Friday, September 29, 2017

Divorced Daughter is eligible for appointment compassionate grounds

The Calcutta High Court held that a divorced daughter comes within the definition “unmarried daughter” and is eligible for appointment on compassionate grounds.
Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre, Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty and Justice Dipankar Datta, “The beneficent scheme underlying the settlement would be thrown out of gear in the event, a restrictive meaning is applied and benefits are not extended to a divorcee daughter, who returns back to her father’s family after divorce and cessation of her relationship with her husband. Such interpretation cannot be construed to be an instance of misplaced sympathy or to be based upon a pretentious pulpit of morality.”
In the present matter, an appeal was filed challenging the order passed by a single judge in which appellants were denied relief by holding that a divorced daughter of an employee is not entitled to the benefit of compassionate appointment/ monetary compensation.
The respondents contended that daughter ceases to be a member of the family once she is married. After getting divorced her status does not change back to daughter. Also, the respondent relied on National Coal Wages Agreement which does not list divorced daughter as a dependent, hence, making her ineligible for appointment on compassionate grounds.
The court observed, “There could hardly be and, in fact, there is no dichotomy of lexicographic opinion that the word ‘unmarried’ does not only mean ‘never having been married’ but, if the circumstances do permit and warrant, it may also mean ‘not married on the relevant.”
“In construing the words “unmarried daughter”, such construction that sub-serves common good and not the reverse ought to be adopted; and the words “unmarried daughter”, as noticed earlier, are wide enough to take within its fold one who does not have a husband on the material date. There is no earthly reason as to why bearing in mind the purpose or object of the scheme for providing employment opportunity or monetary compensation to a dependent of a deceased worker, the court should cut down the amplitude of the word ‘unmarried’, which is intelligible and can be given full meaning in the context where it is used.”
Therefore, in the present matter, the Court granted a month’s time to the respondent to calculate the Appellant’s financial benefits in terms of para 9.5.0(ii) of the NCWA, which gives an option to the female dependent to either accept monthly monetary compensation or employment. Arrears were to be disbursed to her within 2 months.
The Author Mr.K.P.Satish Kumar M.L. is the leading Family Court Advocate in Chennai
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