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Calcutta High Court Reiterated That the Law Assists the Vigilant and Not One Who Sleeps Over His Rights

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Case: Subhrajit Guha vs The State of West Bengal & Ors. [W.P.S.T. 96 OF 2020]

The Calcutta High Court on 3rd February 2021 dismissed the petition filed by the petitioner against the order dated May 24, 2019, passed by the West Bengal Administrative Tribunal, Kolkata in O.A. No.296 of 2018.

Facts of the case:

The petitioner approached the Tribunal seeking a direction to the respondents to allow him to resume duty as Amin in the Sub-Divisional Office of Land and Land Reforms Officer, Lalbagh in the district of Murshidabad while treating the period of unintentional absence as ‘on duty’. The petitioner claimed that due to the change of party in power and compelling circumstances, the petitioner had to leave the place on 11.5.2011 to save him and his family, and thereby, he couldn’t attend his duty therefrom. However, when the circumstances normalized, he moved the application to the District Land and Land Reforms Officer, Murshidabad on 10.12.2012 for allowing him to resume his duty. But no response was received by the petitioner, and thus, he wrote a request letter on 20.12.2012 followed by a letter dated 1.8.2013. 

The petitioner received a copy of the communication from Sub-Divisional Office of Land and Land Reforms Officer, Lalbagh to ADM, Berhampore on 27.9.2013, seeking instructions from his superior to take appropriate steps in the matter. Thus, another representation was made by the petitioner on 16.2.2015 to which also no response was received. Therefore, under such circumstances, an original application was filed in the year 2018.

Arguments advanced:

The petitioner contended that for more than nine years neither he has been placed under suspension nor any inquiry has been initiated against him and thus, he cannot be removed from service unceremoniously. 

Further, he should be permitted to join duty subject to whatever disciplinary action can be taken. He further submitted that the Tribunal has failed to appreciate the contentions raised by the petitioner while rejecting the O.A. filed by him. Since it was a continuing cause of action, hence, there was no delay in approaching the Tribunal.

Court’s observations:

The bench of the Hon’ble Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Aniruddha Roy observed that no reason could be found to differ with the view taken by the Tribunal while rejecting the O.A. filed by the petitioner as there is nothing on record to substantiate this contention that he had to shift his place of residence on account of compelling circumstances due to the change of political power, to save him as well as his family. 

Furthermore, the court remarked that in the view of sec. 21 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, in case the representation filed by an employee is not responded to by the authority concerned the limitation to raise the issue before the Tribunal is one year and six months from the date of making such a representation while in the instant case, the representation was made on 10.12.2012 and the Original Application was filed about six years thereafter. Except for some medical certificate dated 2.4.2015 produced on record by the petitioner advising him to rest for thirty days on account of medical problems otherwise, there is no good reason for the petitioner to have slept over the matter for so long to avail the appropriate remedy.


The Hon’ble court dismissed the writ petition and held that there is no error in the order passed by the Tribunal. Further, the court issued directions relating to the data that need to be collected and appropriate action should be taken in terms of applicable rules, on all such cases where no action was taken in the case of employees who are continuously absent from duty without sanction from the competent authority.

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