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Service matter -Once Resignation was accepted in a case of temporary employee, there is no obligation on Govt. to relieve him from duties by way of separate letter to hold the validity of his resignation -No question of reinstatement – on probation – unauthorised absent during probation – on the next day sent resignation – resignation was accepted after long correspondence – Request for cancellation of Resignation letter subsequently – rejected – challanged in Tribunal – dismissed – High court allowed and directed to pay arrears too after reinstatement on the ground that he was not relieved from his duties after acceptance of letter – Apex court held that In our considered view, the part of clause (4) extracted above makes a distinction between the right of a temporary Government servant to sever his connection from Government service by giving a notice of termination and that of a temporary Government servant who chooses not to give such notice but opts to submit a letter of resignation. In the instant case, the letter of acceptance clearly shows that termination of Respondent’s service as per his offer of resignation was not deferred to any future date and hence there was no requirement to relieve him of his duties. Hence, in the instant case, there was no obligation on the Government to write a formal letter that the Respondent has been relieved. Even if such requirement had been there, in the case in hand it would be an empty formality as he absconded from duties for 8 months without joining inspite of letters = CIVIL APPEAL NO.10645 OF 2010 Union of India & Ors. …..Appellants Versus Hitender Kumar Soni …..Respondent= 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41787

Service matter -Once Resignation was accepted in a case of temporary employee, there is no obligation on Govt. to relieve him from duties by way of separate letter  to hold the validity of his resignation -No question of reinstatement –  on probation – unauthorised absent  during probation – on the next day sent resignation – resignation was accepted after long correspondence – Request for cancellation of Resignation letter subsequently – rejected – challanged in Tribunal – dismissed – High court allowed and directed to pay arrears too after reinstatement on the ground that he was not relieved from his duties after acceptance of letter  – Apex court held that In our considered view, the part of  clause  (4)  extracted  above  makes  a distinction between the right of a temporary  Government  servant  to  sever his connection from Government service by giving  a  notice  of  termination and that of a temporary Government servant who  chooses  not  to  give  such notice but opts to submit a letter of resignation.  In  the  instant  case,  the letter of acceptance clearly shows that termination of Respondent’s  service as per his offer of resignation was not deferred  to  any  future  date  and hence there was no requirement to relieve  him  of  his  duties.   Hence,  in  the  instant case, there was no obligation on the Government to  write  a  formal  letter that the Respondent has been relieved.  Even if such  requirement  had  been

there, in the case in hand it would be an  empty  formality as he absconded from duties for 8 months without joining inspite of letters = 

His service was still temporary and  under

probation. He did not report for duty on 06.10.1997 and on the  next  day  a

letter of resignation dated 07.10.1997 sent by the Respondent  was  received

in the concerned office through post.  The reason for resignation  mentioned

in the letter was unavoidable family circumstances and  ill  health  of  the

Respondent.  For  some  administrative  reasons,  the  resignation  of   the

Respondent  could  not  be  accepted  immediately  although   he   disobeyed

directions through various letters to resume his duties and  never  reported

for  work  although  no  leave  was  sanctioned.   Through  a  letter  dated

31.10.1997 Respondent was informed that his resignation cannot  be  accepted

for some administrative reasons.

By  a  letter  dated 24.10.1997,

Respondent was informed that tendering of  resignation  was  not

sufficient to absolve him of his official duties unless it was  accepted  by

the Competent Authority.   He  was  asked  to  submit  some  other  official

documents such as Instructions Set, Identity Card,  Tour  Diary,  Kit  items

and  some  relevant  official  papers.   He  was   also   asked   to   offer

clarification regarding a sample survey  and  was  warned  that  on  failure

disciplinary  action  might  be  initiated  against  him.   In  reply,   the

Respondent through a letter dated 10.11.1997, informed that he had  returned

Instructions Set, Tour Diary, Random Table and NIC book.  He also  requested

that the cost of kit items may be adjusted from his pending dues.  He  again

made a request that his resignation which he had already  submitted  may  be

accepted.  Letters were issued to the Respondent in February and April  1998

regarding his obligation to join duties and  his  failure  to  submit  leave

application.   However,  ultimately  the  Competent  Authority,   as   noted

earlier,  by  letter  dated  16.6.1998  accepted  the  resignation  of   the

Respondent.  On 5.8.1998 the Respondent sent a letter  to  the  effect  that

the circumstances under which he  had  submitted  his  resignation  had  now

changed and hence his resignation letter may be treated as  cancelled.   The

concerned officials got the Identity Card of  the  Respondent  collected  on

25.8.1998 for fear of its misuse.

Since the Appellants did not accede to the request  of  the  Respondent,  he

preferred  O.A. in Tribunal – Tribunal dismissed and filed writ in High court  =

inspite of resignation of the  Respondent  dated  07.10.1997

having been accepted by the Competent Authority  by  order  dated  16.6.1998

The  High   Court held that the resignation could not have come into  effect  because  as  per

clause (4) of Office Memorandum dated 11.2.1988 issued by the Government  of

India,  Ministry  of  Personnel,  Public  Grievances   and   Pensions,

the

Respondent was also required to be relieved of  his  duties  which  was  not done by the Appellants

and further held   the

Respondent  entitled  for  reinstatement  in  service   to   the   post   of

“Investigator”.  

