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All About the Compassionate Appointments Making Authority

Mar 14, 2023

Compassionate Appointments Making Authority

Enhance your UPSC CSE preparation with our daily dose of Current Affairs wherein we discuss topics that make news at National and International level.

In today's edition of our Current Affairs, we will discuss All About the Compassionate Appointments Making Authority. The topic's relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus is mentioned below.

For Prelims : Polity and Governance

Compassionate appointments, Article 39 of the Indian Constitution, Directive Principles of State Policy, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Supplementary Rule 2(10).

For Mains : GS Paper II (Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors)

About compassionate appointments, Eligibility for compassionate appointments, About the compassionate appointments making authority.

Context

In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court rejected some applications for “compassionate appointments" that were filed by the dependents of deceased government employees in West Bengal.

  • The bench of Justice underlined that compassionate appointment is not a vested right of such dependents of a deceased employee.

Probable Question

What are compassionate appointments? Also states the eligibility criteria for appointment. (150 words, 10 marks)

About Compassionate Appointments

  • The right to a livelihood is discussed in Article 39 of the Indian Constitution, which is under the Directive Principles of State Policy. This is where the idea of compassionate appointments comes from. 
  • Objective: It aims to give employment, on compassionate grounds, to dependent family members of a government employee who passes away in the line of duty or retires due to illness, leaving the family without a source of support.
  • Multiple factors responsible for compassionate appointments: The financial condition of the family, the presence of earning members, family size, children’s ages, and the essential needs of the family.
  • According to the DoPT’s office memorandum dated January 16, 2023, these appointments can only be made for “Group ‘C’ posts against the direct recruitment quota.”

Also read: Indian Constitution: Why and How? - NCERT Notes UPSC

Eligibility for Compassionate Appointments

  • According to instructions on “Compassionate Appointment under Central Government” given by the DoPT, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions on August 2, 2022, compassionate appointments can extend to dependent family members on a “regular basis” government servants who:
  1. Dies while in service (including death by suicide)
  2. Retired on medical grounds under Rule 2 of the CCS (Medical Examination) Rules 1957 or the corresponding provision in the Central Civil Service Regulations before 55 years of age (57 years for erstwhile Group ‘D’ Government servants);
  3. Retired on medical grounds under Rule 38 of the CCS(Pension) Rules, 1972 or the corresponding provision in the Central Civil Service Regulations before attaining the age of 55 years (57 years for erstwhile Group ‘D’ Government servants).
  • The measure can also extend to the family members of an Armed Forces employee who:
  1. Dies during service;
  2. Is killed in action; or
  3. Is medically boarded out and is unfit for civil employment.
  • This is not applicable on a daily wage, casual, apprentice, ad-hoc, contract, or reemployment basis.
  • The deceased’s dependents were wholly dependent on the government servant at the time of their death in harness or retirement on medical grounds.
  • Also, the dependent can only be first-degree relations such as their spouse, son or daughter (including adopted ones), brother or sister in the case of an unmarried Government servant or member of the Armed Force.
  • To be eligible for this, the deceased’s family must be “indigent” or needy and deserving of “immediate assistance for relief from financial destitution”. 
  • The applicant should also be eligible and suitable for the post in all respects under the provisions of the relevant Recruitment Rules.

Also read: Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution- NCERT Notes UPSC

About the Compassionate Appointments Making Authority

  • Compassionate appointments are made by either the Joint Secretary in charge of administration in the Ministry or Department concerned or the “Head of the Department under the Supplementary Rule 2(10) in the case of attached and subordinate offices.” 
  • They can also be made by the Secretary of a Ministry or Department in special cases.

Supreme Court verdict on ECI appointments

The Court also cited a number of its decisions from 1989 and 1994, "Sushma Gosain v. Union of India" and "Umesh Kumar Nagpal v. State of Haryana," respectively, to state the following:

  • There shouldn’t be delays in compassionate appointments.
  • Compassionate appointments should be "provided immediately to redeem the family in distress," 

The SC also stated that all the above-mentioned verdicts will only be applicable provided the following:

  • The government or public authority examines the financial situation of the deceased's family and is satisfied that "but for the provision of employment, the family will not be able to meet the crisis.”

News Source: The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-law/supreme-court-compassionate-appointment-ruling-8492120/

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the concept of a compassionate appointment?

A compassionate appointment aims to give employment, on compassionate grounds, to dependent family members of a government employee who passes away in the line of duty or retires due to illness, leaving the family without a source of support.

What is the maximum age for a compassionate appointment?

The upper age limit could be relaxed wherever it is found to be necessary. The lower age limit should, however, in no case be relaxed below 18 years of age.

  1. Age eligibility shall be determined with reference to the date of application and not the date of appointment;
  2. An authority competent to make a final decision for making a compassionate appointment in a case shall also be competent to grant relaxation of the upper age limit also for making such an appointment.

Is compassionate appointments a fundamental right?

According to the Supreme Court, granting employment on compassionate grounds is a concession rather than a right because it helps the affected family get through an unexpected crisis.  Instead, the right to a livelihood is discussed in Article 39 of the Indian Constitution, which is under the Directive Principles of State Policy. This is where the idea of compassionate appointments comes from

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