Principles of Natural Justice also Apply to Temporary Employee : Supreme Court

Principles of Natural Justice also Apply to Temporary EmployeeThe Principles of Natural Justice also Apply to Temporary Employee in three contingencies: firstly, when their services are sought to be terminated pre-maturely; Secondly, when the termination of service is founded on misconduct instead of being a simple discharge; and thirdly, when the termination operates as a punishment and results in forfeiture of existing benefits.  It is held that even these servants are entitled to protection of Article 311 and as such the argument cannot be accepted – C.S. Sharma v.  State of U.P., AIR 1961 All 45: Paras Nath Ojha v.  State of Bihar, (1970) I LLJ 316 (Pat);  State of Bihar v.  Ajodhya Jha, (1970) 1 LLJ 174 (Pat).

In one case, the Vice-Chancellor was appointed for a period of three years and it was contended that his services cannot be terminated before the expiry of the said period in the absence of any statutory rule. It was held that a person appointed as Vice-Chancellor is not entitled to continue in office for the whole period of his appointment even if he is physically decrepit, mentally infirm or grossly immoral – Bool Chad v.  Kurukshetra University, AIR 1968 SC 292: (1968) 2 LLJ 135

If the services of a worker are terminated for unsatisfactory work, then the order is punitive.  This has been laid down by the Supreme Court in Utkal Machinery’s case – AIR 1966 SC 1051: (1966) 1 LLJ 398. The said principle is also applicable to temporary employees – Dharampal Premchand Vs.  Workmen, Del Gaz., Pt. VI, 11-04-1968, 146 (IT); Jamnagar Municipal Transport Service v.  Workmen, Guj Gaz., 17-11-1966, 2759 (LC)

When the state has a right to terminate services of a temporary employee by giving one month’s notice, then termination in accordance with rules as well as contract is a discharge simpliciter and the court cannot go into motives for the same and cannot hold the order as punitive by probing into the departmental correspondence in the absence of express words in the impugned order – State of U.P. Vs. Ram Chandra Trivedi, (1976) 4 SCC 52.

Rarely does it happen that the services of a temporary servant who is good at work and conduct are terminated. If the termination of service is in some manner influenced by reason which is disparaging to the servant and it should be construed as a punishment, then every case of termination of service of temporary servant will amount to punishment.  This will nullify the contractual right or the rules giving power to terminate the services of temporary servant by giving stipulated notice.  Merely because certain circumstances constituted the background, supplied the motive or operated as an inducing factor, termination will not amount to punishment – Om Prakash Vs. Supdt. Of Post Offices, AIR 1960 J&K 97.


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