Prospective Resignation

The circumstances under which an employee can withdraw the resignation tendered by him and what are the limitations to the exercise of such right, have been dealt by this Court in a number of decisions. It is well settled that normally, until the resignation becomes effective, it is open to an employee to withdraw his resignation. When would the resignation become effective may depend upon the governing service regulations and/or the terms and conditions of the office/post. As stated in Paragraphs 41 and 50 in Satish Chandra, (1978) 2 SCC 301 ‘in the absence of anything to the contrary in the provisions governing the terms and conditions of the office/post’ or ‘in the absence of a legal, contractual or constitutional bar, a ‘prospective’ resignation can be withdrawn at any time before it becomes effective’. Further, as laid down in Paragraph 12 in Balram Gupta, 1987 (Supp) SCC 228 “if, however, the administration had made arrangements acting on his resignation or letter of retirement to make other employee available for his job, that would be another matter”.”

Hon’ble Justice U.U. Lalit, Air India Express Ltd. v. Captain Gurdarshan Kaur Sandhu, [Civil Appeal No. 6567 of 2018].

May, 1977 – Hon’ble Justice Satish Chandra had addressed a letter to the President, intending to resign from his office in August, 1977. July, 1977 – Hon’ble Justice Satish Chandra had requested the President to treat his intention/communication as null and void. October, 1977 – High Court of Judicature at Allahabad had allowed a Writ Petition, restraining Hon’ble Justice Satish Chandra from functioning as a Judge of the Allahabad High Court. A resignation means the spontaneous relinquishment of one’s own right. February, 1978 – Four Judges of the Supreme Court held, Hon’ble Justice Satish Chandra had just intended to resign at a future date and since his resignation was not operative with immediate effect, it could have been validly withdrawn; Hon’ble Justice S. Murtaza Fazl Ali dissented, unable to persuade himself to agree with his Brother Judges. That dissent hasn’t yet risen to importance.