Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Division Bench of Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, CJ and Ashutosh Kumar, J. disposed of the writ petition since no case was made out for the exercise of discretion under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The Attestation Form, with regard to the employment of the petitioner for the post of Assistant Central Intelligence Officer in the Intelligence Bureau, did not contain full particulars of his previous employment in the Intelligence Bureau Department itself where he had been earlier employed where his services had been terminated. The form had the requirement of disclosure of any employment either held by the candidate or any employment which may have been held by the candidate any time under the Central or State Government or Semi-Government or Quasi-Government body or an autonomous body or a Public Undertaking or a Private Firm or Institution.

The petitioner contended that the impugned order could not be supplemented by any reasons contained in the counter affidavit filed before the present Court and that non-supply of reasons in the order dispensing with the services of the petitioner and canceling his candidature could not be on the strength of a reason which had been brought forth through the counter affidavit. It was also contended that Clause 11(A) only created an obligation to disclose the employment that was held currently at the time of the submission of the Attestation Form.

The court held that a perusal of Clause 11(A) left no room for doubt that the requirement of disclosure obligated the candidate to furnish the entire information of any employment being held by him or having held any time an appointment of nature described therein. Non-disclosure of such a fact had a direct bearing on his employment. This fact of termination of employment in the same department, which is a highly sensitive department, therefore, could not be said to be a piece of information that was not required to be disclosed.

In view of the above-noted facts, the instant application was dismissed accordingly. [Chandra Shekhar Prasad v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1920, decided on 06-11-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: A Full Bench of Sisira De Abrew, Prasanna Jayawardena and S. Thurairaja, JJ. entertained the instant appeal filed against the order of  Provincial High Court, where the judgment passed by the Labor Tribunal was reversed.

The factual matrix of the case was that one workman-respondent was employed with People’s Bank-appellant, where he was a member of the Trade Union. Several allegations of misconduct were filed against the respondent and he was terminated from his services from the said ground. The Labor Tribunal held that the termination was just and equitable and also found that during the course of his employment at the appellant’s establishment, the respondent had misconducted himself on several occasions, some of which included disobeying the orders of his superiors, misbehaving in the presence of customers and abusing his superiors using foul and obscene language.

Hence, the respondent against the order of the Tribunal filed an appeal in the High Court, where it was held that, ‘Respondent was “mentally retarded” and that owing to his mental retardation, he could not be held responsible for the alleged misconduct.’ Accordingly, the order of the Tribunal was set aside and the appeal was allowed, payment of compensation was ordered, equivalent to the salary of five years.

Thus, the Appellant-Bank filed the instant appeal aggrieved by the order of the High Court for payment of compensation and not holding respondent liable for the alleged misconduct. The Court observed that the theory advanced by the High Court was applicable when determining the criminal responsibility of a person in a criminal case. However, in cases involving an employer-employee relationship, such standards set out in criminal law cannot be applied since; such a relationship was founded on the principles of trust and discipline. It was further noted that, as a result, any breach of these principles affected, not only the relationship between the employer and the employee but also the quality of the services provided by the employer along with the reputation of his establishment.

It was further observed by the Court that, the respondent had, not only refused to obey the legitimate instructions of his superiors at several instances but had also insulted and humiliated a superior officer in the presence of customers and it is a general rule that refusal to obey reasonable orders justifies the dismissal from service. Hence, the order of the Tribunal was upheld and the judgment of the High Court was set aside on the ground that, higher standards which were applicable in criminal cases cannot be applied to cases before the Labor Tribunal. Thus, the termination order was maintainable.[People’s Bank v. Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya, SC. Appeal No. 107 of 2010, decided on 09-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Madhuresh Prasad, J. allowed a civil writ petition filed by an employee seeking direction that execution of the new agreement by him would not deprive him of benefits available to him by way of the agreement executed earlier.

Petitioner, a Panchayat Rojgar Sevak, was terminated from his service on account of some allegations. The Collector, Muzaffarpur while considering the matter found that the allegations against him were technical in nature and that there was a recommendation of the Block Programme Officer, Muzaffarpur that he should be given benefit of doubt. As such, an order terminating petitioner’s services was set aside by the District Magistrate and the Deputy Development Commissioner, Muzaffarpur was directed to ensure that the petitioner is allowed to join as Panchayat Rojgar Sevak. Pursuant thereto the Deputy Development Commissioner directed the petitioner to execute a new agreement so that he may be allowed to resume his contractual engagement as Panchayat Rojgar Sevak.

