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'Extension Of Time Of Joining' Cannot Be Claimed As Matter Of Right: Supreme Court

Shruti Kakkar
17 Sep 2021 3:51 AM GMT
Extension Of Time Of Joining Cannot Be Claimed As Matter Of Right: Supreme Court
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While upholding Chhattisgarh High Court's order of not granting extension of time for joining a post of Presiding Officer, Labour Court, the Supreme Court today observed that extension of time of joining cannot be claimed as a matter of right. The division bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose in their order noted that, "Appointment letter was categorical to the effect...

While upholding Chhattisgarh High Court's order of not granting extension of time for joining a post of Presiding Officer, Labour Court, the Supreme Court today observed that extension of time of joining cannot be claimed as a matter of right.

The division bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose in their order noted that,

"Appointment letter was categorical to the effect that the petitioner had to join within 30 days. Admittedly, life of select list expired on January 5, 2011 & petitioner did not join even after expiry of period of select list. Petitioner not joining within a period of 30 days disentitles him to be appointed for the post. Extension of time of joining cannot be claimed as a matter of right."

Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Kaustubh Shukla had submitted that the seats were vacant and based on the vacancy, Pandey could still be appointed to the post.

Upon petitioner's counsel submission, Justice Saran, presiding judge of the bench, while dismissing the special leave petition said that:

 "We can pass orders. But let posts for 2014 remain vacant for the ones who were eligible to be appointed. Judicial power is to be exercised judiciously."

Appearing for the State of Chattisgarh, Advocate Pranav Sachdeva had submitted that irrespective of someone else being appointed for the post, the petitioner had not challenged the appointment.

Facts of the Case

Pursuant to the advertisement dated March 27, 2008, Nilesh Kumar Pandey (petitioner in the present case) had applied for the post of Presiding Officer Labour Court. Upon publication of select list, Pandey's name was recommended by the Chhattisgarh Public Service Commission on July 9, 2009. However on account of ongoing litigation, Pandey's appointment could not be made immediately and upon State Government's request, the validity of the select list was extended till January 5, 2011.

During the period of select list, an appointment order was issued in Pandey's favour on August 28, 2010 with a stipulation that he had to join the post within a period of 30 days from the date of issuance of appointment order, failing which the appointment automatically had to come to an end. On account of pendency of writ petitions filed by unsuccessful candidates who were not selected, Pandey didn't join the post presumably.

On April 28, 2014, Pandey made an application to the State of Chattisgarh for extending his period of joining the post, however the same was rejected on June 12, 2014 ("Impugned Order") on the ground that the validity of the original select list had come to an end and that the joining period could not be extended in absence of any specific provision.

Aggrieved by the State Government's order, Pandey approached Chhattisgarh High Court seeking quashing of the 2014 order on the ground that Pandey's appointment was subject to the outcome of the writ petitions. The impugned order was also challenged on the ground that he was admittedly working as Welfare Officer, Central Jail, Raipur and therefore in order to join on the said post of Presiding Officer, Labour Court during the pendency of the writ petitions, he was required to resign from the said post which he was holding.

Case Before Chhattisgarh High Court

Observing that Pandey's writ held no water, the Single Judge of the High Court dismissed his writ on the ground that he was an uninterested person and failed to join on the post of Presiding Officer, Labour Court despite the expiry of the peremptory period.

Aggrieved, Pandey approached the Division Bench of the High Court challenging the order of Single Judge.

The division bench of Chief Justice PR Ramachandra Menon and Sanjay K Agrawal on June 24, 2019 while upholding single judge's order observed that,

"The finding of the learned Single Judge that no order can be passed based on sympathy especially when the petitioner has not acted responsibly to join on the post and has taken a calculated chance by sitting on the fence awaiting the outcome of the two writ petitions which were subsequently dismissed immediately after some time, is a finding of fact based on the material available on record and we do not find any illegality or perversity in the said finding."

Case Title: Nilesh Kumar Pandey v. State of Chhattisgarh


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