Asha Ramchandra Ambekar  INSC 147 (28 February 1994)
S. (J) Mohan, S. (J) Venkatachalliah, M.N.(Cj)
1994 AIR 2148 1994 SCC (2) 718 JT 1994 (2) 183 1994 SCALE (1)748
Judgment of the Court was delivered by MOHAN, J.- Leave granted.
short facts leading to this civil appeal are as under. Life Insurance
Corporation of India (hereinafter referred to as 'the
Corporation') is the appellant in the civil appeal. It was established under
the Life Insurance Corporation Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as 'the
Act'). Section 49 of the said Act empowers the Corporation to make regulations
with prior approval of the Central Government. In exercise of these powers, the
Corporation has framed the Life Insurance Corporation of India (Staff) Regulations, 1960 providing
for terms and conditions of service of the staff of the Corporation. Regulation
4 of the said regulations empowers the Chairman of the 720 Corporation to issue
such instructions or directions as may be necessary to give effect and carry
out instructions of the Corporation in order to secure effective control over
the staff employed by the Corporation. The Chairman of the Corporation with the
approval of the Board on November
27, 1979 issued the
Life Insurance Corporation Recruitment (of Class III and Class IV Staff)
Instructions, 1979. These instructions also contain provisions for the
appointment of staff on compassionate ground upon demise of a member of the
staff of the Corporation while in service. These instructions are statutory in
character. Therefore, they have the force of law.
Clause 2, sub-clause (iii) of these instructions reads, inter alia, as under :
2. Relaxation in favour of near- relatives of an employee who dies while in
The relaxation shall be admissible only where none of the members of the family
- widow, son or unmarried daughter - is gainfully employed."
Circular No. 2D/636/ASP/87 was issued by the Central Office of the Corporation
on January 20, 1987. Clause 4 of the amended circular
is as under :
Where any member of the family -is employed, no appointment may be made on
Shri Ramachandra Ambekar was employed as higher grade Assistant in the Sanda
Branch under the Nasik Divisional Officer of the appellant Corporation. He
expired suddenly on September
11, 1987. Upon his
demise, the first respondent, his widow submitted an application seeking
employment on compassionate grounds with the appellant Corporation. On December 12, 1987, the Corporation rejected the abovesaid
request on the ground that she had exceeded the upper age limit of 45 years.
Therefore, her request could not be complied with.
Subsequent thereto, the second respondent made various representations on May
8, 1989, July 1, 1989, June 18, 1990 and June 21, 1991 seeking employment on
compassionate grounds. By letter dated October 21, 1991, the appellant Corporation relying
on circulars dated October
6, 1987 and January 21, 1987 rejected the request. Thereupon
Writ Petition No. 3157 of 1993 came to be filed by second respondent to direct
the appellant Corporation to appoint him on compassionate grounds. By the
impugned judgment dated October
19, 1993 of the High
Court, the appellant Corporation was directed to appoint second respondent on
compassionate grounds within four weeks of the date of the order. Hence, the
7. Mr Harish
Salve, learned Senior Counsel for the appellant Corporation would urge that the
appellant Corporation cannot be directed to 721 act contrary to the regulations
and instructions which govern appointment on compassionate grounds. These
regulations which have been framed with good intent and purpose cannot be
bypassed. The regulations do not contemplate appointment on compassionate
grounds when one of the members of the deceased family is gainfully employed.
Where the Corporation has acted bona fide and declined to appoint the second
respondent, that exercise of power cannot be interfered with. Shortly put, the
Corporation cannot be directed by means of a mandamus to do something which is
per se illegal.
Learned counsel for the respondents would urge that the High Court has
correctly appreciated the matter and held that appointment on compassionate ground
is need based. As far as first respondent is concerned, she withdrew her
application because she was age barred. Where the High Court took into
consideration the second respondent who was in the prime of his life and youth
and directed appointment on compassionate grounds which is in accord with the
rules of the Government, no exception could be taken to the judgment.
late, this Court is coming across many cases in which appointment on
compassionate ground is directed by judicial authorities. Hence, we would like
to lay down the law in this regard. The High Courts and the Administrative
Tribunals cannot confer benediction impelled by sympathetic consideration. No
doubt Shakespeare said in "Merchant of Venice" :
quality of mercy is not strain'd;
as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath it is twice bless'd;
him that gives, and him that takes;" These words will not apply to all
situations. Yeilding to instinct will tend to ignore the cold logic of law. It
should be remembered that "law is the embodiment of all Wisdom".
