BY DANFES, AGENCY
New Delhi, The Delhi Transport Corporation has come in for criticism from the Central Administrative Tribunal for its "inhuman" attitude in repeatedly denying employment on compassionate grounds to a son of one of its conductors who died 12 years ago.
The DTC had rejected repeated requests of the youth for job on compassionate grounds as it was of the view that he had approached it 10 years after his father's death.
"The contention (of DTC) that as the family of the deceased was able to survive, for certain years, even after the death of the bread winner, they can survive for the rest of their life without any source of income, is unreasonable, irrational and inhuman," CAT member Ajay Kumar held.
The tribunal passed the order on Rahul Nagar's plea who had challenged the DTC's orders rejecting his job plea.
It also directed the DTC to reconsider within 90 days Rahul's plea for compassionate appointment in any suitable post as per rules.
Rahul submitted that his father Mahipal Singh, who worked as a conductor with DTC, met with an accident on October 9, 1998 while returning from duty. Since his right leg had to be amputated and he suffered 60 per cent disability, the DTC retired him prematurely on November 22, 1999.
A petition was filed by Singh in the Delhi High Court against his premature retirement. He, however, passed away in 2001 and the same was pursued by his family.
The high court in March 2002 quashed Singh's termination order and declared that he be treated to be in continuous employment of DTC till he expired on June 10, 2001.
Thereafter, Singh's wife made repeated representations before DTC requesting that she be appointed to a suitable post on compassionate grounds but got no response. She then made a request in January 2011 for a job for her elder son Rahul.
Nagar's counsel told the tribunal that their pleas were rejected without giving any reasons which is illegal, arbitrary and violative of principles of natural justice.
The DTC in its reply claimed that though Singh had died in 2001, a request for job was made by Rahul only in 2011, after a lapse of about 10 years.
"The appointment on compassionate grounds is an exception to the rule and meant for immediate relief to the destitute family. It is not a source of recruitment... and the persons, though entitled for compassionate appointment, cannot be permitted to seek the same whenever they feel," it said.
"Compassionate employment is not a vested right which can be exercised at any time. The object being to enable the family to get over the financial crisis which it faces at the time of the death of the sole breadwinner, the compassionate employment cannot be claimed and offered whatever the lapse of time and after the crisis is over," it added.
The tribunal, however, held that the DTC has not placed before it any rule prescribing any time limit for making a request or for consideration for job on compassionate grounds.
Nagar said his father's death had put the family in great financial and mental agony and that his mother had made pleas for job within time but the DTC did not consider it.
He also said he was a minor at the time of his father's death. He said he completed graduation and then made the request for a job in 2011.
The CAT said the DTC could not reject their representation on the sole ground of lapse of time, without even going into their financial condition.
It noted that the apex court also while cautioning authorities not to entertain casual applications after a considerable time for appointment on compassionate grounds, has, however, observed that it is the indigent condition of the deceased's family which is the paramount criteria for consideration under the scheme of compassionate appointment.