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M. Thiruvengadam Vs. the Indian Institute of Science and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 5 of 1954
Judge
Reported inAIR1954Kant158; AIR1954Mys158; (1957)ILLJ285Kant
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Gauhati University Act
AppellantM. Thiruvengadam
RespondentThe Indian Institute of Science and ors.
Appellant AdvocateH.S. Raja Aiyangar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateNittoor Srinivasa Rao and ;K.R. Gopivallabha Iyengar, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....basis and the resignation of an employee suddenly in the midst of his work was likely to cause serious harm or prejudice to the employer, ordinarily a service like the present ought to be capable of being put an end to both by the employer and employee on sufficient notice in the absence of any other special contract. he voluntarily chose to send his letter of resignation or notice of termination of his services and cannot complain if the same has been given effect to according to the express terms of his contract with the institute. the remedy, if any, of an employee in a case like the present where it is alleged that a breach of a contract of service has taken place would obviously be by a suit and not through an application for a writ as pointed out in -d......may likewise terminate the contract of service by giving the director as the chief executive six months' notice in writing. of his intention of doing so'.it is common ground that under the original terms of the employment itself the services of the employee were liable to be terminated by the council either on medical grounds with three months' notice or on grounds of retrenchment or economy with six months' notice as part of the conditions of the service.4. it is contended for the petitioner (1) that he could not have been asked to enter into any fresh additional term providing for termination of service by six months' notice by the employee,. (2) that the petitioner's letter dated 11-5-1953 did not amount to an unconditional resignation and (3) that as the resignation was not.....
Judgment:

Vasudevamurthy, J.

1. The petitioner has made an application under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India and prayed for the issue of a proper direction, order or writ to the respondents declaring that his appointment by respondent 2 to the post of Electrical Supervisor in the Department of Power Engineering of respondent 1 never ceased, that he is still an occupant of the post entitled to hold and function in the same without any obstruction from the respondents, and requiring respondents 2 and 3 to restore and admit him to the post and let him work therein without any let or hindrance. Respondent 1 is the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, respondent 2 the Council of the Indian Institute of Science, respondent 3 the Director and respondent 4 the Registrar of that Institute.

2. The facts relevant to this case are practically undisputed and are set out in para 8 of the petition. On 7-5-1953, it appears that the then Director in charge while checking a statement presented by the petitioner called him a. liar and charged him with incompetence. The petitioner took exception to his conduct and wrote a letter dated 11-5-1953 addressed to the Director. Therein he tendered his resignation. On second thought he wrote another letter on 17-6-1953 to the Registrar by which he purported to withdraw his offer to resign. The Institute authorities however refused to allow him to withdraw his resignation and. treated his employment as terminated at the end of six months from the date of the letter of resignation.

3. It is contended by Mr. H. S. Raja Iyengar, learned Counsel for the petitioner, that the letter of resignation required acceptance by the Director, and that till it was so accepted it could not have any legal effect. To appreciate this contention it is necessary to refer to the circumstances under which the petitioner was appointed. By a resolution of the Council of the Institute he was-appointed on probation for one year and joined duty on 2-5-1949. The probation period was extended by one more year and thereafter by a resolution passed on 6-10-1952 the petitioner was confirmed in his appointment as Electrical Supervisor with effect from 2-5-1950. He was to hold the appointment till the age of 60. After the passing of this resolution the Registrar sent a draft of his service agreement and asked the petitioner to sign it. One of the clauses of that agreement provided

'that the employee may likewise terminate the contract of service by giving the Director as the Chief Executive six months' notice in writing. of his intention of doing so'.

It is common ground that under the original terms of the employment itself the services of the employee were liable to be terminated by the Council either on medical grounds with three months' notice or on grounds of retrenchment or economy with six months' notice as part of the conditions of the service.

4. It is contended for the petitioner (1) that he could not have been asked to enter into any fresh additional term providing for termination of service by six months' notice by the employee,. (2) that the petitioner's letter dated 11-5-1953 did not amount to an unconditional resignation and (3) that as the resignation was not accepted before its withdrawal it could not have the legal effect of terminating his service. This additional clause in the agreement was one entirely in favour of the petitioner and conferred a right on him. Without such a clause he could not have resigned even if he got very lucrative or more advantageous job-elsewhere. He could not apparently also resign on any personal ground, other than ill-health, say for disagreement with his 'employer or on account of any other adverse conditions of service in the Institute.

Surely if the petitioner had secured a better job after sending a notice like the present and the Institute had refused to accept it and relieve him after six months, the petitioner would not have tolerated such a position. This additional provision as to notice by the employee did not, as a matter of fact, provide for any acceptance. An acceptance of a resignation in such circumstances is not always necessary or required in law. Unless the appointment was for a fixed term on a contract basis and the resignation of an employee suddenly in the midst of his work was likely to cause serious harm or prejudice to the employer, ordinarily a service like the present ought to be capable of being put an end to both by the employer and employee on sufficient notice in the absence of any other special contract. What was required was six months' notice by the employee terminating his service.

