State can’t claim financial constraints to fire staff: Delhi High Court

It is the bounden duty of a welfare State to secure the rights of livelihood of the citizens, the court said.

The Delhi High Court in a ruling has said that the State or its agencies cannot claim financial constraints or impact of the pandemic as a ground for dispensing with the services of its employees. It is the bounden duty of a welfare State to secure the rights of livelihood of the citizens, the court said.

Justice Jyoti Singh made the observations while ordering reinstatement of a number of pilots whose resignations were accepted by Air India last year despite their withdrawal by the officers prior to the acceptance. The court also held them to be entitled to back wages. Air India had argued that the acceptance of resignations was completely justified as it has been reeling under financial distress for a number of years.

The court said that a resignation tendered by an employee indicating a prospective or a future date from when the resignation is to take effect, can be withdrawn at any time before it is accepted, in the absence of anything to the contrary in the rules or terms and conditions of service.

“It is held that financial crunch cannot be a relevant consideration in deciding the issue of acceptance of resignations. Be it ingeminated that when the legal position on acceptance of resignation is so well settled, as noted above, it was futile for the Respondent to base its decision on the alleged losses it has been suffering and continues to suffer, on account of Pandemic Covid-19,” the court said.

The court also noted that the Preamble of the Constitution resolves to secure to all its citizens justice and equality. “… And every State action must be aimed at achieving this goal,” it added.

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