04 March 2020
Supreme Court


Case number: C.A. No.-009280-009281 / 2014
Diary number: 5223 / 2013




CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 9280-9281 OF 2014

N.C. Santhosh       Appellant(s)


State of Karnataka & Ors.       Respondent(s)

WITH CIVIL APPEAL NO.    1996   OF 2020 (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 34878/2013

CIVIL APPEAL NO.   1997   OF 2020 (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 24169/2015


Hrishikesh Roy, J.

Leave  granted  in  SLP(C)  No.  34878/2013  and  SLP(C)  No.


2. The  appellants  here  were  the  beneficiary  of  compassionate

appointments. But on the discovery that their appointments were made

dehors the provisions of the Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on

Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1996 as amended w.e.f. 1.04.1999,

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(hereinafter referred to as the “Rules”), those appointments came to

be cancelled.   The amendment to the proviso to Rule 5 stipulated that

in case of a minor dependant of the deceased government employee,

he/she  must  apply  within  one  year  from the  date  of  death  of  the

government servant and he must have attained the age of eighteen

years on the day of making the application. Before amendment, the

minor  dependant  was  entitled  to  apply  till  one  year  of  attaining


3. When  their  service  was  terminated  the  aggrieved  appointees

approached  the  Karnataka  Administrative  Tribunal  at  Bangalore

(hereinafter referred to as the “Tribunal”). But the Tribunal found that

appellants  were  ineligible  for  appointment  under  the  Rules  and

accordingly  dismissed the  related  applications.    The  resultant  writ

petitions were dismissed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore,

leading to the present appeals.  

4. We  have  heard  Ms.  Kiran  Suri,  learned  Senior  Counsel

appearing for  the appellant  in  the Appeal  arising from the SLP (C)

No.34878  of  2013,  Mr.  Shanthkumar  V.  Mahale,  learned  counsel

appearing in C.A. Nos.9280-9281 of 2014 and in the appeal arising out

of  the  SLP  (C)  No.24169  of  2015.  The  State  of  Karnataka  is

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represented by Mr.  V.N.  Raghupathy and Mr S Padhi,  the Learned

Counsel in the respective appeals.  

5. Assailing the adverse decision of the Tribunal as affirmed by the

High Court, the appellants contend that they have been legitimately

appointed on compassionate basis and have rendered service without

any blemish and therefore, the authority should not be permitted to

apply  the  amended  provisions  and  cancel  the  appointment  on  the

ground that the appointees were ineligible to apply for compassionate

appointment.   Ms. Kiran Suri, the learned senior counsel argues that

Rule  5  is  only  procedural  and  is  not  mandatory  and  therefore,

compassionate appointment of the dependant children who attained

majority  beyond  one  year  of  death  of  the  government  employee,

should not be construed to be invalid.  According to the appellants,

their cases have to be considered under the unamended Rules which

permits a minor dependant to apply for compassionate appointment

within  one  year  of  attaining  majority.   Describing  Rule  9  as  a

transitional provision whereunder the period for making application has

been  changed  through  various  amendments,  the  counsel  for  the

appellants  argue  that  retrospective  application  of  the  amended

provisions should not lead to cancellation of appointment. Moreover,

since  compassionate  appointment  was  offered  without  any

misrepresentation  by  the  beneficiary,  the  appellants  should  not  be Page 3 of 16


rendered  jobless  now  on  the  ground  of  non-eligibility  of  the


6. The  respondents,  on  the  other  hand,  argue  that  the  norms

applicable at the stage of consideration is relevant and here as the

appellants had not attained majority within one year from the death of

the government employee, they were ineligible to seek compassionate

appointment  under  the  amended  provisions  of  the  compassionate

Rules.   The Government counsel contend that since compassionate

appointment  is  an  exception  to  the  general  Rule  governing

appointment  in  the  service  of  the  State,  the  same  has  to  be  in

conformity with the prescribed Rules and those ineligible under the

Rules  cannot  ask  for  continuation  of  the  illegal  appointment.   The

respondents also argue that the government has the power to rectify

the  mistake  and  to  recall  the  illegal  appointment  orders  as  the

appellants were appointed erroneously, despite there ineligibility.

7. The  essential  details  of  the  appellants  can  be  seen  in  the

following chart:-

Case C.A. Nos. 9280- 9281/2014

(N.C. Santhosh)

CA @ SLP(C)  No. 34878/2013

(Sayeda F.  Banao)

CA @ SLP(C)  No.  24169/2015

(Sri Santosh)

Deceased Govt.  servant  

N.H. Chandra  Gowda

Shakila Jabeena  Ara Begum

M. Indranna  Reddy

Dependant/Appoi N.C. Santhosh Sayeda Farheen Sri Santosh

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ntee Banao

Date of Birth 25.6.1982 12.5.1982 24.3.1983

Parents Death 25.1.1998 24.5.1994 11.11.1998

Minor’s Majority 25.6.2000 12.5.2000 24.3.2001

Application for  compassionate  appointment.  

First,  mother applied  on 28.2.1998.  Then after  attaining majority appellant applied on 29.06.2000.

First  father applied  but  was rejected  on 12.6.1997.  Then after  attaining majority appellant  applied on 25.09.2000.


Appointment 25.8.2000 20.9.2001 14.12.2004

Removal 4.11.2003 I.  15.6.2005  but reinstated  on 4.01.2006   on Tribunal’s order.

II.  Removed  again on  28.12.2006 and  relieved on  2.1.2007 on  disciplinary  ground


Karnataka  Administrative  Tribunal

2.7.2008 21.4.2009  – Disciplinary action  not warranted  but termination upheld  for unmerited appointment.


Bangalore High  Court  

22.5.2012 (W.P.)  and 9.11.2012  (Review)

14.8.2013 2.12.2011


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8.1 Some additional  aspect  needs  to  be  noticed  to  complete  the

factual details pertaining to the appeal arising out of the SLP(C) No.

34878/2013 filed by Sayeda F. Banao.   In this case, on the death of

the appellant’s mother on 24.5.1994, first, a request was made by the

appellant’s  father  to  provide  him  appointment  on  compassionate

ground which however, was rejected by the authorities on 12.6.1997.

Thereafter, the appellant after attaining majority on 12.5.2000 made an

application  for  compassionate  appointment  on  25.9.2000  and  was

appointed as a  Second Division Assistant  on 20.9.2001.   She was

served with a show cause notice dated 2.6.2005 on the ground that

she had not attained the age of 18 years within one year from the date

of death of the government servant and accordingly, her service was

terminated vide Order dated 15.6.2005.

8.2 Challenging  the  order  of  termination,  the  appellant  filed

application  before  the  Tribunal.   The  Tribunal  vide  order  dated

20.10.2005 set aside the termination order holding that the service of

the  appellant  was  terminated  without  holding  proper  enquiry  under

Rule  11  of  Karnataka  Civil  Services  (Classification,  Control  and

Appeal) Rules, 1957 and directed her reinstatement, reserving liberty

to the State in accordance with law.

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8.3 Pursuant  to  the  order  of  the  Tribunal,  the  appellant  was

reinstated  in  service  on  04.01.2006.   Thereafter,  an  enquiry  was

initiated  against  her  under  Rule  11  of  the  said  Rules  alleging

misconduct  and  misrepresentation  of  her  age  at  the  time  of

submission of her application seeking appointment on compassionate

ground.   The appellant was then removed from the service by order

dated 28.12.2006 and when her appeal was rejected by the Appellate

Authority on 30.08.2007, she again approached the Tribunal.  In her

OA No.4901/2007, the Tribunal vide its order dated 21.04.2009 found

that  there  was  no  misconduct  on  the  part  of  the  appellant.

Nevertheless the Tribunal affirmed the cancellation of the appointment

with the finding that the appointment was made de hors the amended

Rule 5 of the KCS (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules

and thus, the cancellation of appointment was found to be justified by

the Tribunal.  The appellant’s review petition was also dismissed by

order  dated  03.12.2009.   The  resultant  writ  petition  filed  by  the

appellant challenging cancellation of her appointment and the order of

the Tribunal were dismissed, by the High Court under the impugned

judgment dated 14.08.2013.

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8.4 Though, certain additional factual details are seen in the appeal

relating to Sayeda Farheen Banao, but core issue is no different from

the other cases.  The question here too is whether her appointment on

compassionate  ground,  was  in  violation  of  the  Karnataka  Civil

Services (Appointment on Compassionate Ground) Rules, 1998.

9.  The  action  taken  by  the  respondents  in  cancellation  of

appointment is under the provisions of the Karnataka Civil  Services

(Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1996 and therefore  

relevant Rules are extracted hereinbelow:-

Unamended Rule 5

“Every  dependant  of  a  deceased  Government  servant,  seeking appointment under these rules shall make an application within one year from the date of death of the Government servant, in such form, as may be notified by the Government, from time to time, to the Head of the Department under whom the deceased Government Servant was working.

Provided that in the case of a minor, application shall be made within a period of one year after attaining majority.”

Following amendment  w.e.f.  1.04.1999  the proviso to  Rule  5



Provided that in the case of a minor, he must make an application within one year from the date of death of the Government servant and he must have attained the age of eighteen years on the date of making the application.

