(1) The petitioner Raj Kumar Goel was appointed as Inspector of Shops on the 13th of February 1962. According to the letter of appointment (Annexure 'A') the petitioner was recruited on a temporary basis and amongst the terms of service only two need be noted here. According to condition 3 the petitioner was 'to remain on probation for a period of two years.' In condition 6 it was stated that,
'in the event of your work and conduct having been found unsatisfactory during the period of probation, your services will be terminated, without assigning any reason.'
The petitioner was suspended from service and eventually his services were terminated on the 29th of November 1963. In the letter terminating his services (Annexure 'D') it is so stated:
'Reference conditions Nos. 3 and 6 of this office memo. No. 10516, dated the 13th February 1962, conveying orders regarding your appointment as Inspector of Shops. Please take notice that your services will stand terminated with effect from the date of receipt of this communication.
you will be paid one month's pay plus usual allowances in lieu of one month's notice.
You will be paid one month's pay plus usual allowances in lieu of one month's notice.
You should hand over charge to Shri Teja Singh, Inspector of Shops, Bhatinda.'
(2) In this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India it is challenged on behalf of the petitioner that the order of termination of his services really amounted to dismissal, there being a stigma attached to the order that his work had been found to be unsatisfactory as mentioned in the 6th condition of the letter of appointment.
(3) It is argued by Mr. Kaushal, the learned counsel for the petitioner that annexure 'D' is not a discharge order simplicities but an order which carried with it the evil consequence of punishment inasmuch as an indelible stigma has been attached to the order of termination of his services. There is, of course, no mention that the petitioner's work was found unsatisfactory but reference is made to condition No. 6 which says that the services could be terminated without assignment of any reason if the work and conduct of the appointee was found to be unsatisfactory. It is conceded by Mr. Kaushal that the letter annexure 'D' would becomes innocuous if the reference to conditions Nos. 3 and 6 is deleted altogether.
(4) The learned Advocate general on behalf of the State offered to substitute another letter in which reference to condition No. 6 of the letter of appointment was omitted altogether. Mr. Kaushal, however, has chosen to canvass before this Court the general proposition that the order of termination of the petitioner's services as it stands is hit by the rule that an order of discharge may in certain circumstances be deemed to be an order of dismissal if evil consequences flow therefrom. The reference to condition No. 6 in the impugned letter according to the counsel is an intimation to the world and his prospective employees in particulars that his work and conduct had been found to be unsatisfactory and this stigma has been attached without the opportunity to which the petitioner is entitled under Article 311 of the Constitution.
(5) It was observed by Mr. Justice Shah who delivered the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Orissa v. Ram Narayan Das, AIR 1961 SC 177 that a person has no right to the post held by him and a mere termination of appointments does not carry with it 'any evil consequences' such as forfeiture of his pay of allowances, less of his seniority, stoppage or postponement of his future chances of promotion. Particular may be made to this passage in the judgment:
'It is difficult in such circumstances to appreciate what indelible stigma affecting the future career of the person was cast on him by the order discharging him from employment for unsatisfactory work and conduct.'
In that case it was mentioned in the order that the services of the employee were terminated 'for unsatisfactory work and conduct' and in the view of the Supreme Court this expression did not alter the essential character of the order of dismissal. In the instant case a mere reference to condition No. 6 in the order of termination of services of the petitioner cannot on a parity of reasoning be deemed to alter an order of discharge simpliciter into one of dismissal involving penal consequences.
(6) Mr. Kaushal has invited my attention to a recent decision of the Supreme Court in Jagdish Mitter v. Union of India, AIR 1964 SC 449, where it is observed by Chief Justice Gajendragadkar speaking of the Court that:
'It is thus clear that every order terminating the services of a public servant who is either a temporary servant, or a probationer, will not amount to dismissal or removal from service within the meaning of Article 311. It is only when the termination of public servants services can be shown to have been ordered by way of punishment that it can be characterised either as dismissal or removal from service.'
It is very strenuously pressed upon me that the indirect reference to the unsatisfactory conduct and work of the petitioner carried with it a stigma which normally ought not to be attached to an order of discharge simpliciter. It is, however, well to observe that the learned Chief Justice made it clear at page 455 of the report while explaining the earlier case Ram Narayan, AIR 1961 SC 177, that:
'Impugned order of discharge did refer to the adverse comments made against the probationer's conduct and did say that it was, therefore, no good retaining him further in service and that, prima facie, would amount to attaching a stigma to the petitioner who was discharged; nevertheless, the order was construed by this Court to be an order of discharge simpliciter and no more because Rule 55(b) of the Civil Service (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, required that before the services of the probationer were terminated, an enquiry had to be held about his competence....................'
It is contended that the ruling of the decision in AIR 1964 SC 449 explains the point that if an order of discharge is in accordance with the terms of the contract it cannot generally be regarded as an order of dismissal. The impugned order in the present case is no more than an order of discharge and is strictly in accordance with the letter of appointment which is accordance between the parties. Condition No. 6 lays down specifically that in the event of the work of the employee being found to be unsatisfactory during the period of probation his services would be terminated without assigning any reason. Can it be said that the terms of the contract have been departed from in the present instance? The mere mention of condition No. 6 does not mean that reasons have been assigned for the termination of Service. Indeed condition No. 6 itself makes it clear that if the work is unsatisfactory the termination could be made without any reasons assigned. In my opinion, there is no force in this petition which fails and is dismissed. There would be no order as to costs.
(7) Petition dismissed.