Employee holding a post, be it contractual or tenure, has no right to ask for automatic extension

Calcutta High Court: While dismissing a writ petition filed for the extension of employment period by the respondents, the Bench of  Sambuddha Chakrabarti, J. explained the essence of cardinal principle of service jurisprudence and also the binding effect of an order in its draft form.

The petitioner was appointed as the Secretary of West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission for a period of six months and the extension of that period would depend on the performance of the employee. The service of the petitioner was extended by one more year after which his service was not extended about which all the Government authorities were intimated. Therefore, the petitioner challenged the decision of the Commission for the extension of his employment service.

The question that arose was whether the petitioner in an employment of this sort has any right to ask for automatic extension. The cardinal principle of service jurisprudence states that “an employee holding a post, be it contractual or tenure has no right to ask for automatic extension unless nothing repugnant appears from the letter of appointment”.

The Court observed that it is very pertinent that the petitioner does not have a right to ask for extension, similarly he has no right to ask for a writ of mandamus as mandamus lies only when the petitioner has a right to a relief or a right corresponding obligation to the performance of a duty on behalf of the respondents. Therefore, the extension of service lay exclusively within the realm of the respondents and it was not a case of automatic extension as no ambiguity was present in the appointment letter of the employee. It was claimed by the petitioner that he was not intimated of the same and he had worked for an extended period, which brings us to the question of whether he had the authority to do so as there had been no intimation for his extension and there has been cessation of relationship of the employer and the employee. The counsel stated that there was an office order declaring the extension of the period of service of the employee for which there was no information of being revoked. The order was in its unfinalized form and was a draft which had no binding effect until it is finalized and signed by the appropriate authority in the formal form.

The petition was dismissed and it was also observed that if the petitioner considered himself at the position of Secretary then why did he file the petition in the first place and also if he did not then why did he describe himself as one on oath. [Dr. Jiban Chandra Chakraborty v. West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission, 2017 SCC OnLine Cal 16341, order dated 1-11-2017]

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