BENGALURU: A sister does not figure in the definition of “family” under the Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1999, the Karnataka HC noted recently, dismissing the claim of a woman who had sought compassionate appointment in the place of her deceased brother.
It pointed out that rule 2(1)(b) only contemplates that in case of a deceased male government servant, his widow, son or daughter who are dependent and are living with him are considered as his family members. tnn
The appellant, being a sister, cannot be construed as a member of the family of the deceased. These rules are adopted and followed by the respondents – Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL) and Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) – who happen to be government companies,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit said, rejecting the appeal filed by GM Pallavi.
A resident of Tiptur taluk in Tumakuru district, Pallavi had submitted an application to the then chief minister during a Janata Darshan on February 28, 2019. She had sought compassionate appointment in place of her brother Shashikumar, who was working as a junior lineman and died on November 4, 2016 while he was still in service. The application was considered by Bescom and they issued a letter dated November 13, 2019, rejecting her request.
Pallavi then challenged that, and on March 30, 2023, a single bench dismissed her petition, citing that the rules don’t provide for a sister to be considered a family member for compassionate appointment and also the applicant has not shown that she was dependent upon her deceased brother, in terms of Supreme Court’s decisions.
In her appeal, Pallavi said she was a member of the family and was also dependent on her deceased brother. KPTCL and Bescom argued compassionate appointment is an exception to the rule of equality in the matter of public employment and the scheme providing for the same needs to be strictly construed.
After going through contentions, the division bench said, “Courts, through the process of interpretation, cannot expand the contours of a statutory definition. When the rulemaker has in so many words specified the persons as being members of the family of an employee, we cannot add one to or delete one from the definition of family. An argument to the contrary, if accepted, would amount to rewriting the rules, and, hence, cannot be countenanced,” the bench added.
“Absolutely no material is placed on record by the appellant to show she was dependent on her brother’s income at the time of his death in harness nor there is any material to assume the family of the deceased is in financial distress as would justify the claim for appointment on compassionate grounds,” the bench observed.

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