No administration can be permitted to take a heartless approach towards its own employees and their families, the Bombay High Court has said while directing the Maharashtra government to consider the application of a police constable’s widow seeking employment on compassionate ground.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Gauri Godse in its order of August 4, which was made available on Thursday, noted that the woman has been seeking an opportunity for employment for the last 14 years, but every single time the door has been shut on her face.
The court was hearing a petition filed by 42-year-old Firdous Mohammad Patel, seeking a direction to the Maharashtra government to consider her request for employment on compassionate grounds. Firdous had first filed an application before the government in 2009 after the death of her husband Mohammad Yunus Patel, a constable with the Maharashtra police, in 2008. This was rejected on the ground that Patel had more than two children. As per the petition, Firdous was Patel’s second wife. The couple had two children.
In 2008, Patel and his first wife Raisa died due to a fire incident. Patel and Raisa had three children.
Raisa’s family and Firdous then arrived at a settlement by which Raisa’s children would be solely entitled to Patel’s terminal benefits, such as provident fund and gratuity, while Firdous would be entitled to apply for government service on compassionate grounds.
The high court, while quashing a November 2020 order passed by the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal rejecting Firdous’s application seeking employment on compassionate grounds, directed the Maharashtra government to consider Firdous for compassionate employment by September 19.
”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,” the court said.
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 November 2009, Firdous filed an application to the Maharashtra government seeking employment.
Till 2012, Firdous did not receive any response to her application, following which she approached the tribunal, which in November 2020 rejected her plea relying on a Government Resolution of March 2001 and pursuant rules issued in 2005 by which family members of employees who have more than two children are not eligible for employment on compassionate grounds.
In its order, the high court noted that appointment on compassionate ground 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 bench noted that in the present case, if the family of Patel and Firdous 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,” the court said.
The court, however, noted that this case cannot be considered as a precedent and that each case has to be decided on its own merits.