Based on a recent case, the bench of Gujarat high court comprising justice Biren Vaishnav observed that an order of termination is issued and the case is filed against the employee without departmental inquiry is stigmatic.
The petitioner, a junior clerk worked at Gujarat Livelihood Promotion Company Ltd as a Taluka Manager on a five-year contract basis. In 2018, an FIR was lodged against the petitioner and other employees for corruption allegations.Later, her services were terminated based on impugned communication issued against her. Later on, the respondent relied on the contractual statement that employee could be terminated on the ground of misconduct, corruption, and cheating.In this context, the petitioner relied on the previous judgment i.e Union of India vs Madhusudan Prasad (2004)and many other cases. The petitioner said that even if the employment was contractual but the communication was stigmatic and could not be passed without departmental inquiry.
The bench relied on Dipti Prakash Banerjee vs. Satvendra Nath Bose National Centre For Basic sc., Calcutta [AIR 1999], identified whether the impugned communication could be termed as stigmatic.
The Supreme Court had opined:
“…we hold that the words amounting to ‘stigma’ need not be contained in the order of termination but may also be contained in an order or proceeding referred to in the order of termination or an annexure thereto and would vitiate the order of termination.”
Justice Vaishnav came to an end that the order of termination did not conclude anything except the terms of the contract which could grant the Respondent the benefit to terminate the Petitioner. It was clear from the Dipti Banerjee judgment, that the matter which amounts to stigma need not be contained in the order of termination but may contain in the documents referred to in the termination order or its annexures. Thus, it was proved that the order of termination against her became stigmatic. Accordingly, the Bench rejected the impugned communication and directed that the Petitioner be reinstated.