Married daughters entitled to job on compassionate grounds

The Allahabad High Court has ruled that married daughters of deceased government employees should be considered for appointment on compassionate grounds under the Dying in Harness Rules.

It held that the state government’s existing policy of extending the facility to only unmarried or widowed female offspring was “unconstitutional” and violated fundamental rights.

The petitioner had contended that the government policy was “discriminatory” and in violation of the Right to Equality as enshrined in the Constitution, since the marital status of sons of deceased government officials did not impact their eligibility for appointment on compassionate grounds.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice Yashwant Varma passed the order allowing the writ petition of Vimla Srivastava, whose father had died while serving as a revenue department official in Azamgarh district.

The petitioner had challenged the rejection of her request for a job on compassionate grounds by the District Magistrate of Azamgarh, who had remarked that as per Uttar Pradesh Recruitment of Dependants of Government Servants’ Dying-in-Harness Rules requests of only widowed or unmarried daughters could be accommodated.

The court was of the view that “a married daughter cannot be deprived of her right merely because of her marital status” and termed as “not acceptable” the state government’s contention that “daughters, upon their marriage, become a member of their in-laws’ family and being looked after their husbands, they are not included among the dependants of the father”.

The court pointed out that the exclusion of married daughters violated Articles 14 (Right to Equality), 15 (prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, caste etc.) and 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment).

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