Married woman can get father’s job: Madras HC
CHENNAI: Why is it that a married daughter of a deceased government employee is not eligible for appointment under compassionate grounds, whereas a married son is eligible, the Madras high court has wondered. “There cannot be any discrimination between a married son and a married daughter. Making discrimination between a son and a daughter on the ground of marriage is arbitrary and violative of fundamental right to equality,” Justice D Hariparanthaman said in a ruling last week.
The matter relates to a petition filed by P R Renuka, saying that her father, an office assistant with the animal husbandry department, died while in service in February 1998. He left behind his wife and three married daughters, besides an unmarried daughter.
Since Renuka was the eldest among them, and also because she had been deserted by her husband and hence living with her father at the time of his death, she sought employment under compassionate grounds. She also furnished a copy of her divorce decree dated September 9, 1999.
The authorities rejected her plea on September 16, 2002 stating that she was not entitled for compassionate appointment because she was already married. Noting that her divorce came more than one-and-a-half years after her father’s death, the government said only an unmarried daughter or one who is divorcee at the time of her father’s death is eligible for appointment under compassionate grounds.
Madras high court
Rejecting the contention, Justice Hariparanthaman pointed out that the woman had said that even before her father’s death she was living with him. Also, the only reason given by authorities to reject her claim was that she was married.”When she has come with a plea that she was deserted by her husband, and a decree of divorce was granted, and that she was under the care and control of her father at the time of his death, the government cannot deny compassionate appointment on the ground that the divorce was obtained after the death of her father,” Justice Hariparanthaman said.
Relying on a July 2012 judgment of the high court, the judge said, “If marriage is not a bar in the case of son, the same yardstick shall be applied in the case of daughter also.” He then followed the earlier verdict and said there could not be any unequal treatment among children based on gender. Quashing the rejection order, the judge then directed the authorities to provide compassionate appointment to Renuka in eight weeks.