State of Chhatisgarh
& Ors. Vs. Dhirjo Kumar Sengar  INSC 943 (5 May 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3242 OF 2009 [Arising
out of SLP (Civil) No.6230 of 2007] State of Chhatisgarh & Ors.
...Appellants Versus Dhirjo Kumar Sengar ...Respondent
S.B. SINHA, J :
Chittaranjan Singh Sengar (since deceased) was posted as Head Master of a
Government School, Baradwar, Dist-Champa, Janjgir, Chhattisgarh. He was unmarried.
Respondent's father G.S. Sengar was his brother. Respondent and his father
applied for grant of a succession certificate before the Civil Judge, Class I,
Distt. Janjgir. The said application was allowed by an order dated 15.01.1996
passed by Civil Judge, Class I, Janjgir.
the said application for grant of the said succession certificate, the
respondent did not make any averment that he was adopted by the said
Chittaranjan Singh Sengar.
Chittaranjan Singh Sengar did not make any nomination in regard to his
provident fund and other dues. The said succession certificate was produced
before the Deputy Director (Education) who noticed:
succession certificate of Shri Dheeraj Kumar Sengar S/o Shri Ganesh Singh
Sengar, legal heirs of Late Shri Chittaranjan Singh Sengar, R/o Village -
Latia, Tahsil - Janjgeer Bilaspur is forwarded for information and
They produce his
original certificate regarding qualification before concerned block/ principal
for his observation."
filed an application for appointment on compassionate ground. The said
application was rejected by the Joint Director Education Division, Bilaspur.
despite the fact that his application for grant of compassionate appointment
was rejected by the Joint Director, a purported order of compassionate
appointment came to be passed in his favour by the Deputy Director (Education).
The said offer of appointment, however, was cancelled by an order dated
"On the basis of
above reference and in absence of Legal Succession Letter your compassionate
appointment order No. 731/Estab-1/Comp.Appoint Endorse No. 96-97 has been
rejected from the current effect."
filed an Original Application before the Madhya Pradesh Administrative Tribunal
questioning the validity of the said order dated 9.06.1997, which by reason of
an order dated 5.06.2000 was dismissed, holding:
"10. When anyone
claims compassionate appointment on the basis of adoption, he should prove
fully that he was validly adopted. The applicant has failed in discharging the
burden. It has to be remembered that instructions about compassionate
appointment have to be interpreted strictly because such appointments amount to
a dilution of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution."
the learned Tribunal, a contention as regards breach of the principles of
natural justice was raised. The learned Tribunal answered the said contention
in the following words :
applicant argues that no show cause notice was given to him. This argument has
no force. The Supreme Court has held in State of (1998 SCC (L&S) 1231, that
no show cause notice is necessary in cases of illegal appointments. The Supreme
Court has also upheld the concept of post Union of India (1991 (1) SCC 658).
The applicant was fully heard by the Tribunal. He could not prove beyond doubt
that he was validly appointed.
The Supreme Court has
observed as follows in the (2) SCC 256):
is no unruly horse, no lurking land mine nor a judicial cure all. If fairness
is shown by the decision maker to the man proceeded against, the form,
essential procedural propriety being conditioned by the facts and circumstances
of each situation, no breach of natural justice can be complained of. Unnatural
expansion of natural justice without reference to the administrative realities
and other factors of a given case can be exasperating. We can neither be
finical nor fanatical but should be flexible yet firm in this
writ petition was preferred thereagainst by the respondent, which by reason of
the impugned judgment and order dated 13.09.2006 has been allowed, stating:
order itself would disclose that in support of his case, the petitioner has produced
not only the deed of adoption as Annexure A-1 but also Succession Certificate
issued by the competent Court of law as Annexure A-2. It seems to our mind that
learned Tribunal had not applied its mind to the Succession Certificate issued
by the competent court of law as Annexure A-2. It seems to our mind that
learned Tribunal had not applied its mind to the Succession Certificate issued
by the competent court of law. It is needless to state that the Tribunal has no
jurisdiction to question the correctness of Succession Certificate Annexure
A-2. The deed of adoption and certificate of succession would undeniably prove
that the petitioner is the adopted son of the deceased Chitaranjan Singh Sengar
who died in harness. It is nobody's case that the petitioner being adopted son
of the deceased employee is not entitled to seek appointment on compassionate
ground to a suitable post. If that is the position, the order passed by the
department dated 19.06.1997, we should say, is ex-facie illegal and untenable in
Atul Jha, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellants, would contend:
(i) A large number of
documents filed before the Tribunal would in no uncertain terms demonstrate
that apart from production of the purported unregistered deed of adoption which
does not carry any statutory presumption, respondent has utterly failed to establish
that he was the adopted son of the said Chittaranjan Singh Sengar.
