Object of Compassionate Appointment is to provide immediate succour to the family- Delay Fatal: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal filed by Central Coal Fields Limited challenging the Order of High Court to grant compassionate appointment to the son of a missing employee.


A Writ Petition was filed by Smr Parden Oraon seeking appointment of her son on compassionate grounds in the palace of her husband  (Operator helper) who was missing since 2002. Since the husband was missing the department dismissed him after issuing a charge sheet. 

When the wife made a representation for the compassionate appointment of son, the department rejected the same on the ground that her husband was already dismissed from service, so compassionate appointment can’t be given.

The lady approached the Jharkhand High Court challenging the decision of Coal India. A Single Judge of Jharkhand High Court considering the fact that the competent court has declared civil death of the husband, allowed the Writ Petition and the appeal filed by Coal India was dismissed. Feeling aggrieved an SLP was filed before the Supreme Court.

Counsel for Coal India submitted that there is no right of compassionate appointment and there is delay in seeking appointment, as the husband went missing in 2002, the civil court declared civil death in 2009 and she applied for appointment in 2013. Also there is no provision of giving compassionate appointments in case of civil death of an employee.

Counsel for the Respondent submitted that there is no provision barring compassionate appointment in case of civil death. Further immediately on completion of 7 years from 2002, when the husband went missing, the wife obtained the decree of civil death , therefore there is no delay.


The Supreme Court agreed with the finding of the High Court that the reason for rejection of  claim of compassionate appointment is illegal, but in case of compassionate appointment delay in approaching the authorities is fatal.

The Bench of Justsice L Nageshwar Rao and Justice S Ravindra Bhatt observed:

“Though the reasons given by the employer to deny the relief sought by the Respondent are not sustainable, we are convinced that the Respondent’s son cannot be given compassionate appointment at this point of time. The application for compassionate appointment of the son was filed by the Respondent in the year 2013 which is more than 10 years after the Respondent’s husband had gone missing. As the object of compassionate appointment is for providing immediate succour to the family of a deceased employee, the Respondent’s son is not entitled for compassionate appointment after the passage of a long period of time since his father has gone missing.” , observed bench

In view of above the Supreme Court allowed the Appeal and set aside the High Court Judgment.

Case Details:

Title: Central Coalfields Limited Through its Chairman and Managing Director & Ors. vs Smt. Parden Oraon

Case No. Civil Appeal No.897 of 2021

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