules vide notification dated 12.11.2021. According to the said amendment, “family” now includes daughters irrespective of their marital status.

The Court did not find any plausible reason why the proposal made by the Institutional Service Board for making amendment in the note appended to Regulation 104 of the 1975 Service Regulations could be turned down by the State Government. If compassionate appointment has been made available to the daughters irrespective of their marital status, of the State Government employees, there does not appear to be any reason why such benefit should be refused to the daughters of the deceased employees who have served a Cooperative Society in the State of Uttar Pradesh. The conditions of services are governed by statutory prescriptions made in terms of provisions contained in Section 122 of 1965 Act. We are rather at dismay by noticing that the proposal sent by the Institutional Board has not been approved though in respect of State Government employees the provision has been amended where “family” now includes daughters irrespective of their marital status. It cannot be presumed that the State while rejecting the proposal sent by the Institutional Service Board for amending Regulation 104 was not aware of the Division Bench Judgment of the Court in the case of Vimla Srivastava and Neha Srivastava (supra). It is also difficult to comprehend as to why the fact that the special leave petition filed by the State in the case of Neha Srivastava has been dismissed paving the way to give the benefit of compassionate appointment to all the daughters of the deceased employees irrespective of their marital status has gone unnoticed.

For the aforesaid reasons, the Court allowed the petition and the word “unmarried” occurring in the note appended to Regulation 104 of U.P Cooperative Societies Employees’ Service Regulations, 1975 is hereby struck down.

“We, accordingly, also quash the impugned order dated 29.01.2021 passed by the General Manager (Administration) of the respondent-Bank as is contained in the writ petition.

Resultantly, we also direct that the claim of the petitioner shall be considered for compassionate appointment treating her to be eligible for such claim, within a period of two months from the date of production of a certified copy of this order.

We categorically direct the authority concerned of the respondent-Bank shall decide the claim of the petitioner within the period which is being stipulated in this order for the reason that already about four years time period has elapsed from the date of death of the deceased employee”, the Court ordered.

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