On Thursday, the Karnataka High Court ruled that married daughters are also entitled to seek employment on the grounds of compassion, emphasising that a woman after marriage doesn’t cease to be a part of the parental family. The court also directed the government to consider petitioner Bhuvaneswari Puranik’s appeal for a job in one of its departments.
The petitioner Bhuvaneswari’s representation for a job on compassionate grounds was rejected because she is married. Her brother chose not to seek the appointment on the grounds that he was not willing and is employed at a private firm.
The father of the petitioner, Ashok Adiveppa Madivalar, who worked as a secretary in the office of Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee in Kudachi, Belgaum district, died in 2016 on the job. His daughter’s application for the job was rejected by the Joint Director (admin), Department of Agriculture Marketing.
Subsequently, Bhuvaneswari challenged the order at the High Court, citing that it is discriminatory.
The High Court—striking down rules which considered only an unmarried daughter as a family member—said that exclusion of married daughters from the purview of ‘family’ is discriminatory and unconstitutional under the Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Ground) Rules, 1966.
Justice M Nagaprasanna said that the rules are discriminatory and violate Articles 14 and 15 that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex or gender.
The court noted that the factor of dependency, the key to grant or deny compassionate appointment, was not even considered in the case at hand since the definition of 'dependants' and 'family' exclude the daughter who is married.
The order read, “if the marital status of the son doesn’t affect in law to his entitlement for seeking an appointment on compassionate grounds, then the marital status of the daughter should not make a difference either. Law cannot assume that only married sons alone continue to be a part of the family.”
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had in July 2020, announced that married daughters of a deceased government employee can be considered for compassionate appointment.