The Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court on April 26, 2019, in the case of Gajanan v. Union of India and Others, has held that an employee cannot withdraw notice of voluntary retirement once it is accepted as the relationship between an employer and an employee comes to an end.
A Division Bench comprising of Justices S.V. Gangapurwala and A.M. Dhavale was hearing a writ petition filed by one Gajanan Maitri, Class II (Group-B) Income Tax Officer, Ward-Osmanabad Camp at Latur.
In this case, the petitioner, after rendering 35 years of service, on November 20, 2017, gave a notice/application for voluntary retirement from the post of Income Tax Officer. As per the notice of voluntary retirement, the petitioner intended to retire with effect from February 28, 2018. Later, on March 17, 2018, the petitioner gave an application for withdrawal of notice of voluntary retirement. However, the petitioner was informed that the application for voluntary retirement had been accepted on March 9, 2018.
Petitioner then challenged the said communication which rejected his application for withdrawal of notice of voluntary retirement before the Administrative Tribunal. The tribunal rejected the said application which led the petitioner to move the High Court.
Advocate S.P. Warad, appearing for the petitioner submitted before the court that the application withdrawing the notice of voluntary retirement was given before the acceptance of the notice of voluntary retirement, hence the notice of voluntary retirement would stand withdrawn. The petitioner has every right to withdraw the notice of voluntary retirement before its acceptance, Warad said.
He further argued that the tribunal failed to consider the said aspect in its correct perspective. Only 35 months of the service period of the petitioner had remained.
Additional Solicitor General S.B. Deshpande, appearing for the Union relied on Rule 48(1) of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, and submitted that the Rule does not permit the petitioner to withdraw the notice after acceptance of the notice of voluntary retirement and after the intended period of retirement is mentioned in the notice.
After hearing the submission made by both the parties, the court said that "The government employee will have locus poenitentiae to withdraw his request for voluntary retirement before the intended date of retirement and not thereafter. On the lapse of intended date of retirement, the relationship of the employer and employee would come to an end.
In the present case, the employer has accepted the notice of voluntary retirement on March 9, 2018 and had also issued an office order relieving the petitioner from service and for the first time the petitioner issued a letter withdrawing his notice of voluntary retirement on March 17, 2018. On the said date, the petitioner did not have locus to withdraw his notice of voluntary retirement as the relationship of an employer and employee came to an end."
Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition by holding that the tribunal had not committed any error in rejecting the petitioner's application.