‘No work, yet pay’ principle applicable only in case of compulsory waiting

Supreme Court: Elucidating the principle of ‘No work, no pay’, the bench of Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph, JJ held that the aforementioned principle is the rule and it’s exception is ‘no work, yet pay’. Citing the instance of such exception, the Court said that compulsory waiting period is one such exception and to qualify for the exception, an employee has to establish that he had made earnest endeavors and yet that he was not able to join duty for no fault on his part. Furthermore, he must also show his earnestness to join duty. However, it was held that voluntary waiting period is not covered by the exception.

In the present case where Gopal Singh and S.K. Sinha represented the appellants and respondents, respectively, the appointee, a teacher, neither joined the first place of posting nor did he bring the matter to the notice of the higher authorities for seeking posting to another place in order to save his appointment and waited for 5 years till he received a new memo posting him to a different place. The appointee then filed the writ petition before the High Court of Patna after 10 years for payment of salary on the contention that he was unable to join the duty due to defective order of posting and that there should be no reason to deny him the salary for the mistakes committed by the department officials.

The Court, taking note of the above facts, held that the appointee’s conduct showed that he was at fault. The Court was of the opinion that the period in which the appointee waited for next posting cannot be considered to be a compulsory waiting period but in fact a voluntary waiting period. Hence, the exception of ‘No work, yet pay’ will not apply to the present case. State of Bihar v. Kripa Nand Singh, Civil Appeal No. 6692/2014, decided on July 23, 2014

To read the full judgment, refer to SCCOnLine

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