Involuntary Resignation

My Lord, Was Resignation of Ms. X, on 15/07/2014, Voluntary?

We are only examining, i) correctness of Order of Transfer, ii) rejection of ‘representations’ and iii) question as to whether ‘resignation’ could be construed to be voluntary or not.

Ms. X tendered a ‘resignation’ on 15/07/2014, which was accepted by Government of Madhya Pradesh, Law and Legislative Affairs Department on 17/07/2014. Ms. X, on 01/08/2014, sent a representation to Hon’ble President of India, Chief Justice of India, with a copy to Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court [Additional District and Sessions Judge v. Registrar General, High Court of Madhya Pradesh, (2015) 4 SCC 91].

We find, breakneck speed at which events have taken place in present matter, gives rise to a suspicion, there is something more…  

We are of considered view, irrespective of ‘one party – a High Court’ and ‘other – a Judicial Officer’, legal principles which would govern dispute between an employer and employee will have to be equally applied in present case. While exercising its functions on administrative side, MP High Court would be a State within meaning of Article 12.

State is under obligation to act fairly without ill will or malice – in fact or in law; ‘legal malice’ or ‘malice in law’ means something done without lawful excuse. Where malice is attributed to State, it can never be a case of malice or spite on part of State. It would mean, exercise of statutory power for ‘purposes foreign to those for which it is in law intended’. It means, conscious violation of law to prejudice of another, a depraved inclination to disregard rights of others.

We are of considered view, Order of Transfer would squarely be covered by ‘malice in law’.  

Judicial Officer is also a human being. Judicial Officer is also a parent. Resignation Letter appears to be on account of exasperation and frustration actuated by a thought, injustice was being meted out by Judiciary.

We are of considered view, ‘resignation’ could not be construed to be voluntary. Acceptance of ‘resignation’ is set aside.

Court in Regional Manager v. Pawan Kumar Dubey, (1976) 3 SCC 334 has succinctly observed:

Even where there appears to be some conflict, it would, we think, vanish when ratio decidendi of each case is correctly understood. It is rule deducible from application of law to facts and circumstances of a case which constitutes its ratio decidendi and not some conclusion based upon facts which may appear to be similar. One additional or different fact can make a world of difference between conclusions in two cases even when same principles are applied in each case to similar facts.”

We have decided, only on basis of peculiar facts and circumstances as are found.

Re­instate Ms. X as an Additional District & Sessions Judge. Though not entitled to back wages, Ms. X would be entitled for continuity in service with all consequential benefits with effect from 15/07/2014.

Hon’ble Justice B.R. Gavai, Ms. X v. Registrar General, High Court of Madhya Pradesh, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1137 of 2018].