The present petition was filed apprehending that if the petitioner executes a new agreement he would be deprived of the benefits of his earlier services if any is available to him or others similarly situated in the future.

The Court clarified that in the event such an agreement is executed since the order of the District Magistrate had set aside petitioner’s earlier termination order, therefore the benefits, if any, arising out of his contractual status prior to setting aside of his termination could not obliterate in any manner. [Sanjay Kumar v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 35, decided on 10-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ashwani Kumar Mishra, J., dismissed a petition filed against termination of petitioner’s services.

The petitioner in this petition had challenged the order passed by the Commandant, Central Industrial Security Force, Midanapur, West Bengal whereby petitioners service was terminated while he was on probation. Respondent contended the maintainability of the case as no cause of action arose before the Allahabad High Court whereas petitioner submitted that since selection procedure were carried at Allahabad thus part of cause of action arises before the court. Respondent referred to a Division Bench decision of the Court in Sube Singh v. Union of India, Special Appeal No.107 of 2017 where it was observed that just because selection proceedings have occurred under the territorial jurisdiction of a court, that would not constitute a part of cause of action for maintaining a writ petition against the order of termination.

In light of the above submissions, the Court held that the petition was not maintainable as no cause of action arose in the territorial jurisdiction of the Allahabad High Court. [Pramod Kumar v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine All 1585, order dated 07-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Rakesh Kumar Jain, J., refused to grant permission to terminate pregnancy of a 14 year minor girl.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner is a father of a minor girl of 14 years of age who was raped and on that account an FIR was filed against the accused under Section 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012 and Sections 376(3) and 506 of Indian Penal Code. As soon as the pregnancy of the minor came into light, the petitioner approached the Court for termination of 28 weeks pregnancy in accordance with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 wherein permission of Court is required if the pregnancy is of more than 20 weeks.

Question before Court was whether if pregnancy of the minor is terminated, there would be danger to life of minor or not. Respondent Director, PGIMS Rohtak gave opinion according to which if pregnancy is terminated there could be grave risk to minor’s life. Petitioner even after apprehension of minor’s death pleaded the termination of pregnancy to be carried out. Court after hearing the parties refused to permit termination of pregnancy.

Petitioner asked for directions in light of the case of Shewata v. State of Haryana, 2015 SCC OnLine P&H 20442 wherein termination of pregnancy of a girl was rejected but directions were given by Court for the welfare of the girl. Court, therefore, issued directions to the Director, PGIMS Rohtak for the welfare of the minor. Some of the important directions are given here for reference. Direction to admit minor as an indoor patient with a private room was given. Minor was to be given medicines, food, clothes, and other facility and during delivery, minor should be personally monitored by the Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Authorities of Medical College were supposed to ensure privacy and non-disclosure of her name to the public. With the above directions, this petition was disposed of. [Sikander v. State of Haryana, CWP No.21291 of 2018, decided on 28-08-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Abhay Manohar Sapre, J. speaking for himself and Uday U. Lalit, J. allowed the appeal filed by Indian Oil Corpn. against the judgment passed by the Madras High Court whereby the appellant was directed to resume the fuel supply to respondent’s fuel station.

The parties entered into a dealership agreement whereunder the appellant was to supply fuel to the respondent. Subsequently, on inspection, the totaliser seal was found to be missing. Based on such deficiency the dealership agreement was terminated by the appellant. The respondent made a representation to the appellant against the termination which was rejected. The said decision was upheld by a Single Judge of Madras High Court. However, the Division Bench allowed the appeal of the respondent filed thereagainst and directed the appellant to resume the supply of fuel to the respondent. The instant appeal was filed against this judgment.

The Supreme Court, after considering the decisions of the lower court, held that the Division Bench ought not to have interfered with the decision of the Single Judge. The reasoning of the Single Judge were found correct by the Court. It was noted that the termination of dealership agreement was an administrative function of the appellant. Further, it was observed that High Court cannot interfere with the administrative function of the Indian Oil Corpn. (appellant) especially when the decision of the appellant was based on correct reasoning and there was no arbitrariness. Based on the discussion, the Supreme Court held that the decision of the  Division Bench could not be sustained. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and order of the Single Judge was restored. [Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd. v. T. Natarajan,2018 SCC OnLine SC 698, dated 17-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The vacation bench comprising of Vandana Kasrekar, J. allowed the writ petition filed by a rape victim for termination of her pregnancy.

