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,
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
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.=
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.