The Kerala High Court has held in Shabeer Ahammed v Sivadasan VP that a government employee can withdraw the resignation tendered by him before its ‘effective’ acceptance by appropriate authorities as per concerned rules.
Sivadasan was appointed as a peon in an aided school by its manager. On 17.11.2011, following initiation of disciplinary proceedings against him, he tendered resignation and submitted it to the manager who accepted it on the same day. The very next day he sent a letter to AEO withdrawing his resignation. The AEO summoned Sivadasan and a month later, the acceptance of his resignation letter by the manager was approved.
The single bench, before which Sivadasan moved a writ petition, held that the manager could not have accepted the letter of resignation given by the writ petitioner and relieved him from service without obtaining the prior approval of the educational authority. It was further held that the AEO ought not to have granted approval for accepting the resignation since the writ petitioner had resiled from his offer to resign from service.
Referring to Service Rules, a division bench of PR Ramachandra Menon and Justice R Narayana Pisharadi observed that mere fact that the manager is the appointing authority does not mean that once he accepts the letter of resignation, it would come into effect. As the appointing authority, he may receive the letter of resignation and give his approval but that approval has no legal consequence unless and until the educational authority grants approval to the resignation, the bench said.
The bench took note of the relevant provision in the Rule that made it mandatory that no teacher shall be relieved before the expiry of the term of appointment without the previous approval of the AEO. The court also observed that this provision is applicable to a non-teaching staff also. “So long as no previous approval is obtained from the educational authorities, discharge, relief or resignation would not come into effect,” the bench added.
In the facts of the case, the bench, upholding the single bench judgment, observed: “A resignation submitted by an employee is no resignation in the eye of law until it is accepted by the employer as per the rules. So long as it is not an effective resignation, there can be no bar to withdraw it though the Manager of the school accepted the resignation of the writ petitioner on 17.11.2011 itself, as per the Rules, previous sanction of the AEO was necessary for relieving him from service. The sanction from the AEO in the form of Ext.P10 order was given only on 27.12.2011. The writ petitioner had withdrawn his letter of resignation on 18.11.2011 itself, long before the resignation became effective. There was no valid termination of his service by the acceptance of his letter of resignation by the Manager of the school.”