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Employer has no obligation to accept request for voluntary retirement when disciplinary proceedings are pending; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice A. S. Bopanna & Justice R. Banumathi

The SC on April 15, 2020 {Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation Ltd. & Ors. v. Smt. Mohani Devi & Anr.} held that the position of   law   is   well   established   that   pending   disciplinary proceedings if an application for voluntary retirement is submitted there would be no absolute right seeking for acceptance since the employer if keen on proceeding with the   inquiry   would   be   entitled   not   to   consider   the application for voluntary retirement. It was held that there would be   no   obligation   to   accept.

It was held by the SC that in present case the inquiry had been completed and thereafter when the respondent’s husband submitted the resignation on 03.05.2006, the same was processed, accepted, he was relieved on 31.05.2006 and the payment of terminal benefits were made which had been   accepted   by   him. It was held that during   his   lifetime   up   to 14.04.2011 the husband did not raise any issue with regard to the same. It was held that it is only thereafter the respondent has filed the writ petition before the High Court. It was held that primarily it is to be noticed that when the application for voluntary retirement was filed on 28.07.2005 and had not been favourably   considered   by   the   employer,   instead   of submitting the resignation on 03.05.2006, if any legal right was available the appropriate course ought to have been   to   seek   for   acceptance   of   the   application   by initiating   appropriate   legal   proceedings.   It was held that instead   the respondent’s husband had yielded to the position of non-acceptance   of   the   application   for   voluntary   retirement and   has   thereafter   submitted   his   resignation. It was held that  the acceptance   of   the   resignation   was   acted   upon   by receiving the terminal benefits. It was held that if that be the position, when the writ petition was filed belatedly in the year 2012 and that too after the death of the employee who had   not   raised   any   grievance   during   his   life   time, consideration of the prayer made by the respondent was not justified. It was held that the High Court has, therefore, committed an error in passing the concurrent orders.

Accordingly the appeal was allowed by the SC. The judgment dated   19.11.2018   passed   in   D.B.   Special   Appeal upholding the order dated 01.11.2017 in S.B. Civil Writ Petition was set aside. However, it was directed by the SC, if the gratuity is not paid it shall be paid to the respondents, as it becomes payable on completion of service of five years.

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