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Excluding Married Daughter From Seeking Benefit Of Compassionate Appointment Is Unconstitutional: Karnataka High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
16 Dec 2020 3:35 AM GMT
Excluding Married Daughter From Seeking Benefit Of Compassionate Appointment Is Unconstitutional: Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court held that excluding a married daughter from consideration for appointment on compassionate ground is unconstitutional.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...

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The Karnataka High Court held that excluding a married daughter from consideration for appointment on compassionate ground is unconstitutional.

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, Justice M Nagaprasanna observed while allowing a writ petition filed by a woman.

One Bhuvaneshwari V. Puranik had approached the High Court challenging the denial of consideration for appointment on compassionate ground on the death of her father on the score that she is "a married daughter". She contended that the Rule 2(1)(a)(i), Rule 2(1)(b) and Rule 3(2)(i)(c) of the Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1996 are ultravires the Constitution as it violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

In this case, the deceased Government servant had a son and a daughter. The son declined the appointment on the ground that he is not willing. The claim made by the daughter was denied on the ground she is married. The factor of dependency which is the key to grant or deny compassionate appointment is not even considered in the case at hand since the definition of 'dependants' and 'family' exclude the daughter who is married, the court noted.

The court observed that the Rules insofar as it creates division of the same object of appointment on the basis of gender by granting appointment to a son without any qualification and denying the same to a daughter with the qualification of "marriage" cannot but be held to be discriminatory. The court said:

Marriage does not determine the continuance of the relationship of a child with the parent, whether son or a daughter. Son continues to be a son both before and after marriage and a daughter also should continue to be a daughter both before and after marriage. This relationship does not get effaced by the fact of marriage, as marriage does not severe the relationship of the daughter with the parent. These relationships are neither governed nor defined by marital status. This notion on which the Rule is framed cannot answer the tests of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India.

The bench observed that the exclusion of married daughters from the ambit of expression 'family' in the above referred Rules is illegal and unconstitutional being violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution and therefore struck down the word "unmarried".

"The Rule that is called in question and has fallen for interpretation, without a shadow of a doubt is discriminatory as the words "unmarried" permeates through the entire fabric of Rule 2 and 3 as extracted hereinabove to deny appointment to a married daughter. If the Rule is left as it is, in view of my preceding analysis, would create a discrimination on the basis of gender. 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. It should be remembered that "nature bestows so much on women; the law cannot bestow too little"

 Holding thus, the bench directed the state reconsider the claim of the petitioner for appointment on compassionate grounds. 

The High Courts of RajasthanUttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madras, Allahabad, etc have passed similar judgments in the past holding that such exclusion of married daughters is unconstitutional. The Calcutta High Court has held that a divorced daughter would come under the definition of an "unmarried daughter" and would be eligible for appointment on compassionate grounds.

CASE: BHUVANESHWARI V.PURANIK vs. STATE OF KARNATAKA [WRIT PETITION No.17788/2018 ]
CORAM: JUSTICE M. NAGAPRASANNA 
COUNSEL: ADV MANMOHAN.P.N, AAG R.SUBRAMANYA ALONG WITH AGA R.SRINIVASA GOWDA


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