Raj Kumar Vs. Union of India  INSC
107 (18 April 1968)
18/04/1968 SHAH, J.C.
CITATION: 1969 AIR 180 1968 SCR (3) 875
CITATOR INFO :
F 1972 SC1302 (22) RF 1975 SC2299 (434)
E&R 1978 SC 694 (15,47,50,60) R 1981 SC 789 (13) RF 1987 SC2354 (11) F 1989
Public Servant--Letters of
resignation--Resignation accepted by appropriate authority--Acceptance not
communicated to public servant--Withdrawal of resignation by public
By letters dated 21st August 1964 and 30th
August 1964 the appellant, submitted his resignation from the Indian
Administrative Service and requested the State Government in which he was
serving to forward his resignation to the Government of India. On 31st October
1964, the Government of India accepted the appellant's resignation and
intimated acceptance to the State Government. On 27th November, the appellant
wrote letters both to the State Government and Government of India withdrawing
his resignation but, on 29th March 1965, the State Government passed an order
accepting the appellant's resignation and directing the appellant to hand over
The appellant filed a writ petition in the'
High Court for quashing the orders of the State Government and the Government
of India. The petition was dismissed.
In appeal to this Court, it was contended
that : (1) So long as the acceptance of the resignation was not communicated to
him, the appellant could withdraw his resignation; and (2) the. orders accepting
the resignation amounted to dismissal and were therefore violative of Art. 311
of the Constitution.
HELD: (1) When a public servant has invited
by his letter of resignation the determination of his employment, his service
normally stands terminated from the date on which the letter of resignation is
accepted by the appropriate authority and. in the absence of any law or
statutory rule governing the conditions of his service, to the contrary, it
will not he open to the public servant to withdraw his resignation after it is
accepted by the appropriate authority. Undue delay, in intimating to the public
servant concerned the action taken on the letter of resignation, may justify an
inference that the resignation had not been accepted. [860 F-H] In the present
case, on the plain terms of the resignation letters of the appellant the
resignation became effectiveas soon as it was accepted by the appropriate
authority. No rule has been framed under Art. 309 of the Constitution, nor is
there any other rule having statutory force which requires, that for an order
accepting the resignation to be effective it must be communicated to the person
submitting his resignation. The circular relied upon by the appellant,
according to which resignation becomes effective when it is accepted and the
officer is relieved of his duties, merely contains instructions to be followed
and has no statutory force. The resignation was accepted within a short time of
its receipt by the Government of India and the delay of the State Government in
implementing the order was not inordinate. [860 A-D, H] State of Punjab v. Amar
Singh Harika, A.T.R, 1966 S.C, 1313, held inapplicable.
858 (2) The orders were neither orders of
dismissal nor of termination of service for any misconduct. [861 B-C]
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 2429 of 1966.
Appeal from the judgment and order dated May
28, 1966 of the Punjab High Court (Circuit Bench) Delhi in Civil Writ No. 170-D
S. V. Gupte, Sardar Bahadur, Vishnu B.
Saharya and Yogindra Kushalan, for the appellant.
R. H, Dhebar, for respondent No. 1.
A. K. Sen and K. Baldev Mehta, for respondent
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Shah, J. The appellant belonged to the Indian Administrative Service and was in
August 1964 posted as Collector & District Magistrate, Kota. On August 21,
1964, he addressed a letter to the Chief Minister, Rajasthan, setting out
several grievances and finally stated--"In conclusion I would only request
that the Government may do me the kindness of accepting my resignation from the
service which I am submitting separately as I am convinced that it would be
impossible to continue in such an atmosphere without being humiliated from time
to time". He also addressed a letter dated August 30, 1964, to the Chief
Secretary to the Government of Rajasthan submitting his resignation "from
the Indian Administrative Service for early acceptance", and requested
that it may be forwarded to the Government of India with the remarks of the
State Government. The State Government recommended that the resignation be
accepted. On October 31, 1964, the Government of India accepted the resignation
of the appellant and requested the Chief Secretary to the Government of
Rajasthan "to intimate the date on which the appellant was relieved of his
duties so that a formal notification could be issued in that behalf".
After some time the appellant changed his
mind and by letter dated November 27, 1964, the appellant requested the Chief
Secretary to the Government of Rajasthan to recommend "acceptance of the
withdrawal" of his resignation from the Indian Administrative Service. He
also addressed a separate letter to the Secretary to the Government of India,
Ministry of Home Affairs, intimating that be was withdrawing his resignation
from the Indian Administrative Service. On March 29, 1965, an order accepting
the resignation of the appellant from the Indian Administrative Service was
issued and the appellant was directed to hand over charge to the Additional
Collector, Kota. The appellant then moved a petition in the High Court of
Punjab at Delhi for the issue of a writ of certiorari, calling for the record
of the case and quashing the order passed by the 859 Government of India
accepting the resignation of the appellant, and also quashing the order dated
March 29, 1965 issued by the State of Rajasthan. The High Court rejected the
petition holding that the resignation became effective on the date on which it
was accepted by the Government of India, and a subsequent withdrawal of the
resignation was ineffective, even if acceptance of the resignation was not
intimated to the appellant.
