The petitioner, P. Venkatesan, filed the petition seeking compassionate appointment to his father Palani’s job as scavenger.

The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the Commissioner of Dindigul Municipality to provide appointment on compassionate grounds to the son of a municipality scavenger, who had failed to report to work since 1987.

The petitioner, P. Venkatesan, filed the petition seeking compassionate appointment to his father Palani’s job as scavenger.

In his petition, he said that Mr. Palani did not report to work from December 22, 1987. The petitioner’s mother Mariyayee registered a complaint with the Dindigul Town Police, but Mr. Palani has not been traced, the petitioner claimed.

The Municipality administration initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Palani for unauthorised absence from work and dismissed him from service on January 7, 1993. According to the petitioner, the District Munsif declared Mr. Palani to be dead in his order dated December 17, 1998.

Mrs. Mariyayee submitted a representation to the Commissioner of Municipality seeking disbursement of death benefits entitled to her husband and seeking compassionate appointment, but there was no action, the petitioner alleged.

On May 31, 2005, the municipality officials rejected her representation citing that her husband was dismissed from service, Mr. Venkatesan claimed. Mrs. Mariyayee died on January 20, 2008, and the petitioner moved the court seeking compassionate appointment.

The counsel who appeared on behalf of the municipality commissioner contended that compassionate appointments could be provided only if applications were made within three years of the employee’s death. The petitioner’s father had died more than 20 years ago and the petitioner cannot be provided compassionate appointment, he argued.

A division bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and P. Devadass observed that the compassionate appointment in the petitioner’s case was sought ‘not after a natural death of his father, but after a presumptive death’. In such circumstances, the contentions as to not having applied for appointment on compassionate ground within three years of death is not sustainable, the judges ruled and directed the municipality commissioner to appoint the petitioner in a suitable post within two months.

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