Breaking Barriers: The Allahabad High Court’s Decision for Gender Equality in Cooperative Society Appointments

Prerna Yadav and Ali Asghar


The Allahabad High Court in its recent judgement, Neelam Devi v State of U.P.,[i] struck down the word “unmarried” from the Regulation 104 of the U.P. Cooperative Societies Employees’ Service Regulations, 1975 which allowed married daughters to seek the benefit of compassionate appointments. Previously, according to the said regulation, only unmarried daughters were allowed to seek the benefits of compassionate appointment. The judgment emphasises the importance of gender equality and fair treatment, aiming to rectify the State’s apathy towards gender justice. By striking down the discriminatory provision and directing prompt reconsideration of the petitioner’s claim, the Court’s ruling promotes gender equality in compassionate appointments within the Cooperative Societies sector.

Objective of Compassionate Appointments

Compassionate appointments aim to offer employment opportunities to a government employee’s financially dependent family member on grounds of compassion.

This applies when the government employee passes away while in service or is prematurely retired on medical grounds, which could leave their family struggling financially and lacking a source of income. The aim is to alleviate the financial hardship faced by the family of the government employee and assist them in overcoming this challenging situation.

Legal provision involved

As per regulation 104 of the U.P. Cooperative Societies Employees’ Service Regulations, 1975, a cooperative society employee whether permanent or temporary for a minimum continuous period of three years in harness after the commencement of these Regulations, one member of his family, who is not already employed under the Central Government or a State Government or a Corporation or an undertaking owned or controlled by the Central Government or a State Government, shall on making an application for the purpose, be given a suitable employment under the society concerned, provided such member possesses the minimum educational qualifications prescribed for the post and is otherwise fit for appointment thereto. Such employment shall be given to the said member without delay and as far as possible, under the same society in which the deceased servant was employed at the time of his death. The family, for purposes of this regulation, includes the wife/husband, sons and unmarried or widowed daughters of the deceased employee.


The case involves a petitioner whose father was an Assistant Branch Accountant with the respondent-Bank and passed away while in service. The petitioner, being the deceased employee’s daughter, applied for compassionate appointment. However, her claim was rejected solely because she is a married daughter, and as per Regulation 104 of the U.P. Cooperative Societies Employees’ Service Regulations, 1975 only unmarried daughters can seek compassionate appointment.

The petitioner challenges the rejection and seeks to strike down the word “unmarried” from Regulation 104 to allow all daughters, irrespective of their marital status, to be eligible for compassionate appointment. During the pendency of the writ petition, the U.P. Cooperative Institutional Service Board proposed an amendment to include daughters irrespective of their marital status in Regulation 104. However, the State Government rejected the proposal.

The compassionate appointments of State Government employees governed by the U.P. Recruitment of Dependants of Government Servants Dying in Harness Rules, 1974 also excluded, married daughters from the ambit of compassionate appointment. The Allahabad High Court, however, in Smt. Vimla Srivastva v State of Uttar Pradesh[ii] struck down this restriction, leading to an amendment to include daughters, irrespective of their marital status. When a similar judgement of the same High Court (Neha Srivastava v. State of Uttar Pradesh[iii]…) was challenged before the Supreme Court through a special leave petition, the SC dismissed the petition after which an amendment was brought to the said rules by the state government.


The Allahabad High Court struck down the word “unmarried” from the Regulation 104 of the U.P. Cooperative Societies Employees’ Service Regulations, 1975. The court noted that there’s no valid justification for denying the daughters of deceased employees who served a Cooperative Society in the State of Uttar Pradesh the opportunity for compassionate appointment. This is particularly relevant since the State Government rejected a proposed amendment to the regulation, even though a similar amendment was implemented for State Government employees.


The judgment given by the division bench of the Allahabad High Court has aptly put an end to a long-standing gender-biased legal provision. Regulation 104 of the U.P. Cooperative Societies Employees’ Service Regulations, 1975, is an inherently discriminatory provision. The regulation restricted the scope of compassionate appointments only to unmarried daughters. This provision inherently favored unmarried daughters over their married counterparts, which not only perpetuated gender bias but also disregarded the changing dynamics of familial responsibilities and societal norms. Furthermore, the judgment also sheds light on the term ‘family’ which shall include daughters irrespective of their marital status.

The court has also instructed that the petitioner’s claim should be taken into account for compassionate appointment, considering her eligibility for such a claim. Further, the evaluation should occur within two months from the submission of a certified copy of the order. Thus, the court has strongly stood against the discriminatory provision and provided swift justice and remedy to the petitioner. The court’s move to eliminate this discriminatory criterion reflects a growing consciousness of the need to treat all individuals, irrespective of their marital status, fairly and equitably.


The Allahabad High Court’s judgment heralds a newer and better legal perspective toward gender justice. From inheritance rights to compassionate appointments, a married daughter has equal rights to that of an unmarried daughter. This indicates the shift of legal norms to align with changing societal norms and a progressive approach.

The case also highlighted how the state government conveniently overlooked pertinent judgments and disregarded the proposal put forth by the Institutional Service Board. This underscores the evident lack of effectiveness on the part of the state government, which warrants attention as well.

Further, the judgement specifically promotes gender equality and upliftment of labour laws for women. There are numerous small nuances that are present in the law which need to be amended or struck down. As there is a long road for labour and employment laws to be completely impartial, such judgments are appreciated and significant for the future.  

[i] CRIMINAL MISC. BAIL APPLICATION No. – 29318 of 2022.

[ii] Writ -C No. 60881 of 2015

[iii] Special Appeal (Defective) No. 863 of 2015






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