Ruling in favour of a complainant on Thursday, Justice D Hariparanthaman said: "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."
The matter relates to a writ petition filed by P R Renuka, stating that her father, an office assistant working in the animal husbandry department, died while he was 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 living with her father at the time of the latter's 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 a compassionate appointment because she was married.
Noting that her divorce came after her father's death, the government informed the court that only an unmarried daughter and or one who was a divorcee at the time of her father's death were eligible for appointment under compassionate grounds.
Rejecting the contention, Justice Hariparanthaman pointed out that the woman had stated that even before her father's death, she had been living with her parents. Also, the only reason given by authorities to reject her claim to appointment was because 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," said Justice Hariparanthaman.
Quashing the rejection order, the judge then directed the authorities to provide a compassionate ground appointment to Renuka in eight weeks.
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