Rajwant Sandhu, Member (A).
1. This Original Application has been filed under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, seeking the following relief:-
'8(i) Letter dated 29.04.2011 (Annexure A-3) along with letter dated 07.11.2014 (Annexure A-8) may be set aside being illegal, arbitrary and discriminatory.
(ii) The respondents be directed to reconsider the claim of the applicant for the post of Postal Assistant on the compassionate ground in view of policy dated 10.09.1998 issued by Govt. of India as per judgment of Hon’ble High Court in the case of Bhupinder Batra Vs. UOI & Ors..'
2. Averment has been made in the OA that the father of the applicant who was earlier appointed as EDDA was promoted as Group ‘D’ on 13.01.1999 and he expired on 27.12.2008 leaving behind his wife, a married daughter and an unmarried son.
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The mother of the applicant received Rs.1,55,368 on account of retiral benefits and was getting Rs.4980 as family pension. The applicant who was 10 + 2 pass applied for the post of Postal Assistant on compassionate grounds in January, 2009 in view of policy dated 10.09.1998 (Annexure A-2). He was informed vide letter dated 29.04.2011 that his claim was considered by the Circle Relaxation Committee and after examining all aspects, his application for appointment as Postal Assistant on compassionate grounds had been rejected. The applicant again made representation dated 21.06.2011 for reconsidering his claim for alternate Group ‘D’ post but no reply was received by him. The applicant after getting information under RTI Act came to know that the respondents had adopted pick and choose policy while considering financial position of the family at the time of making compassionate appointment. Thereafter he served legal notice dated 01.10.2011 which was replied vide letter dated 07.11.2014 and his claim for appointment was rejected in view of the policy dated 20.01.2010.
3. It is further stated that the reply dated 07.11.2014 to the legal notice showed that the claim of the applicant was wrongly considered and rejected in view of the policy dated 20.01.2010 which was not prevalent at the time of death of the father of the applicant, as the same was applicable prospectively, and thus the claim of the applicant was required to be considered in view of policy O.M. dated 10.09.1998 issued by the Govt. of India as per judgment of the Hon’ble High Court in the case of Bhupinder Batra Vs. UOI & Ors. Hence this OA.
4. In the written statement filed on behalf of the respondents, it has been stated that the father of the applicant, namely, Sh. Ajit Rai Puri was a Group ‘D’ employee in Ludhiana City Division, when he died on 27.12.2008 after rendering a total service of 09 years 11 months and 12 days. He left behind his widow, a married daughter and the applicant. The family of the deceased is / was residing in their own house at Plot No.3637, VPO Bhattian Bet, District Ludhiana, measuring 100 yards worth Rs.3,50,000. The family of the deceased was paid discharge benefits to a sum of Rs.1,55,368. Besides, widow of the deceased employee is drawing family pension of Rs.4000 per month plus admissible allowances. Smt. Paramjit Puri, widow of the deceased, submitted an application dated nil requesting for appointment of her only son on compassionate grounds. Synopsis of the case for compassionate appointment was got prepared accordingly and the same were forwarded to the Circle Office i.e. Chief PMG, Punjab Circle, respondent no.2 on 04.06.2010, for its consideration by the Circle Relaxation Committee constituted for the purpose. The case was reverted to respondent no.3 with certain observations vide letter dated 09.06.2010. The observations were rectified and the undertaking of the applicant dated 18.06.2010, was submitted to Circle Office vide letter dated 23.07.2010. Subsequently, the applicant furnished an affidavit dated 22.12.2010 along with ‘Nakal Jmabandi’ of the property of the deceased from the Revenue Authorities confirming its worth as Rs.3,50,000.
5. It is further stated that the case of the applicant was accordingly placed before the Circle Relaxation Committee comprising of Sh. K.L. Khanna, Chief PMG (Chairman), Smt. Ranju Prasad, Postmaster General (Member) and Sh. Nirmaljit Singh, Director Postal Services (Member) in its meeting held on 11.04.2011 for consideration for compassionate appointment under relaxation to recruitment rules. The compassionate appointments are approved by Circle Relaxation Committee on the basis of relative merit points earned by the candidates as per instructions contained in DG Posts, New Delhi, letter no.37-36/2004-SPB-1/C dated 20.01.2010, in consonance with Compassionate Appointment Scheme of 1998. 26 applications were considered against 11 vacancies of PA / SA cadre for the purpose of compassionate appointment. The applicant earned total 53 points whereas the points of the candidates approved for appointment by the Circle Relaxation Committee ranged from 84 to 62 points. The case of the applicant was rejected by the Committee after examining all aspects of the case i.e. financial position, assets and liabilities of the family as per procedure for selection and instructions issued from time to time and keeping in view the limited number of vacancies and points earned by the applicant. The applicant was informed accordingly vide SSPO’s Ludhiana letter no.B-2/48/47/Varinder Kumar, dated 29.04.2011 (Annexure A-3).
6. Arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the parties were heard, when learned counsel for the applicant referred to judgment in Bhupinder Batra Vs. UOI & Ors. in CWP No.6173/CAT of 2011, decided on 05.10.2011 (Annexure A-1) to press that the claim of the applicant for appointment had to be considered in the light of the policy O.M. dated 09.10.1998 and without applying weightage point system introduced subsequently.
7. Learned counsel for the respondents reiterated the content of the written statement.
8. We have given our careful consideration to the matter. The sole premise relied upon by the applicant in this OA is that his claim for appointment on compassionate grounds was rejected through application of the points system while the same should have been considered as per the Scheme of Compassionate Appointment issued by the DoPT dated 09.10.1998 (Annexure A-2). It is seen that when the claim of the applicant for appointment on compassionate grounds was considered in April, 2011, there were 11 vacancies of PA / SA cadre to be filled through appointment of persons on compassionate grounds and there were 26 applicants. The applicant earned total 53 points whereas the candidates approved for appointment by the CRC got between 62 to 84 points. The CRC then concluded that the applicant’s claim for appointment on compassionate grounds was not as strong as those persons with higher merit points as these merit points took into account the financial position, assets and liabilities of the families, marriage and education of children, owning of a residential house etc.
9. Perusal of the Scheme dated 09.10.1998 shows that there is no guidance in the same as to how the claims of the applicants for appointment on compassionate grounds are to be considered relative to each other if the number of vacancies is limited. In our opinion, the merit points system adopted by the respondent Department is quite reasonable as it provides a transparent method of selection of the most deserving from amongst the applicants for appointment on compassionate grounds. Such an assessment system is necessary since it is seen quite often that keeping in view the 5% ceiling imposed on filling of direct recruitment vacancies through appointments on compassionate grounds, results in the number of vacancies being very limited while the number of applicants for such appointments are quite large.
10. The applicant has not claimed in his OA that the points assigned to him by the CRC were incorrect or that any of the persons who were selected for appointment had been given higher points wrongly. His sole reliance is on the fact that the merit points system was adopted by the respondent Department in January, 2010, while the father of the applicant had expired in 2008 and hence he has claimed that he should be covered by the Scheme of 09.10.2008. As already mentioned, the Scheme of 2008 does not throw any light as to how the rival claims of the applicants for compassionate grounds are to be assessed. The applicant has been afforded fair consideration and appointment could not be offered to him keeping in view the limited number of vacancies and many persons being adjudged to be more deserving than the applicant for appointment on compassionate grounds. We conclude therefore that there is no merit in this OA and the same is rejected.
11. No costs.