The Delhi High Court Dismissed the petition of an Employee on claim to quash the show cause notice issued by the employer.

Title: Dr. Geeta Oberoi vs National Judicial Academy

Decided on: 30th June, 2023

+ W.P.(C) 8487/2023, CM APPL. 32341/2023, CM APPL. 32343/2023 CM APPL. 32342/2023



The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition of an ex-employee for setting aside the order of National Judicial Academy dated 22.05.23 and quashing of the show cause notice issued by the employer and renew the contract of service with release of all increments withheld and other consequential benefits that have been conferred on other similarly placed employees as the Petitioner.

Facts of the case

Dr. Oberoi was employed at National Judicial Academy, Bhopal since 2014 at the post of professor against a sanctioned post pursuant to an advertisement. The advertisement was issued on 11.06.2012 by the Respondent, inviting applications for filling up several vacancies on deputation or contract basis including the post of professor. The petitioner was appointed after following the open selection-cum-merit procedure. letter dated 10.04.2014, the petitioner was appointed as a professor for an initial period of 3 years. A contract of service was executed on 17.08.2014. Since there was no director officiating with the respondent, the petitioner vide letter dated 03.11.2014 was also given the responsibility of performing the duties of the Director of the National Judicial Academy till a new director was appointed.

On 01.02.2021, a show cause notice was issued to the petitioner with regard to the petitioner’s role in obstructing the academy’s security personnel or other employees from taking steps for evicting stray dogs from the premises of the academy. The Executive Committee decided that the Petitioner should continue in service till appropriate decision on show cause notice is issued (The Hon’ble chairperson observed “She may be continued till further orders”). On 22.05.2023, the petitioner’s services were terminated pursuant to a resolution of the Executive Committee dated 13.05.2023. Hence the present petition.

Court Analysis & Decision

The court noted that in the current case, it is true that the petitioner was covered by the service contract as of the day the show cause notice was given; hence, the respondents were required to abide by the contract’s terms and conditions. The respondent issued the show cause notice due to claims that stray dogs were being fed on academy property, which was causing a disturbance. Since the petitioner was a contractual employee of the respondent on that date and both parties were subject to the terms and conditions of the contract, the Executive Committee members believed that the petitioner’s services should be continued until an appropriate decision is made regarding the show cause notice. The petitioner is not entitled to rely on the terms and conditions of the aforementioned contract since it ceased to exist on July 8, 2021 and was not renewed.

The decision of the executive committee was taken on 13.05.2023 & there was no contract of service subsisting between the petitioner and the respondent. And in accordance with the advertisement, the respondent was only interested in hiring professors on a temporary basis, which is why the petitioner was chosen. The petitioner at best could have had legitimate expectation to be considered for regular appointment against a sanctioned post provided her performance was outstanding but that’s not correct to be held on the present case and unlike in the case of K. Ragupathi v. State of U.P., (2022) 6 SCC 346 (on which the petitioner relied on) where the petitioner therein had “outstanding” Annual Performance Assessment Report, there is nothing on record to show the performance of the petitioner as outstanding in this case. Hence the arguments of the petitioner that her appointment is akin to a regular appointment and her reliance on K. Ragupathi (supra) is faulty. Further the termination of the petitioner is on account of expiry of the period of the contract of service, the same is neither stigmatic nor vindictive.

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Written by – Shreyanshu Gupta

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