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Voluntary retirement application deemed to be accepted where employer does not refuse before the expiry of the period specified in the notice : Supreme Court of India

Request made by the employee for curtailment of the period of notice of 3 months before voluntary retirement can only be rejected by the employer if the same causes administrative inconvenience. The Supreme Court bench consisting of J. Ashok Bhushan, J. R. Subhash Reddy, and J. M. R. Shah elaborated upon an employee’s eligibility to seek voluntary retirement in the matter of Indian Bank &Anr. v. Mahaveer Khariwal [Civil Appeal No. 2760 of 2010].

The respondent, or the original writ petitioner, employee, who was working with the appellant bank, employer, was promoted as Chief Manager. The employee was transferred from Colombo overseas branch to a branch in New Delhi. He applied for 30 days leave to visit London as his son was admitted to the hospital after which the employee wrote to the employer seeking an extension of leave, both of which were rejected and the employee was directed to report on duty. The employee submitted an application seeking voluntary retirement from the services of the employer. In this notice, the employee requested for waiver of three months’ notice as required under Regulation 29 of the Indian Bank Employees Pension Regulations, 1995 and requested to deduct the salary of the said notice period from the amount payable by the employer on retirement. The employer rejected the request on the grounds that the employee was not eligible under the Pension Regulations, 1995.

The employee preferred a writ petition seeking directions to the employer to accept the voluntary retirement with terms as mentioned, to reimburse the educational expenses for the son of the employee and grant traveling allowance bills for the journey from Colombo to New Delhi which was rejected on account of delay in submitting the bills. The court dismissed the petition so far as a challenge to the rejection of the voluntary retirement, however, granting the other two prayers. The employee then sort to a Letters Patent Appeal before the High Court who allowed the same and directed the employer to release retiral dues of the employee. Aggrieved, the employer preferred the present appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, while looking into Regulation 29 stated that “As per the proviso to Sub­regulation (2), the appointing authority has to make a decision before the expiry of the period specified in the notice. It provides that where the appointing authority does not refuse to grant the permission for retirement before the expiry of the period specified in the notice, there shall be deemed acceptance of the voluntary retirement application and the retirement shall become effective from the date of expiry of the period mentioned in the notice”. Further, the court added “Sub­Regulation  3(b) provides that on receipt of a request for waiver of three months’ notice as per Sub­Regulation 3(a), the appointing authority may, subject to the provisions of sub-regulation (2), consider such request for the curtailment of the period of notice of three months on merits and if it is satisfied that the curtailment of the period of notice will not cause any administrative inconvenience, the appointing authority may relax the requirement of notice of three months on the condition that the employee shall not apply for commutation of a part of the pension before the expiry of the notice of three months” and dismissed the appeal.

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