Termination of Service of Lecturer On Grounds of Unauthorized Absenteeism, Valid: HC
The Orissa High Court in Governing Body of Anand Sahu vs. State of Odisha and Others – W.A. No.379 of 2019 and W.A. No.665 of 2019 – held the termination of service of the responded-lecturer as legal owing to his uninformed and unauthorized long leave from the college and non-response to issued show-cause notices.
The bench consisting of Dr. S. Muralidhar, CJ., Justice B.P. Routaray held:
There is a categorical finding that the termination of the services of Respondent No.3 was lawful. Interestingly the documents sought to be produced by Respondent No.3 before the appellate authority to show that he was working beyond 1st April, 2000 were found to be of doubtful authenticity. Be that as it may, this Court is satisfied that in the present case no illegality has been committed by the college in passing the order terminating the services of Respondent No.3.
The writ was filed by the Governing body of Anand Sahu Women’s College, at Kurala (Nayagarh), Odisha, for setting aside the the order dated 30th May, 2000 of the Governing Body terminating the services of Respondent No.3 as lecturer in Odia and the order dated 28th December, 2009 passed by the Director, Higher Education, Orissa, Bhubaneswar dismissing the Appeal filed by Respondent No.3.
The respondent was appointed as a lecture of Odia on 22nd February 1995 and he joined the college after 3 days from the date of the appointment. The appointment of the respondent was ab initio void as per the regulation mandate in Regulation 90 (6) of the Orissa Higher Secondary Education Regulations 1982. The regulation states that the lecturer should have secured 54% marks in M.A. examination in the concerned subject in which he shall teach. However, in the present appointment, the respondent had secured 49.75% in Odia, the subject assigned to him for teaching.
Nevertheless, the respondent was unauthorizedly absent for a long period of time leading the governing body to issue a show-cause notice to him on 16th April, 2000. As the respondent was the resident of the same village where the college was situated, the notice was sent to the him through the peon of the college. But on reaching his house the respondent refused to accept the show cause notice and in return abused the peon in filthy language. Thereafter the notice was affixed on wall of the house of the respondent in the presence of two villagers. The same notice was again served by the peon twice, one was from the secretary of the governing body and the second was again by the governing body and this time also the respondent refused to accept and therefore it was affixed to his premise where he was living. Thereafter the college terminated his service and the same was communicated to the respondent.
After a gap of 8 years of the termination of the service the respondent approached the High Court of Orissa challenging his termination. The court held that the management of the college had followed due procedure and had given ample opportunities to the respondent before terminating his services.
The Court further stated that there was no relevant evidence produced as to the continuance of service by the respondent after termination of service and neither he responded to any of the show cause notice issued on being absent, the respondent should be not complain by taking the defence of natural justice.
The Court while giving its verdict on remaining unauthorizedly absent for a long period of time, referred to the Construction Corporation Ltd. V. Surendra Chandra Das [2009 (Supp.-II) OLR – 797], where it held
It is settled law that as a Government servant cannot be termed as a slave, he has a right to abandon the service any time voluntarily by submitting his resignation and alternatively, non- joining the duty and remaining absent for long. Absence from duty in the beginning may be a misconduct, but when absence is for a very long period, it may amount to voluntarily abandonment of service and in that eventuality, the bonds of service come to an end automatically without requiring any order to be passed by the employer.
Accordingly, the writ was allowed and the termination of the service of respondent was held legal.
Rasmita Behera | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL