The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to consider the application of a police constable's widow seeking employment on compassionate grounds observing that no administration can be permitted to take a heartless approach towards its own employees and their families.
“No administration can be permitted to take so heartless an approach towards its own employees and their families. All that Firdous is seeking for the last 14 years is an opportunity to seek employment,” observed a division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Gauri Godse recently.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Firdous Mohammad Patel, 42, seeking that the government be directed to consider her request for employment on compassionate grounds. She approached the HC after the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) rejected her plea.
The court, asking the government to consider her request by September 19, observed that every single time, the door has been shut in her face without good or sufficient reason. For the last 14 years, since she was 28, Firdous has been seeking a consideration of her application for compassionate employment. Hopefully, her quest for justice ends today, the order said.
In 2009, Firdous had approached the government after the demise of her constable husband, Mohammad Yunus Patel. As she did not receive any response till 2012, she approached the MAT. In November 2020, the MAT rejected her plea relying on a March 2001 Government Resolution and subsequent rules issued in 2005, according to which family members of employees who have more than two children are not eligible for employment on compassionate grounds.
Firdaus was Patel’s second wife and they had two children, stated her plea.
In 2008, Patel and his first wife Raisa died due to a fire incident. Patel and Raisa had three children.
Firdaus and Raisa's family reached a settlement under which Raisa's children would be solely entitled to Patel's terminal benefits, such as provident fund and gratuity. Firdous, on the other hand, would be entitled to apply for government service on compassionate grounds.
The HC set aside the November 2020 order of the MAT stating that appointment on compassionate grounds is a concession and not an entitlement.
"...It is intended to assist the families of government employees to overcome the financial crises that result from a government employee's demise or early retirement," the high court said.
The court also noted that, if Firdaus and Patel’s is considered, then they have only two children. “We do not see how Firdous could possibly be held responsible for Mohammad's relationship with Raisa, his first wife, or his three children from the marriage with Raisa. Firdous was no part of that marriage,” added the court.
The judges have clarified that this case cannot be considered as a precedent and that each case has to be decided on its own merits.