The Government was directed  to  decide  the  admissibility

and entitlement of leave, arrears of pay and allowances  and  other  service

benefits  of  Respondent  upon  his  reinstatement  after   affording   full

opportunity to the Respondent, of hearing as well as leading evidence.=

 whether  relevant

clause (4) of the Office Memorandum dated 11.2.1988 takes away the power  of

the Government to effectively bring to an end the service of an employee  by

accepting his resignation  unless  the  Government,  besides  accepting  the

resignation also proceeds to relieve the employee.=

Clause (4): Since a temporary Government servant can  sever  his  connection

from Govt. service by giving a notice of termination of service  under  Rule

5(1) of the Central  Civil  Services  (TS)  Rules,  1965,  the  instructions

contained in this Office Memorandum relating to  acceptance  of  resignation

will not be applicable in cases where a notice  of  termination  of  service

has been given by a temporary Govt. servant.  If, however,  temporary  Govt.

servant submits a letter of resignation in which he does  not  even  mention

that it may be treated as  a  notice  of  termination  of  service,  he  can

relinquish the charge of the post held by him only after the resignation  is

duly accepted by the appointing authority and he is relieved of  his  duties

and not after the expiry of the notice period laid  down  in  the  Temporary

Service Rules.”

Apex court held that

In our considered view, the part of  clause  (4)  extracted  above  makes  a

distinction between the right of a temporary  Government  servant  to  sever

his connection from Government service by giving  a  notice  of  termination

and that of a temporary Government servant who  chooses  not  to  give  such

notice but opts to submit a letter of resignation.

In the  case  of  notice

of termination the concerned employee can relinquish the charge of the  post

on expiry of the period of notice, but, such right will not be available  to

a temporary employee in case he tenders a simple  resignation.

The  reason

is obvious because a  resignation  requires  acceptance  by  the  appointing

authority and  till  then  his  right  to  relinquish  is  impinged  by  the

requirement, to be relieved of his duties.

On a joint  reading  of  clauses

(3) and (4) it can be safely inferred that  depending  upon  the  facts  and

circumstances of a case and nature of request made in a resignation  letter,

the Government has the power to accept the resignation so as to bring  about

a severance of relationship of master and  servant  with  immediate  effect.

But in cases where the letter of resignation itself specifies a future  date

for being relieved or where,  as  indicated  in  clause  (2)  the  concerned

Government servant is engaged on work of importance  etc.,  the  resignation

may not be accepted straightaway.

It is in  such  circumstances  only  that

Government may exercise its power to accept the offer  but  defer  the  date

from which resignation would become effective.

The  normal  rule,  however,

remains  that  Government  has  the  power  to  accept  a  resignation  with

immediate effect.

In case the Government for some reasons wishes  to  defer

or specify the date from which resignation would  become  effective,  it  is

entitled to take work from the  concerned  Government  servant  till  he  is

relieved in accordance with the facts and requirements  of  the  case.   

The

letter of  Government  accepting  an  offer  of  resignation  itself  should

normally be conclusive for deciding whether the  Government  has  opted  for

immediate termination  of  service  by  accepting  the  resignation  or  has

deferred such termination to a future date.

Only in the  latter  eventuality

the relationship of master and servant shall  continue  till  the  concerned

Government servant is relieved of his duties.

In  the  instant  case,  the

letter of acceptance clearly shows that termination of Respondent’s  service

as per his offer of resignation was not deferred  to  any  future  date  and

hence there was no requirement to relieve  him  of  his  duties.

Even  the

peculiar facts of this case show that the Respondent while on probation  had

already abandoned his temporary service for almost  8  months  and  had  not

cared to report for duty inspite of several requests.  

In such a  situation,

it would be impossible to relieve an absconding employee of his  duties  and

if the reasoning of the High Court is accepted such  employee,  even  if  he

has tendered resignation, must be continued in service till he  is  actually

found or till he presents himself to be relieved  of  his  duties.   Such  a

view would be impractical and run against larger public interest.

There may be cases where an employee resigning  from  service  has  gone  in

hiding or is  in  jail  custody  etc.

The  construction  placed  upon  the

relevant clauses of the O.M. dated 11.2.1988 by the High Court  will  render

the provisions unworkable, hence such construction needs to be avoided.

The word, “relieving” itself must be understood  in  the  ordinary  parlance

because it is not defined in the  O.M.  or  in  the  relevant  rules  as  is

apparent from the judgment of the High  Court.

The  meaning  of  the  word

“relieve” given in the Law Lexicon (2nd Edn. 1997 by P. Ramanatha Aiyar)  is

– “to free or clear a person from an  obligation”.

This  result  manifests

itself from the order accepting the resignation because no  reservation  has

been made by the Government that the Respondent has to continue  in  service

till any particular time or till being  relieved.

Hence,  in  the  instant

case, there was no obligation on the Government to  write  a  formal  letter

that the Respondent has been relieved.  Even if such  requirement  had  been

there, in the case in hand it would be an  empty  formality.

The  wholesome

writ jurisdiction was not required to be  exercised  in  the  facts  of  the

present case keeping in view the conduct of the Respondent in escaping  away

from his duties without  obtaining  leave  when  he  was  only  a  temporary

employee under probation.

For the aforesaid reasons, we find no option but to set aside the order  and

judgment of the High Court under appeal.  We order accordingly.

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41787

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