August 7, 2018
An interesting issue fell for consideration before the High Court, whereby the Court was confronted with the issue whether compassionate appointment could be rejected on discovery of new facts in subsequent proceedings.
Case name: Budhu Oraon v. Central Coalfields Limited
In the case, the Petitioner challenged second order by which his claim for compassionate appointment on death of his mother was declined.
The Petitioner’s mother died in harness and subsequently, the Petitioner submitted his application for compassionate appointment under the National Coal Wage Agreement (NCWA). However, the Petitioner’s application was rejected by the respondent-authority on the ground that application for compassionate appointment should have been submitted within six months from the date of death of his mother.
The Petitioner challenged the aforesaid order of the Respondent Authority, wherein the High Court remitted the matter back to the respondent for taking a decision afresh in the matter as the relevant scheme of NCWA did not stipulate submission of an application for compassionate appointment by a minor within six months.
When the matter was again taken by the Respondent, the Respondent again rejected the Petitioner’s application on the ground that at the relevant time the Petitioner was below the age of 15 years which was the minimum age for keeping a male dependent on live-roster.
The Petitioner has challenged the aforesaid order of Respondent contending that finality of litigation is the public policy and if the respondent-authority is permitted to raise new plea in subsequent proceedings it would become an unending process and, thus, it would not be in public interest.
The High Court of Jharkhand quashed the impugned order and observed that:
That the scheme for compassionate appointment should be implemented within the framework of the scheme but then the respondent-employer must display fairness in action while adjudicating the claim for compassionate appointment of a similarly situated dependent of another deceased employee.
The High Court noted that the Respondents at the time of previous proceeding did not raise the plea that the Petitioner’s age was not eligible for appointment.
In view of the aforesaid, the High Court directed the respondent to issue notice to the petitioner for ascertaining his eligibility in terms of educational qualification and medical fitness, if required, for his appointment, within six weeks.
The entire case can be accessed here.