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Provided further  that  nothing in  the first  proviso  shall  apply  to  an application  made  by  the  dependant  of  a  deceased  Government Servant,  after  attaining  majority  and  which  was  pending  for consideration on the date of commencement of the Karnataka Civil Services  (Appointment  on  Compassionate  Grounds)  (Amendment) Rules, 1998.”

Following  the  28.05.2002  amendment,  Rule  9(3)  reads  as



9(3)  :  All  applications  for  appointment  on  compassionate  grounds made  between  the  13th day  of  September  1996  and  the  date  of commencement  of  the  Karnataka  Civil  Services  (Appointment  on Compassionate  Grounds)  3rd Amendment  Rules,  2002  by  the dependents  of  Government  servants  who  died  on  or  after  20 th

October 1989 (other than the application made by such dependents after  the  first  day  of  April,  1999  and  till  the  date  of  such commencement in contravention of the first proviso to Rule 5 which are :

(i)  Rejected on the ground that they were not made within the period specified in Rule 5, or

(ii) Pending  on  such  date  of  commencement,  shall  be deemed to have been made within the period specified under Rule  5  and  shall  be  reconsidered  or  as  the  case  may  be considered for appointment subject to other provisions of these Rules.”

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10. While Rule 5 as it originally stood, enabled a minor dependant to

apply  within  one  year  after  attaining  majority,  the  Rule  making

authority with the amendment effected from 01.04.1999 stipulated an

outer  limit  of  one  year  from the  date  of  death  of  the  government

servant for making application for compassionate appointment.  The

validity of the amended Rules is not challenged in any of the present

proceedings. Following the amendment the norms clearly suggest that

the earlier  provision which enabled a minor  dependant  to apply on

attaining majority (may be years after  the death of  the government

servant),  has  been  done  away  with.   The  object  of  the  amended

provision is to ensure that no application is filed beyond one year of

the  death  of  the  government  employee.  The  consequence  of

prohibiting application by a minor beyond one year from the date of

death  of  the  parent  can  only  mean  that  the  appellants  were

undeserving  beneficiaries  of  compassionate  appointment  as  they

attained majority well beyond one year of the death of their respective


11. In  all  these cases,  when the government  employee died,  the

appellants were minor and they had turned 18, well beyond one year

of death of the parent.  As can be seen from the details in the chart,

the dependants attained majority after  a gap of  2-6 years from the

respective date of  death of  their  parents and then they applied for Page 10 of 16


appointment.  By  the  time,  the  dependent  children  turned  18,   the

amended provisions became operational w.e.f.  01.04.1999. As such

their belated application for compassionate appointment should have

been rejected at the threshold as being not in conformity with proviso

to  Rule  5.   The  appellants  applied  for  compassionate  appointment

(after attainment of majority), well beyond the stipulated period of one

year  from  the  date  of  death  of  the  parent,  and  therefore,  those

applications should not have been entertained being in contravention

of Rules.

12. The provision of the Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on

Compassionate  Grounds)  Rules,  1996  was  considered  in

Commissioner of Public Instructions and Others vs K.R. Vishwanath1.

Speaking for the division bench,  Dr. Justice Arijit Pasayat noted that

the  effect  of  the  amended  second  proviso  is  that,  unless  the

application  is  pending  at  the  time  of  commencement  of  the

Amendment Rules, the same can have no bearing on the claim for

compassionate  appointment.  Thus,  belated  application  filed  by  the

dependant  on attaining majority  beyond one year  from the date  of

death of the government employee would not be a valid application,

consistent with the provisions of the Rules.

1 (2005) 7 SCC 206 Page 11 of 16


13. Insofar as the appellant’s claim to legitimacy of appointment on

the basis of Rule 9(3) of the Rules, a reading of Rule 9(3) suggests

that it is a transitory provision granting extension of time for applying

for compassionate appointment.   But the transitory provision excludes

application filed in contravention of Rule 5, as amended in 1999.  In

other  words,  applications  filed  by  minor  dependants  who  had  not

attained  majority  within  one  year  from  the  date  of  death  of  the

government servants will be in contravention of Rule 5.   Therefore, we

are of the considered view that the cases of the appellants are not

covered  by  the  transitory  provision  of  Rule  9(3)  introduced  by  the

notification dated 28.5.2002.

14. It  is  well  settled  that  for  all  government  vacancies  equal

opportunity should be provided to all aspirants as is mandated under

Articles  14  and  16  of  the  Constitution.   However  appointment  on

compassionate  ground  offered  to  a  dependant  of  a  deceased

employee is an exception to the said norms. In Steel Authority of India

Limited vs. Madhusudan Das & Ors.2 It was remarked accordingly that

compassionate appointment is a concession and not a right and the

criteria laid down in the Rules must be satisfied by all aspirant.  

