Threat to resign without date can’t be treated as resignation: HCUpdated: Feb 15, 2020 00:30 IST
In a significant order for working individuals, the Bombay high court (HC) has held that a threat to resign in a protest letter cannot be treated as a resignation if the employee has not mentioned the date of the resignation. The order was passed while the court was hearing a petition filed by a BMC employee seeking reinstatement of her services after she was informed by the civic administration that her resignation in the protest letter was accepted from the date she tendered it.
The division bench of justice Nitin Jamdar and justice Makarand Karnik was informed by the petitioner Namita Uparkar, who joined the civic planning and designing department in 2007 as a sub-engineer (civil) and was later transferred to road and traffic department in 2017, when she joined duty on September 29, 2017, she found another officer sitting at the table assigned to her. As the issue remained unresolved despite her protest, she wrote a letter on October 4, the court was told by advocate Joel Carlos who represented Uparkar.
In the letter Uparkar had complained about the “insulting” treatment by the administration officer and alleged that instead of taking action against the errant officer, her action was termed as misconduct. “I consider it proper to tender resignation of my post while maintaining my self- respect,” she had written in the letter.
After taking cognisance of the letter on October 9, the corporation issued her a warning. Following this, Uparkar continued with her duties assuming the issue was put to rest. However, on December 15, 2018, Uparkar received a communication from the corporation stating her letter was accepted as her resignation and she was relieved of her duties from that date.
Carlos argued that the corporation had misconstrued the letter, and urged the court to quash the December 2018 communication wherein Uparkar was relieved of her duties.
The advocate representing the civic body, however, said there was nothing wrong with the termination notice as the corporation had viewed Uparikar’s letter, wherein she indicated her intent to resign, following the rules of resignation.
After hearing both the sides, the bench observed, “There is no date mentioned (in Uparikar’s letter) with regards to when the resignation would be effective... There had to be assertion in the letter that the resignation is being tendered with immediate effect, but there is no such assertion. This is a protest letter.” The court further observed that the action of issuing a warning did not indicate that the corporation had treated Uparikar’s letter as a resignation letter.
In light of this, the bench directed the BMC to reinstate the petitioner. However, at the request of the BMC advocate Abhijeet Kandarkar, the bench deferred Uparkar’s resumption of service for eight weeks.