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Sanjeev L. Tatuskar v/s Secretary, Pune Institute of Computer Technology & Others

    WRIT PETITION NO.3711 OF 1998
    Decided On, 22 April 2010
    At, High Court of Judicature at Bombay
    Mr. Rohit Sakhadeo with Mr. P.K. Dhakephalkar, for the Petitioner. Mr. R.S. Apte, Sr. Council for Respondent Nos.1 and 2.

Judgment Text

The Petitioner has challenged the impugned order of termination dated 3rd March, 1998, passed by the Presiding Officer, Pune/Shivaji University and College Tribunal, Pune, thereby his Appeal against the order of termination letter dated 10/07/1997, w.e.f. 09/08/1997, under Section 59 of the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, (for short, "the Act") was dismissed.

2. The learned counsel appearing for the Petitioner has strongly relied on, (1986) 3 S.C.C. 277, Jarnail Singh & Ors. Vs. State of Punjab & Ors. and thereby contended that the order in question was punitive and therefore, show causes notice or/and inquiry was necessary, therefore, the termination order as passed, is against the principle of natural justice also.

3. The Petitioner was appointed on 09/07/1996, on probation for two years. The Respondent-Management was entitled to terminate the services of the Petitioner-Probationer as they found that his services were unsatisfactory and terminated accordingly by the impugned letter, but by recording sincere association with the organization, also.

4. The termination letter in question, nowhere referred any stigmatic statement and/or any statement. It is a simple letter of termination.

5. As explanation was sought because of representation made by the Petitioner, the Management informed to the Pune University the reasons based upon the material with them, and specifically pointed out that his services were unsatisfactory.

6. The Management, even otherwise is entitled to collect the information and based upon the information available with them and basically when the services were found unsatisfactory, they can terminate the services of such probationer. It is not necessary that in every matter, they must disclose each and every aspect while terminating the services of the probationers, unless there are serious allegations and/or material placed on record to support the discriminatory and/or illegal action by the Management. In the present case, in my view, its a simple termination of the Probationer based upon the unsatisfactory work. There is no stigma attached to the termination in question.

7. The Apex Court in Institute of Oncology, Bangalore Vs. Dr. Pandurang Godwalkar, AIR 1993 S.C. 392, has observed that the termination order, after some preliminary enquiry, does not amount to remove from service as a punishment, even in case of probation, even if particular incident, negligence, inefficiency or alleged misconduct have influencing factor which induced the employer to terminate the services of the employee.

8. In Mathew P. Thomas Vs. Kerala State Civil Supply Corporation Ltd. & Ors., (2003) 3 S.C.C. 263, the Apex Court has elaborated this facet again in following words-

"Any order of termination based on unsatisfactory performance, even of probationer, after issuing the notice, containing serious allegations of misconduct, but termination based upon unsatisfactory performance was held not to be stigmatic. The background and contending circumstances based upon the alleged misconduct the termination of Probationer/adhoc/ temporary appointment in all circumstances, cannot be stated to be punitive or stigmatic. Still such orders of termination falls within the ambit of termination simpliciter."

9. In Abhijit Gupta Vs. S.N.B. National Centre, Basic Sciences & Ors., (2006) 4 S.C.C. 469, the Supreme Court held that-the termination order and/or probation period consequently not extended after expiry by making reference to earlier letters referring to the conduct as "perverted mind", "dishonest", "duffer having no capacity to learn" despite the use of such intemperate language. Taking note of totality of the matter and the fact of suitability and/or the absence of hope for his improvement the reference of those letters itself cannot be stated to be stigmatic and/or termination simpliciter.

10. The material so collected during the probation period and if Management found that the person is unsuitable and/or not improving, therefore, non-continuation and/or termination of such person cannot be stated to be stigmatic but it is termination simpliciter. Every order of termination of a probationer of temporary appointment, does not ipso facto became stigmatic.

11. The Supreme Court in Progressive Education Society & Anr. Vs. Rajendra & Anr. (2008) 3 S.C.C. 310, referring to the Act, held that the assessment of probation has to be made by appointing authority itself. The Authority is however, not required to give reason for termination except to inform employee that his performance was found unsatisfactory. If the decision so made, after having material on record, the order of termination simpliciter of probationer cannot be stated to be bad in law or stigmatic, unless those materials so quoted was unsatisfactory or unsupportive. Therefore, considering the scope of Sections 5(3) and 9 read with Rules 14 and 15, if the performance of an employees, appointed on probation, is satisfactory, it need to be assessed objectively. The Court/ Tribunal in a given case may interfere with the order of termination, but if found unsatisfactory and it is recorded accordingly. The Management order of terminating the services of such probationer, cannot be said to be bad, stigmatic or punitive.

12. The judgment so relied upon by the learned counsel appearing for the Petitioner in Visvesvarya Industrial Research and Development Centre Vs. Mr. Dilip Madhavrao Vaidya, 1998 (1) Bom.C.R. 759, is of no assistance as on the facts, the alleged unsatisfactory performance was based upon the got up documents and was not supported by any material on record. Both the lower Courts have not believe the case of the employee on termination for unsatisfactory performance. Therefore, refused to interfere under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India. The facts are distinct and distinguishable.

13. Therefore, in the present case, I am not inclined to accept the submission made on behalf of the Petitioner that such termination without due inquiry or show cause notice, is bad in law in view of the judgment Jarnail Singh & Ors. (Supra).

14. The Tribunal, after considering the various materials available on record, while giving detailed reasons on other grounds, dismissed the Appeal. I see there is no perversity in the order so passed. Therefore, there is no question of interference with the same.

15. The Tribunal has also dealt with the Government Resolution Dated 25/01/1990, that in view of above facts, if the termination is based upon the unsatisfactory work, there is no question of directing any court to continue such person. The sufficient reason to continue and/or reinstatement and/or back-wages, in view of above, therefore, are also unacceptable.
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r /> 16. Having once found that the termination order so passed, is based upon the unsatisfactory work and as the same was communicated accordingly, there is no question of any stigma and/or stigmatic statement attached to the same. In view of this, the correspondences, so exchanged by the Management and as not disclosed and/or pointed out and as there was no inquiry held with regard to the alleged instances, I am inclined to observe that those allegations/instances, even if any, looses its importance. That need not be treated as a ground of termination of the services as recorded above. The present termination order in question is simpliciter and no stigma attached to the same. 17. Resultantly, the Petition is dismissed. No order as to costs.