Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 1.18 AM IST

Terms and conditions of compassionate appointment; government should show compassion while making decision


The Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department has formulated draft guidelines to control the compassionate appointment. Although the final decision will be reached only after discussions with representatives of the service organizations, disagreements and protests have already been raised against many of the proposals in the draft. The new requirement in the draft proposal is that the dependent must be 13 years old at the time of death. It has also been said that in case the dependent has not attained the age of 13 years, the dependent will be entitled only to a relief grant. The reason for adopting such a criteria is not specified. The service organization leaders are of the view that this condition cannot be accepted.

Although compassionate appointment cannot be said to be a legal right, it is a measure that gives a humanitarian face to the government. It is a measure that gives government officials a belief that even if they die while working as government officials, their family will can carry on through compassionate appointment. Grants are never a substitute for a job. The long-term security that a deceased employee's family gets when a family member gets a job can never be provided by a relief grant. Relief grants should be considered only in case of absence of eligible dependents. Terms which defeat the purposes of the compassionate appointment are not advisable.

Similarly, application of income limit for compassionate appointments should also be opposed. At present, only those who have an income less than 8 lakh rupees can get an appointment or relief grant. Either the government should raise this income limit. Or the requirement of income limit should be avoided. Such appointment situations are rare among the rare ones. Such conditions would in effect disqualify many from receiving compassionate appointments. The draft guidelines specify that the application for compassionate appointment should be submitted within three years of the death and within three years of the dependent becoming an adult if the dependent is a child. Those who do not submit the application within the time limit will be eligible for the relief grant only. The draft directive also states that only the qualification obtained within the time limit allowed for submission of the application will be considered for appointment.

So far each department had the power to make compassionate appointments. Henceforth this right will be only for the General Administration Department. The new proposal requires all departments to report vacancies for this purpose to the General Administration Department. However, in practice, such vacancies often go unreported due to laxity and other reasons. It is not clear whether any action will be taken against the department heads who fail to report these vacancies. The suggestion that every sixteenth vacancy at the district and state level of the posts will be treated as compassionate appointments is welcome. The government should reach a final decision in this regard after discussions with care and compassion.

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