2 (2008) 15 SCC 560 Page 12 of 16


15. This  Court  in  SBI  vs.  Raj  Kumar3 while  reiterating  that  no

aspirant  has  a  vested  right  to  claim  compassionate  appointment,

declared  that  the  norms  that  are  in  force,  when  the  application  is

actually considered, will be applicable. The employer’s right to modify

the scheme depending on its policies was recognized in this judgment.

Similarly  in  MCB  Gramin  Bank  vs.  Chakrawarti  Singh4 this  Court

reiterated that  compassionate appointment  has to be considered in

accordance with the prevalent scheme and no aspirant can claim that

his case should be considered as per the scheme existing on the date

of death of the Government employee.  

16. However in  Canara Bank & Anr. vs. M. Mahesh Kumar 5 in the

context of major shift in policy, whereunder, instead of compassionate

appointment  (envisaged  by  the  scheme  dated  8.5.1993),  ex  gratia

payment  was  proposed  (under  the  circular  dated  14.02.2005),  the

Court  adopted a different  approach. Noticing the extinguishment of,

the right to claim appointment, this Court held the “dying in harness

scheme” which was prevalent on the death of the employee, be the

basis for consideration.

3 (2010) 11 SCC 661

4 (2014) 13 SCC 583

5 (2015) 7 SCC 412 Page 13 of 16


17. A two judges bench headed by Justice Uday U. Lalit noticed the

Supreme Court’s view in SBI vs. Raj Kumar (supra) and MCB Gramin

Bank vs. Chakrawarti Singh (supra) on one side and the contrary view

in  Canara Bank & Anr.  vs.  M.  Mahesh Kumar  (supra)  and felt  the

necessity  of  resolution  of  the  conflicting  question  on  whether  the

norms applicable on the date of death or on the date of consideration

of application should apply. Accordingly, in State Bank of India & Ors.

vs.  Sheo  Shankar  Tewari6 the  Court  referred  the  matter  for

consideration by a larger Bench so that the conflicting views could be


18. The above discussion suggest  that  the view taken in  Canara

Bank & Anr. vs. M. Mahesh Kumar (supra) is to be reconciled with the

contrary view of the coordinate bench, in the two earlier judgments.

Therefore,  notwithstanding  the  strong  reliance  placed  by  the

appellants  counsel  on  Canara  Bank &  Anr.  vs.  M.  Mahesh Kumar

(supra)  as  also  the  opinion  of  the  learned  Single  Judge  of  the

Karnataka High Court in Uday Krishna Naik vs. State of Karnataka &

Ors.7,  it  can  not  be  said  that  the  appellants  claim  should  be

considered under the unamended provisions of the Rules prevailing on

the date of death of the Government employee.

6 (2019) 5 SCC 600

7 MANU/KA/0203/1999 (Writ Petition No.37931 of 1998) Page 14 of 16


19. In the most recent judgment in State of Himachal Pradesh & Anr.

vs. Shashi Kumar8  the earlier decisions governing the principles of

compassionate appointment were discussed and analysed. Speaking

for  the  bench,  Dr.  Justice  D.Y.  Chandrachud  reiterated  that

appointment to any public post in the service of the State has to be

made on the basis of principles in accord with Articles 14 and 16 of the

Constitution and compassionate appointment is an exception to the

general rule. The Dependent of a deceased government employee are

made eligible by virtue of the policy on compassionate appointment

and they must fulfill the norms laid down by the State’s policy.   

20. Applying the law governing compassionate appointment culled

out from the above cited judgments, our opinion on the point at issue

is  that  the  norms,  prevailing  on  the  date  of  consideration  of  the

application,  should  be  the  basis for  consideration  of  claim  for

compassionate appointment. A dependent of a government employee,

in  the  absence  of  any  vested  right  accruing  on  the  death  of  the

government  employee,  can  only  demand  consideration  of  his/her

application.  He  is  however  disentitled  to  seek  consideration  in

accordance with the norms as applicable, on the day of death of the

government employee.  

8 (2019) 3 SCC 653 Page 15 of 16


21. In view of the foregoing opinion, we endorse the Tribunal’s view

as  affirmed  by  the  High  Court  of  Karnataka  to  the  effect  that  the

appellants were ineligible for compassionate appointment when their

applications were considered and the unamended provisions of Rule 5

of the Rules will not apply to them. Since no infirmity is found in the

impugned judgments, the appeals are found devoid of merit and the

same are dismissed.   

………………………J.    [R. BANUMATHI]

               ……… ………………J.


………………………J.    [HRISHIKESH ROY]


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