(ii) Grant of
succession certificate, by no stretch of imagination, would be a relevant
factor for the purpose of determination of the question as to whether the
adoption was valid or not.
Raj Kumar Gupta, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent, on the
other hand, urged that as the appointment had been granted on compassionate
ground, which having been cancelled without observing the requirements of the
principles of natural justice, the same cannot be sustained.
Singh Sengar was the Head Master of a Government School. He did not file any
nomination in respect of his statutory dues. As he was unmarried, his brother
and the respondent were his natural heirs.
Application for grant
of succession certificate was not filed by the respondent alone. It was filed
jointly by him and his father. Had the respondent been his adopted son, he
would have claimed a succession 7 certificate only on that basis. His natural
father G.S. Sengar could not have been arrayed as an applicant. No joint
succession certificate, thus, could have been applied for and granted.
other documents have also been brought on record. It appears from the marksheet
of the High School Examination of the respondent that his father's name was
shown as Ganesh Singh Sengar. Similar endorsement has been made in the
marksheet in his Higher Secondary Examination.
the Principal of the said school while forwarding the respondent's application
for payment of dues of Chittaranjan Singh Sengar did not state that the
respondent was his adopted son.
on compassionate ground is an exception to the constitutional scheme of
equality as adumbrated under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.
Nobody can claim appointment by way of inheritance.
In Steel Authority of
India Ltd. v. Madhusudan Das and Ors. [2008 (15) SCALE 39], this Court held:
Court in a large number of decisions has held that the appointment on
compassionate ground cannot be claimed as a matter of right. It must be
provided for in the rules. The criteria laid down therefor, viz., that the
death of the sole bread earner of the family, must be established. It is meant
to provide for a minimum relief. When such contentions are raised, the
constitutional philosophy of equality behind making such a scheme be taken into
consideration. Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India mandate that all
eligible candidates should be considered for appointment in the posts which
have fallen vacant.
compassionate ground offered to a dependant of a deceased employee is an
exception to the said rule. It is a concession, not a right."
Court in I.G. (Karmik) v. Prahalad Mani Tripathi [(2007) 6 SCC 162] carved out
an exception to the ordinary rule of recruitment, stating:
"6. An employee
of a State enjoys a status.
employees of the State is governed by the rules framed under a statute or the
proviso appended to Article 309 of the Constitution of India. In the matter of
appointment, the State is obligated to give effect to the constitutional scheme
of equality as adumbrated under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of
India. All appointments, therefore, must conform to the said constitutional
scheme. This Court, however, while laying emphasis on the said proposition
carved out an exception in favour of the children or other relatives of the
officer who dies or who becomes incapacitated while rendering services in the
9 7. Public
employment is considered to be a wealth.
It in terms of the
constitutional scheme cannot be given on descent. When such an exception has
been carved out by this Court, the same must be strictly complied with. Appointment
on compassionate ground is given only for meeting the immediate hardship which
is faced by the family by reason of the death of the breadearner.
When an appointment
is made on compassionate ground, it should be kept confined only to the purpose
it seeks to achieve, the idea being not to provide for endless
[See also Mohan Mahto
v. Central Coal Field Ltd. and Ors. (2007) 8 SCC 549]
Court, times without number, has held that appointment on compassionate ground
should not be granted as a matter of course. It should be granted only when
dependants of the deceased employee who expired all of a sudden while being in
service and by reason thereof his dependants have been living in penury.
The Government of
Madhya Pradesh had adopted a scheme for appointment on compassionate ground
which was circulated to all concerned in terms of a letter dated 10.06.1994,
government servant dies in harness then either his widow or his legal children
(which includes the step son/ daughter also) would be 10 made available
service. Service wouldn't be made available to any other member or
The nephew of the
deceased employee, therefore, was ineligible for grant of such appointment.
however, was offered to the respondent without taking into consideration that
he had not been able to establish his relationship with the deceased or that he
was in fact totally dependant on him.
The purported deed of
adoption was not a registered one. It, therefore, did not carry with it a
presumption as envisaged under Section 16 of the Hindu Adoptions and
Maintenance Act, 1956.
The adoption was
purported to have been recorded on a stamp paper of Rs. 2/-.
We have noticed
hereinbefore that in the application for grant of succession certificate, G.S.
Sengar was described as his father. Even in the marksheets which had been drawn
up on the basis of the record maintained in the school in which he was studying;
his father's name was G.S. Sengar.
