Supreme Court Strikes Down Registrar's Termination, Orders Reinstatement

Supreme Court reinstates Sandeep Kumar as Registrar at GB Pant Institute, citing lack of due process in termination. Case: Sandeep Kumar vs. GB Pant Institute of Engineering and Technology Ghurdauri.

In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has directed the reinstatement of the Registrar at the GB Pant Institute of Engineering and Technology, Ghurdauri, after finding the termination of his services to be in violation of principles of natural justice. The case, titled Sandeep Kumar vs. GB Pant Institute of Engineering and Technology Ghurdauri, saw the apex court strongly condemn the termination without a disciplinary enquiry as "totally unjustified" and a "gross violation of principles of natural justice."

The bench, comprising Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, unequivocally asserted, "...the termination of the services of the appellant without holding disciplinary enquiry was totally unjustified and dehors the requirements of law and in gross violation of principles of natural justice." The court criticized the High Court's dismissal of the appellant's writ petition, emphasizing that the failure to place certain minutes on record was a "hypertechnical ground" that did not negate the fundamental injustice of the termination.

The appellant had contested his termination on the basis that no disciplinary enquiry was conducted, and he was not given an opportunity to show cause before the action was taken. The court highlighted that the termination was solely based on the assertion of the respondent, without due process.

While the respondents argued that the appellant lacked the requisite qualifications and had suppressed information regarding his suspension, the court rejected these contentions. Justice Sandeep Mehta, in authoring the judgment, observed that the decision to terminate the appellant's services lacked any opportunity for him to present his case or engage in disciplinary proceedings.

Examining the terms of the appellant's appointment, the court noted that he was placed on probation for one year, extendable for another year if deemed unsatisfactory. Clause (b) of the appointment letter stipulated that during probation, services could be terminated without cause by providing one month's notice or pay in lieu thereof. However, the court emphasized that the appellant had satisfactorily served in the role of Registrar for nearly two years, effectively completing his probation period without issue.

The court unequivocally declared the termination as illegal and ordered the appellant's reinstatement to the position of Registrar, along with all consequential benefits.

On the other hand, the respondents' argument, represented by Mr. Amit Anand Tiwari and Ms. Devyani Gupta, failed to convince the court, highlighting the importance of robust legal arguments backed by evidence.