The petitioner's letter of 11-5-1953 did not also ask for any such acceptance. Therein the petitioner said that he felt that in view of the charge against him tie could not do true Justice to his work and that he was most reluctantly compelled to apply for his resignation. He had to give six months' notice and his letter was to be treated as six months' notice with effect from 15-5-1953. Indeed by his letter dated 17-6-1953 the petitioner said he would be grateful if he was permitted to withdraw his earlier letter and that he wished to apologise for his hasty action in sending it. In the meantime on 29-5-1953 he had been told that no leave which he had asked for in the letter of May was admissible to him and that before the period of notice, viz., six months, elapsed he had to give some explanations and render some accounts and make some reports about his work in the Institute.

In this connection we may refer to the ordinary and familiar case of notice issued by a landlord or a tenant in cases where the lease is terminable at will or by agreed notice. Nobody in such a case could ever contend that it requires acceptance by the other party. The present contention of the petitioner that his letter of resignation conveying notice of six months was not a resignation or that it required acceptance has, therefore, no substance.

5. We do not think that this is a proper case in which a writ ought to be issued. The terms and conditions of service between the Institute and the petitioner are not governed by any statute or rules having the force of law the obedience to which could be enforced through a writ. Nor does the case raise any question of any judicial enquiry or quasi-judicial enquiry by any authority which could be corrected by a writ of certiorari. See -- 'Bibhuti Bhusan v. Damodar Valley Corporation,' : AIR1953Cal581 (A) for a similar case where it has been pointed out that in order that a writ of certiorari may issue for quashing the departmental proceedings and the order of dismissal which follows as a result of such proceeding it must be shown that an obligation or duty has been imposed by statute upon the employer to act judicially or quasi-judicially in relation to such inquiry.

That was a case of an Engineer employed under the Damodar Valley Corporation who brought a writ complaining against the termination of his services. The dispute is really in the nature of one between a private employer and employee though it may be that the council of the Institute is functioning and its affairs are being administered under a scheme made or approved by the Government of India. There is no case of any refusal of natural justice to the petitioner. He voluntarily chose to send his letter of resignation or notice of termination of his services and cannot complain if the same has been given effect to according to the express terms of his contract with the Institute. Neither party, has told us what exactly was the reason for disagreement between the then Director and the petitioner or the irregularities he was charged with. We have therefore no material before us to express any opinion on anything other than the purely legal aspect of the matter. The remedy, if any, of an employee in a case like the present where it is alleged that a breach of a contract of service has taken place would obviously be by a suit and not through an application for a writ as pointed out in -- 'D. Parraju v. General Manager, B. N. Ely.' : AIR1952Cal610 (B) Where it has been observed that

'A person aggrieved by an order of removal from service has a more convenient, effective, complete and adequate remedy by way of a suit for a declaration that the order dismissing him was void.'

See also in this connection : AIR1953Cal581 (A)' -- 'Dr. M. Krishnamoorthy v. State of Madras' : AIR1951Mad882 (C) and -- Turushotham v. Venkatappa' : AIR1952Mad150 (D).

6. Mr. Raja lyengar has referred to some cases In support of his petition. In -- 'Sudarsana Rao. v. Christian Fillai', AIR 1924 Mad 396 (E) Ramesam J. held that an Honorary Magistrate does not cease to hold his office on his resignation but only when the resignation is accepted. He however observes at p. 396:

'It may be that the need for acceptance does not apply to honorary appointments and it is a question of fact in each case whether the resignation amounted to a renunciation without acceptance and may depend to a certain extent on the contents of the letter of resignation which is not filed in this case. But it is unnecessary, to pursue this line of argument further as the petitioner never contended in the Court below that he resigned on the 21st September'.

In the present case from the terms of the letter of 11-5-1953 it is clear that no acceptance of its terms was ever contemplated or required and that it was in the nature of a notice by which the petitioner said he had resigned or renounced his Job and would cease to work from a date six months later. Nothing more was therefore necessary to be done either by him or by the employers in pursuance of the notice which had put an end to the contract of service in a manner stipulated between the parties themselves.

7. -- 'Ganesh Ramchandra v. G. I. P. Rly. Co.', 2 Bom LR 790 (F) was a case of a suit and not of a writ brought against a Railway Company. The plaintiff, a Station Master, had written a letter of resignation with 24 hours' notice and stopped away from work thereafter. He was later on dismissed by the Company. It was urged for him that as he had ceased to be in the Company's employment by resignation he could not be visited with the consequences of a dismissal. The Railway Company contended that they had not accepted his resignation. The terms of service between the plaintiff and the defendant are not disclosed in the report. The facts and terms of contract in the present case are clear and are covered by the observation of Sir Lawrence Jenkins C. J. at page 792 of the report.

'Mere resignation obviously is not enough unless it be assented to, or unless it complies with those terms which the law implies or 'the prior agreement of the parties may permit.''

8. -- 'Himendra Chandra v. Gauhati University', AIR 1954 Assam 65 (G) was a case of a writ of a candidate by an examination against the Assam University to compel the performance of certain statutory duties required of them by the Gauhati University Act and has no application to the present case.

9. In the result this petition is dismissed. Inthe circumstances there will be no order as tocosts.

10. Petition dismissed.


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