11 It may be correct
that for the purpose of proving that the respondent was adopted son of the
deceased, a registered deed of adoption was not imperative in character, but
then, he was required to prove that datta homan ceremony or compliance of the
other statutory conditions for a valid adoption had taken place.
In terms of Section
106 of the Indian Evidence Act, the respondent having special knowledge in
regard thereto, the burden of proving the fact that he was adopted by
Chittaranjan Singh Sengar was on him. He did not furnish any evidence in that
behalf. Even the records clearly show to the contrary.
is in the aforementioned premise, the contention in regard to the breach of
audi alteram partem doctrine must be considered.
Principle of natural
justice although is required to be complied with, it, as is well-known, has
exceptions. [See V.C., Banaras Hindu University and Others v. Shrikant (2006)
11 SCC 42]
of the exceptions has also been laid down in S.L. Kapoor v. Jagmohan and others
[(1980) 4 SCC 379 : AIR 1981 SC 136] wherein it was held:
"In our view the
principles of natural justice know of no exclusionary rule dependent on whether
it would have made any difference if natural justice had been observed. The
non-observance of natural justice is itself prejudice to any man and proof of
prejudice independently of proof of denial of natural justice is unnecessary.
It ill comes from a person who has denied justice that the person who has been
denied justice is not prejudiced. As we said earlier where on the admitted or
indisputable facts only one conclusion is possible and under the law only one
penalty is permissible, the court may not issue its writ to compel the
observance of natural justice, not because it is not necessary to observe
natural justice but because courts do not issue futile writs."
of grant of a valid appointment was dependant upon the proof that the
respondent was the adopted son of Chittaranjan Singh Sengar.
He not only failed to
do so, the materials brought on record by the parties would clearly suggest
otherwise. His application for grant of appointment on compassionate ground was
rejected by the Joint Director of Education.
He did not question
the legality or validity thereof. He, it can safely be said, by suppressing the
said fact obtained the offer of appointment from an 13 authority which was
lower in rank than the Joint Director, viz., the Deputy Director. When such a
fact was brought to the notice of the Deputy Director that the offer of
appointment had been obtained as a result of fraud practiced on the Department,
he could, in our opinion, cancel the same.
Respondent keeping in
view the constitutional scheme has not only committed a fraud on the Department
but also committed a fraud on the Constitution. As commission of fraud by him
has categorically been proved, in our opinion, the principles of natural
justice were not required to be complied with.
Gupta has relied upon a large number of decisions of this Court, viz.,
Inderpreet Singh Kahlon and Others v. State of Punjab and Others [(2006) 11 SCC
356], Mohd. Sartaj and Another v. State of U.P. and Others [(2006) 2 SCC 315],
Jaswant Singh and Others v. State of M.P. and Others (2002) 9 SCC 700 and State
of M.P. and Others v. Shyama Pardhi and Others [(1996) 7 SCC 118] to contend
that audi alteram partem doctrine should have been complied with. In these
cases, requirement to comply with the principles of natural justice has been
emphasized. The legal principles carved out therein are unexceptional. But, in
this case, we are concerned with a case of fraud. Fraud, as is well known,
vitiates all solemn acts. [See Ram Chandra Singh v. Savitri Devi and Others
(2003) 8 SCC 319, Tanna & Modi v. CIT, Mumbai XXV and Others (2007) 7 SCC
434 and Rani Aloka Dudhoria and others v. Goutam Dudhoria and others [JT 2009
(3) SC 616]
High Court, therefore, must be held to have committed a serious error in
passing the impugned judgment.
certificate can be granted in favour of any person. It may be granted to an
heir or a nominee. By reason of grant of such certificate, a person in whose
favour succession certificate is granted becomes a trustee to distribute the
amount payable to the deceased to his heirs and legal representatives. He does
not derive any right thereunder.
certificate merely enabled him to collect the dues of the deceased. No status
was conferred on him thereby. It did not prove any relationship between the
deceased and the applicant. Even otherwise, the respondent and his father were
entitled to the said dues being his heirs and legal representatives.
very fact that the respondent had filed an application for grant of succession
certificate along with his father, showing themselves to be the heirs and legal
representatives of the deceased, is itself sufficient proof to 15 show that he
did not claim any benefit in regard to the debts of the deceased as his adopted
son or otherwise.
the reasons aforementioned, the impugned judgment cannot be sustained, which is
set aside accordingly. The appeal is allowed with costs.
assessed at Rs. 10,000/-.
[Dr. Mukundakam Sharma]