SINHA, J. -
(1.) THE facts in this case are shortly as follows: The petitioner was appointed with effect from the 10th January, 1956 as Chief Inspector of the Asiatic Government Security Lite and General Assurance Co. Ltd. He was on probation for a period of not less than one year from the date of his joining. The appointment was based on an annual contract of Rs. 10,00000/ - completed business yielding a first year's premium income of not less than Rs. 25,000/ -. The Life Insurance Corporation Act, 1956 which nationalised all life insurance business in India, came into force on the 1st September, 1956 as a result of which, the petitioner became an employee under the Life Insurance Corporation of India, in accordance with the provisions of the said Act. On the 21st November, 1956 it was intimated to him by a letter, a copy of which is annexure 'B' to the petition, that he was designated as 'Inspector', and would operate within the Calcutta Postal Zones. The letter contained the following direction:
'The categorisation of Field Staff into different grades having been kept in abeyance till 31st August 1957, you are having at your disposal sufficient time to organise the business on the pattern of the Corporation. The first review of your performance will be made as at 31st December 1956, the second review as at 31st March 1957 and the third review as at 30th June 1957..... It shall be my pleasure to see you qualifying for the highest category you deserve when your case will be taken up for categorisation'.
(2.) ON the 11th September, 1957 the petitioner accepted the terms of appointment under the Life Insurance Corporation, a copy of which is exhibit 'A' to the affidavit in opposition filed by Asoke Ranjan Sen, affirmed on the 1st April, 1960. Under this he was to be an 'Inspector of agencies', and the terms and conditions of his employment are all contained in that letter. The letter inter alia contained the following term :
'You are required to secure through your agents a minimum Life business, of Rs. 4.85 lacs yielding First Year's schedule premium income of not less than Rs. 19,500/ -. We hope that you will be able to exceed this figure, as your actual categorisation to be made after the expiry of the period fixed will depend upon the quantum of business as also on your satisfying the other criteria which will be taken into account in judging your results, The above terms of emoluments have been given to you now with a view to give you an opportunity of showing the best possible results and your work will be reviewed from time to time. Your actual categorisation will be made on and after 1st October, 1957, and this will mainly depend on the type of success you make of your present appointment and the criteria on which the results will be judged will be the quantum and quality of new life business introduced and completed till 30th September 1957, The Corporation reserves the right to terminate your appointment if the results achieved by you within the first six months and thereafter are not to our satisfaction.'
Thereafter, from time to time departmental rules were framed for categorisation and ultimately the employees had the option to be categorised on the basis of their performance during the 13 months ending on 30 -7 -57 or the 12 months ending on 31 -12 -57 whichever was more favourable to them. The petitioner could not be categorised owing to his poor performance during the 1st period, i.e., from 1 -9 -56 to 30 -9 -57, and accordingly, he had the option to be categorised on the performance for 1 -1 -57 to 31 -12 -57. The petitioner's work continued to be unsatisfactory and several warnings were given. Instead of the performance being 50% as was expected, his actual performance was 4.73% in the first period and 6.84% in the second period. The petitioner's case was, accordingly, referred to the Zonal Committee, which reviewed the matter and came to the conclusion that the petitioner's services should be terminated. Accordingly, on the 1st August, 1958 the Divisional Manager issued a letter, a copy whereof is annexure 'E' to the petition. By that letter, it was stated that the petitioner's performance, ever since the commencement of his service under the Life Insurance Corporation, had been poor and less than 50% of the revised quota allowed to him. His case had been carefully considered, and no extenuating circumstances were found to excuse such a poor performance. Accordingly, it had been decided to terminate his services with immediate effect. He was offered his salary for the current month and one month's salary in lieu of notice. On the 12th August, 1958 the petitioner wrote the following letter;
'Dear Sir, I hereby return one copy of my termination letter duly signed by me. Please arrange to make payment of two months' salary as mentioned in your letter. Thanking you'.
(3.) THEREAFTER , the petitioner was paid two months' salary including one month's salary in lieu of notice, and he accepted the same. An application has now been made challenging the order dated 1st August, 1958 mentioned above. The ground urged on behalf of the petitioner is that he has been removed from his post without being given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken in regard to him. A further point was argued namely that the Divisional Manager was not competent under the Life Insurance Corporation Act, 1956 to dismiss the petitioner.;