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Right Of Married Daughter In Compassionate Employment

Right Of Married Daughter In Compassionate Employment

Law is the reflection of society. Since ages there has been discrimination against daughters vis-a vis sons. Daughters were being discriminated by the society in several aspects like property rights, ownership rights, voting rights, employment rights etc. Gender stereotype prevalent in the society were also reflected in the prevalent laws. One such discrimination can be seen in the service rules made by many Government & PSU companies specifically excluding married daughters for compassionate employment.

This article explores how the Supreme Court & different High Courts of India have tried to keep the constitutional values intact.

View of Supreme court & High Court on exclusion of married daughters in employment.

Article 14 talks about right to equality and Article 15 of Indian Constitution provides that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. Thus in light of the above provisions it is incumbent on the state not to discriminate married daughter vis-à-vis married son in cases of compassionate appointment.

It has been observed that in many institutions, the service rules provides for compassionate appointment, in case of death of the employee to the heirs i.e to spouse, sons and unmarried daughters. In such rules it is important to note that the adjective "married" is prefixed with daughters only however there is no demarcation of married or unmarried son in this regard.

Aggrieved from such clauses many women have approached the Courts , details of such judgment are enumerated below:
Supreme Court in the recent case of State of Karnataka & Ors. v. C.N. Apporva Shree & Anr[1] observed as follows:
"We give our full imprimatur to the reasoning of the High Court, more so, as even the rule in question relied upon by the petitioner to deny a married daughter a job on compassionate grounds while permitting it to a married son, has been quashed in the judgment of the Karnataka High Court in Bhuvaneshwari V. Purani v. State of Karnataka - (2021) 1 AKR 444 [AIR Online 2020 Kar 2303]. The Special Leave Petition is dismissed."

In the said case of Bhuvaneshwari v/s Purani v. State of Karnataka[2] the Hon'ble High Court has observed as follows:-

"If the marital status of a son does not make any difference in law to his entitlement for seeking appointment on compassionate grounds, the marital status of a daughter should make no difference, as the married daughter does not cease to be a part of the family and law cannot make an assumption that married sons alone continue to be the part of the family. Therefore, the Rule which becomes violative of Articles 14, 15 on its interpretation will have to be struck down as unconstitutional as excluding the daughters purely on the basis of marriage will constitute an impermissible discrimination which is invidious and be violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India."

Similarly, the question: "Whether the policy decision of the State Government to exclude from the zone of compassionate appointment a daughter of an employee, dying-in -harness or suffering permanent incapacitation, who is married on the date of death/permanent incapacitation of the employee although she is solely dependent on the earnings of such employee, is constitutionally valid?" came up for consideration before a Larger Bench of High Court of Calcutta in State of W.B. v. Purnima Das[3],

The Hon'ble Court observed that:
"…..We are inclined to hold that for the purpose of a scheme for compassionate appointment every such member of the family of the Government employee who is dependent on the earnings of such employee for his/her survival must be considered to belong to 'a class '. Exclusion of any member of a family on the ground that he/she is not so dependent would be justified, but certainly not on the grounds of gender or marital status. If so permitted, a married daughter would stand deprived of the benefit that a married son would be entitled under the scheme. A married son and a married daughter may appear to constitute different classes but when a claim for compassionate appointment is involved, they have to be treated equally and at par if it is demonstrated that both depended on the earnings of their deceased father/mother (Government employee) for their survival. It is, therefore, difficult for us to sustain the classification as reasonable."

The issue with regard to validity of exclusion of married daughter also came for consideration before the Allahabad High Court in the case of Smt. Vimla Srivastava v. State of UP & Anr[4]. The Division Bench observed as follows:

Marriage does not determine the continuance of the relationship of a child, whether a son or a daughter, with the parents. A son continues to be a son both before and after marriage. A daughter continues to be a daughter. This relationship is not effaced either in fact or in law upon marriage. Marriage does not bring about a severance of the relationship between a father and mother and their son or between parents and their daughter. These relationships are not governed or defined by marital status.

Marriage cannot be regarded as a justifiable ground to define and exclude from who constitutes a member of the family when the state has adopted a social welfare policy which is grounded on dependency. The test in matters of compassionate appointment is a test of dependency within defined relationships…..

Whether or not a daughter of a deceased should be granted compassionate appointment has to be defined with reference to whether, on a consideration of all relevant facts and circumstances, she was dependent on the deceased government servant. Excluding daughters purely on the ground of marriage would constitute an impermissible discrimination and be violative of Article 14 & 15 of the Constitution."

In light of the above judgments it is concluded that the Hon'ble Supreme Court has dismissed many SLP's agreeing with the judgements of the High Courts that the state cannot discriminate against daughters on the basis of marriage in claims of compassionate employment upholding the constitutional values as laid down in Article 14 & 15 of the Indian Constitution. Whenever the state adopts a social welfare policy relating to compassionate employment the same must be based on dependency, rather being based on marital status of children. If the son remains son subsequent to marriage, a daughter does not cease to be a daughter after marriage, hence such discrimination is not permissible under the law.

  • SLP (C) No.20166/2021, decided on 17.12.2021.
  • (2021) 1 AKR 444 [AIR Online 2020 Kar 2303]
  • C.A.N. 12495 of 2014; 2018 Lab IC 1522.
  • Writ-C No. 60881 of 2015, decided on 04.12.2015

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