Read Order: State of Haryana and Another v. Jai Singh Yadav

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, May 25, 2022:  The Punjab and Haryana High Court has reaffirmed that the services of a probationer can be dispensed with during the period of probation provided there is no stigma attached to it so that the said person can seek employment at another place without having been adversely effected.

The Division Bench of Justices G.S. Sandhawalia & Vikas Suri was considering a matter wherein the services of the petitioner (District Statistical Officer, Narnaul) working on probation were dispensed with, for allegedly not completing the probation period successfully as his work and his conduct was found to be unsatisfactory. 

Aggrieved, the petitioner filed a Civil Writ Petition during the pendency of which, a mercy appeal was filed before the Governor who, vide his order of January 2010, was pleased to allow the same while directing that the employee may be treated as a fresh entrant in the cadre of DSO to avoid any administrative complication. This order of the Governor was based on the ground that the writ petitioner was prejudiced to the extent that his termination order was biased and based on flimsy grounds. 

Thus, the order was implemented and he was taken back into service and was posted as Planning Officer, Gurugra. Thereafter, an application for amendment of the writ petition was filed and the said order was also made subject matter of challenge, on the basis of which, the relief was granted. 

The Single Judge Bench granted the service benefits of the District Statistical Officer (DSO) from November 2002 to January 2011 and extended all necessary service benefits due to the writ petitioner. Hence, the State of Haryana filed the present LPA challenging the above-mentioned order of the Single Bench. 

It was submitted on behalf of the state that the conduct as such of the writ petitioner was not justified and the benefits for a decade were granted to him, which was not justified in the facts and circumstances. 

The Court, at the very outset, observed that the writ petition was liable to be allowed solely on account of the fact that the order dispensing with the services of the petitioner during his probation period was punitive and thus the order being stigmatic on the face of it without holding any inquiry was liable to be quashed. 

Thus, in this background, the Court observed that the services of a probationer can be dispensed with during the period of probation provided there is no stigma attached to it so that the said person can seek employment at another place without having been adversely affected. 

“However, in the absence of any material and solely on recording the said fact attributing unsatisfactory work on the part of the probationer, then sufficient material is to necessarily come on record to arrive at a conclusion that his services are required to be dispensed with”, the Bench asserted. 

Thus, the Bench expounded that the impugned order by the Single Judge giving the relief that was granted in the mercy petition, in addition to passing the direction that the employee would necessarily have to be given all the benefits as the order itself had to go, was correct. 

Further, regarding the order of the governor, the Court opined, 

“Thus, it is apparent that even the mercy appeal which had been accepted is on the ground that he had good performance and his report had been downgraded from ‘very good’ to ‘average’ intentionally and his annual confidential report was spoiled to sabotage his career.”

Thus, while holding that the order of dispensing with his services was patently stigmatic, the Court dismissed the petition. 

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