Justice according to law is a principle as old as the hills. The courts are to
administer law as they find it, however, inconvenient it may be.
this juncture we may usefully refer to Martin Burn Ltd. v. Corporation of
Calcutta'. At page 535 of the Report the following observations are found :
result flowing from a statutory provision is never an evil. A Court has no
power to ignore that provision to relieve what it considers a distress
resulting from its operation. A statute must of course be given effect to
whether a Court likes the result or not." The courts should endeavor to
find out whether a particular case in which sympathetic considerations are to
be weighed falls within the scope of law. Disregardful of law, however, hard
the case may be, it should never be done. In the very case itself, there are
regulations and instructions which we have 1 AIR 1966 SC 529, 535: (1966) 1 SCR
543 722 extracted above. The court below has not even examined whether a case
falls within the scope of these statutory provisions. Clause 2 of sub-clause
(iii) of Instructions makes it clear that relaxation could be given only when
none of the members of the family is gainfully employed. Clause 4 of the
circular dated January 20, 1987 interdicts such an appointment on compassionate
grounds. The appellant Corporation being a statutory Corporation is bound by
the Life Insurance Corporation Act as well as the Statutory Regulations and
Instructions. They cannot be put aside and compassionate appointment be
Further it is well-settled in law that no mandamus will be issued directing to
do a thing forbidden by law. In Brij Mohan Parihar v. M.P.S.R.T. Corpn.2 it is
stated as under:
provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and in particular Sections 42 and 59
clearly debar all holders of permits including the State Road Transport
Corporation from indulging in unauthorised trafficking in permits.
the agreement entered into by the petitioner, unemployed graduate, with the
State Road Transport Corporation to ply his bus as nominee of the Corporation
on the route in respect of which the permit was issued in favour of the
Corporation for a period of five years, was clearly contrary to the Act and
cannot, therefore, be enforced. In the circumstances, the petitioner would not
be entitled to the issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus to the Corporation
to allow him to operate his motor vehicle as a stage carriage under the permit
obtained by the Corporation as its nominee."
is true that there may be pitiable situations but on that score, the statutory
provisions cannot be put aside.
this very case, on the demise of Ramchandra Ambekar, the first respondent
staked her claim but she was age barred. Therefore, the second respondent when
he put forth his entitlement, the appellant Corporation passed an order dated
October 21, 1991 in answer to the second respondent's request for appointment
on compassionate grounds as follows:
Insurance Corporation of India, Nasik Divisional Office, `Jeevan Prakash' Golf
Club Ground, Old Agra Road, Post Box No. II 0, Nasik - 422 002 Dated : 21st October, 1991 Ref: Shri Nitin Ramchandra Ambekar,
s/o Smt A.R. Ambekar, Jamner
Colony, at & Post-Bhusawal, Distt. Jalgaon.
(1987) 1 SCC 13: AIR 1987 SC 29 723 Dear Sir, Re : Your appeal for suitable
employment on compassionate grounds We had received your appeal dated June 21, 1991. We had submitted it to the
Competent Authority and we are sorry to inform you that the Competent Authority
has shown inability to offer any employment to you.
You, Yours faithfully, Sd/- Sr. Divisional Manager."
say, as a court below has done, that the second respondent is at the prime of
his life and youth and is aged about 21 years and the dues that are paid by the
Life Insurance Corporation to the family are the lawful dues that are earned by
the deceased. Therefore, on facts, he would be entitled to appointment on
compassionate grounds, is not the correct approach.
are totally unable to support this line of reasoning. For aught one know, there
may be other cases waiting already for appointment on compassionate grounds,
they may be even harder than that of the second respondent.
Thus, apart from the direction as to appointment on compassionate grounds being
against statutory provisions, such direction does not take note of this fact.
Whatever it may be, the Court should not have directed the appointment on
compassionate grounds. The jurisdiction under mandamus cannot be exercised in
that fashion. It should have merely directed consideration of the claim of the
second respondent. To straightaway direct the appointment would only put the
appellant Corporation in piquant situation.
disobedience of this direction will entail contempt notwithstanding the fact
that the appointment may not be warranted. This is yet another ground which
renders the impugned judgment dated October 19, 1993 unsupportable. For these reasons,
the civil appeal will stand allowed. There shall be no order as to costs.