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In case of a government employee's death, his or her dependents cannot seek an appointment on compassionate grounds as a matter of right, the Supreme Court has ruled. The Court said a decision on the matter would depend on the financial condition of the deceased employee's family. A bench of Justices P P Naolekar and L S Panta said this while quashing an Andhra Pradesh High Court order on the appointment of a widow, Sarvarunnisa Begum, on compassionate ground after her husband died in harness while working with the State Road Transport Corporation. "Mere death of an employee in harness does not entitle his family to such source of livelihood. The government or the public authority has to examine the financial condition of the family of the deceased," the apex court said, recalling its earlier observation in the Umesh Kumar Nagpal case 1994. In the present case, Begum had under a special scheme opted for a monetary benefit of Rs one lakh instead of availing the option of an appointment on compassionate grounds. Later, she requested that the monetary benefit be taken back and instead she be offered a job on compassionate grounds. Her request was rejected by the Corporation. On a writ petition filed by the widow a single judge of the high court directed that she be appointed under "Bread winner scheme" which was challenged before a division bench by the Corporation. The division bench modified the single bench order with a direction that Sarvarunnisa Begum be appointed to the post of either conductor or attender. The Corporation then filed an appeal in the apex court.
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