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Sevantilal Karsondas Modi Vs. the State of Maharashtra and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Appeal No. 1280 of 2001
Judge
Reported inAIR1979SC705; 1979CriLJ645; 1979CENCUS196D; (1979)2SCC58; [1979]2SCR1160; 1979(11)LC702(SC)
AppellantSevantilal Karsondas Modi
RespondentThe State of Maharashtra and anr.
DispositionAppeal Dismissed
Excerpt:
.....school for two years on probation — her services terminated during probation period — termination letter indicating that her services were no longer required but there was also a mention that she was warned in writing about certain drawbacks in her work, and that such acts were not beneficial to the employer — termination order assailed on the ground that it was penal and stigmatory in nature and that it was issued without holding any enquiry or giving notice to the appellant -- be it stated that the employer had issued a notice to show cause to the appellant by letter dated 22-3-2000, and the appellant had filed her show-cause. the tribunal, however, dismissed the appellant's appeal, and being aggrieved by the order of the tribunal, the appellant filed the writ..........in exercise of his right in accordance with the terms of appointment. the court held that the enquiry held prior to the order of termination cannot turn an otherwise innocuous order into one of punishment. an employer is entitled to satisfy itself as to the competence of a probationer to be confirmed in service and for this purpose satisfy itself fairly as to the truth of any allegation that may have been made about the employee concerned. bearing in mind the decision of this court in the aforesaid case, and on examining the facts and circumstances together with the impugned order of termination, we see no justification for our interference with the impugned order, as in our view the impugned order cannot be held to be stigmatic in any way. this appeal accordingly fails and is.....
Judgment:

A.D. Koshal and; S. Murtaza Fazal Ali, JJ.

1. This appeal is directed against the judgment of a learned Single Judge of the Bombay High Court dismissing a writ petition filed by the appellant. The appellant was appointed for a period of two years on probation by letter dated 15-6-1998, and she joined the school on 18-6-1998. Before expiry of the period of two years, her services stood terminated by letter dated 24-4-2000 indicating therein that her services are no longer required. In the letter of termination it had also been indicated that the employer had warned the employee in writing about certain drawbacks in her work, and that such acts are not beneficial to the employer. Be it stated that the employer had issued a notice to show cause to the appellant by letter dated 22-3-2000, and the appellant had filed her show-cause. After issuance of the letter of termination, the appellant approached the School Tribunal contending, inter alia, that the order is penal in nature, and is a camouflage exercise of rights of the employer in terms of appointment, though it is penal in nature and therefore the order of termination must be set aside, inasmuch as there has been no full-fledged enquiry nor has there been any finding about the allegations with which the notice had been issued. The Tribunal, however, dismissed the appellant's appeal, and being aggrieved by the order of the Tribunal, the appellant filed the writ petition in the High Court. The High Court in the impugned judgment came to the conclusion that the appellant had no right to the post, and the order of termination had been passed in terms of the contract of appointment, and the order of termination does not cast any stigma, and as such cannot be held to be penal in nature. It is this order of the High Court dismissing the writ petition filed by the appellant upholding the order of the Tribunal, which is the subject-matter of challenge in this appeal.

2. Mr Shroff appearing for the appellant vehemently contended that the order, on the face of it, must be held to be stigmatic in nature, and as such the order could not have been passed without holding an enquiry and finding the appellant guilty of any charges. He further contended that in accordance with the rules the appellant was at least entitled to notice before termination, and no notice having been given, the order of termination is bad in law. We do not find any force in either of the contentions raised. The order of appointment itself unequivocally indicated the tenure of appointment, and that the appointment could be terminated at any time without notice. The question whether an order of termination of a probationer or temporary employee could be held stigmatic came up for consideration before a Bench of this Court, where one of us (Pattanaik, J.) was a party, since reported in Pavanendra Narayan Verma v. Sanjay Gandhi PGI of Medical Sciences1. In that case also, an enquiry had been held prior to the order of termination. On examining the entire gamut of case-law right from Dhingra case2 the Court came to the conclusion that a mere holding of an enquiry does not ipso facto make the order of termination penal in nature, once the employer wishes not to continue the enquiry in exercise of his right in accordance with the terms of appointment. The Court held that the enquiry held prior to the order of termination cannot turn an otherwise innocuous order into one of punishment. An employer is entitled to satisfy itself as to the competence of a probationer to be confirmed in service and for this purpose satisfy itself fairly as to the truth of any allegation that may have been made about the employee concerned. Bearing in mind the decision of this Court in the aforesaid case, and on examining the facts and circumstances together with the impugned order of termination, we see no justification for our interference with the impugned order, as in our view the impugned order cannot be held to be stigmatic in any way. This appeal accordingly fails and is dismissed.


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