In this appeal, with certificate granted by
the High Court, counsel for the appellant contends that the appellant could, so
long as acceptance of the resignation was not communicated to him, withdraw the
resignation submitted by him. Counsel invited our attention to a circular
memorandum issued on May 6, 1958, under the signature of the Deputy Secretary
to the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, setting out the procedure
to be followed in dealing with resignation from service. Clauses (c) & (d)
of the circular stated:
(c) "The competent authority should
decide the date with effect from which the resignation should become effective.
In cases covered by (b)(i) above, the date would be that with effect from which
alternative arrangements can be made for filling the post.
Where an office is on leave, the competent
authority should decide whether he will accept the resignation with immediate
effect or with effect from the date following the termination of the leave.
Where a period of notice is prescribed which a Government servant should give
when he wishes to resign from service, the competent authority may decide to
count the period of leave towards the notice period.
In other cases also, it is open to the competent
authority to decide whether the resignation should become effective immediately
or with effect from some prospective date..............
(d) "A resignation becomes effective
when it is accepted and the officer is relieved of his duties. Where a
resignation has not become effective and the officer wishes to withdraw it, it
is open to the authority which accepted the resignation either to permit the
officer to withdraw the resignation or to refuse the request for such
withdrawal. Where, however, a resignation has become effective, the officer is
no longer in Government service and acceptance of the request for withdrawal of
resignation would amount to re-employing him in service after condoning the
period of break.
Counsel says that under the instructions
issued by the Government of India resignation of an officer from service
becomes effective 860 after it is accepted and the officer is relieved of his
duties and not till then. But the circular letter has no statutory force. It is
not a rule made under Art. 309 of the Constitution. It contains merely
instructions set out by the Ministry of Home Affairs about the procedure to be
followed in respect of resignation from service. Our attention has not been
invited to any statutory rule or regulation relating to resignation by members
of the Indian Administrative Service, especially as to the date on which the
resignation becomes effective.
The letters written by the appellant on
August 21, 1964, and August 30, 1964, did not indicate that the resignation was
not to become effective until acceptance thereof was intimated to the
appellant. The appellant informed the authorities of the State of Rajasthan
that his resignation may be forwarded for early acceptance. On the plain terms
of the letters, the resignation was to become effective as soon as it was
accepted by the appointing authority. No rule has been framed under Art. 309 of
the Constitution which enacts that for an order accepting the resignation to be
effective, it must be communicated to the person submitting his resignation.
Our attention was invited to a judgment of
this Court in State of Punjab v. Amar Singh Harika(1) in which it was held that
an order of dismissal passed by an authority and kept on its file without
communicating it to the officer concerned or otherwise publishing it did not
take effect as from the date on which the order was actually written out by the
said authority; such an order could only be effective after it was communicated
to the Officer concerned or was otherwise published. The principle of that case
has no application here. Termination of employment by order passed by the
Government does not become effective until the order is intimated to the
employee. But when a public servant has invited by his letter of resignation
determination of his employment, his services normally stand terminated from
the date on which the letter of resignation is accepted by the appropriate
authority, and in the absence of any law or rule governing the conditions of
his service to the contrary, it will not be open to the public servant to
withdraw his resignation after it is accepted by the appropriate authority.
Till the resignation, is accepted by the appropriate authority in consonance
with the rules governing the acceptance, the public servant concerned has locus
poenitentiae but not thereafter. Undue delay in intimating to the public
servant concerned the action taken on the letter of resignation may justify an
inference that resignation has not been accepted. In the present case the
resignation was accepted within a short time after it was received by (1) A. T.
R, 1966 S, C. R. 1313, 861 the Government of India. Apparently the State of
Rajasthan did not immediately implement the order and relieve, the appellant of
his duties, but the appellant cannot profit by the delay in intimating
acceptance or in relieving him of his duties.
The alternative ground raised by counsel that
acceptance of the resignation amounts to dismissal from employment and failure
to comply with the requirements of Art. 311 of the Constitution vitiates the
order accepting the resignation has no force. The order complained of did not
purport to be one of dismissal : the Government of India accepted the resignation
submitted by the appellant, they did not purport to terminate the appointment
for any misconduct on the part of the appellant, or as a measure of penalty.
The appeal fails and is dismissed. There will
be no order as to costs.
V.P.S. Appeal dismissed.