The petitioner was an unmarried girl, who became pregnant as a result of rape committed on her. She was raped by the accused who initially expressed the desire to marry her, however afterwards, he refused. FIR was filed against the accused of the offence punishable under Section 376 IPC. During the investigation, MLC was conducted and it was found that the petitioner was carrying a pregnancy of 8-9 weeks. The petitioner submitted an application before the Additional Sessions Judge under Section 3 of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, for termination of her pregnancy praying that she did not want to give birth to such unwarranted baby. The Additional Sessions Judge dismissed the application on the basis of the report of Respondent 6 that the petitioner was carrying a pregnancy of more than 10-11 weeks. Being aggrieved, the petitioner filed the instant writ.

The High Court, on 7-6-2018, had directed the Government Advocate to examine the petitioner before the District Medical Board. In pursuance of the said direction, the petitioner was examined by the District Medical Board on 11-6-2018. The report of the Board was placed on record by the learned Government Advocate. The Court perused the report and found that no such fact was mentioned in the report which would compel the Court not to grant relief to the petitioner. On the basis of the opinion of the Board, the High Court held that there was no impediment to order termination of petitioner’s pregnancy. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the order passed by Additional Sessions Judge was set aside. The respondents were directed to provide proper medical facilities to the petitioner for terminating her pregnancy by a team of doctors. [‘X’ v. State of M.P., WP No. 12463 of 2018, decided on 14-06-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: In three separate writ petitions, the termination of the mandate of the Arbitrator and the appointment of a new arbitrator was allowed by the Court.

The main question before the Court was whether the mandate of an Arbitrator can be terminated and a new arbitrator be appointed in his place. The parties had entered into an agreement which had an arbitration clause. When a dispute arose between the parties, a single Arbitrator was appointed to resolve the dispute.

The Court observed that in these cases the Arbitrator did not proceed with the dispute resolution process after 14.03.2009 even though he was free to proceed with the matter. A reading of Section 14(1)(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act shows that the mandate of the Arbitrator shall terminate if he becomes unable to perform his duties de jure or de-facto or he fails to act without undue delay. Here the mandate of the Arbitrator was held to be terminated due to the undue delay caused in the proceedings.

As to the question of appointment of a new Arbitrator, the Court stated that since mandate of the previous Arbitrator stands terminated due to undue delay, a suitable Arbitrator can be appointed for the present case as the arbitration clause as well as the dispute is still existent. [Swadesh kumar Agrawal v. Dinesh Kumar Agrawal, 2017 SCC OnLine MP 1180 decided on 07.09.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: In the present case, the Petitioner, an erstwhile teacher at KV Aurangabad Cantt. was subject to termination by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan on charges of moral turpitude involving sexual misconduct with certain female students in the 4th Standard, against which he appealed to the Central Administrative Tribunal. The Writ Petition seeking to impugn the CAT’s decision dated 8th May 2013 was placed before a bench comprising of SS Shinde and VK Jadhav, JJ, who affirmed the termination order.

It was argued on the Petitioner’s behalf that principles of natural justice had been violated by not giving him opportunity to be heard at various stages of the enquiry instituted against him, that he had not been given access to the statements and complaints of the students, that the report was not fair etc. Article 81 B of the Education Code of Kendriya Vidyalaya was contended to be ultra vires to Article 14 of the Constitution on grounds of not tendering sufficient opportunity to the delinquent and of  providing arbitrary power to the Authority.

The Court refused to accept any of Petitioner’s contentions. Insofar as Article 81 B of the Education Code provides for an extension of Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, it also empowers the Commissioner to terminate the services of an employee guilty of sexual misconduct, if, after a summary enquiry, his guilt is prima facie evident. This could be effected by three months’ pay in lieu of notice, for permanent employees, which was done in the instant case. The Court approvingly cited Avinash Nagra v. Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (1997) 2 SCC 534, and noted that two safeguards are ensured under the rules devised, which are: the record of reasons for the decision to not proceed to a full enquiry under the rules and the mandate to post those reasons to the Chairman of KVS, i.e. Minister, Human Resources Development. The Court found that the facts showed that adequate opportunity had been given to the Petitioner to represent his side, and principles of natural justice had been followed.  [Gokul v Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 3549, decided on 7-06-2016]