PHYSICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY Vs. MUKUL SINHA DR
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Physical Research Laboratory And Others
Dr. Mukul Sinha
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(1.)These Letters Patent Appeals arise out of the judgment of the learned single Judge of this High Court allowing Special Civil Application No. 3337 of 1979. The main prayers in the Special Civil Application were (a) declare the notice dated 2-11-1979 of termination of services of the petitioner at Annexure L as unconstitutional being in violation of Arts. 14 and 16 and null and void and quash the same (b) direct the respondents to treat the impugned notice at Annexure E as having never been issued and to treat the petitioner in the Special Civil Application to be in service as if the impugned notice has never been issued and to grant him all the benefits flowing from his continuous service; and (c) direct the respondents to reinstate the petitioner with full backwages.
(2.)To appreciate the contentions of the respective parties we have to look into certain relevant facts in this case. The Physical Research Laboratory was originally set up on 11/11/1947 as a Joint Venture of the Ahmedabad Education Society a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and the Karmakshetra Education Foundation a Charity Trust registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950 The original object was to carry out research in atmosphere Physics and in course of time * entered into the field of research in Physics and Earth Science * it developed into a Modern Laboratory for fundamental researc * Physics Astro-Physics and Geo-Physics. The Government of India having considered the Institute to be in the interest of the Country assisted the said Laboratory by making grants to it with a view to supporting the study and research in the aforesaid three areas The Government of the erstwhile State of Bombay and the Government of the State of Gujarat have assisted the Physical Research Laboratory with annual grants-in-aid as well as grants for capital expenditure from time to time. The Physical Research Laboratory submitted to the Government of India proposals for the development of the Laboratory and expanding its activities and invited the Government of India as well as Government of Gujarat to share with them the rights and obligations of maintaining and promoting the Laboratory as a result of which it was agreed between the Government of India the Government of Gujarat the said Society and the said Foundation that with effect from 1/04/1962 the Laboratory established as a Joint Venture of the aforesaid Society and the foundation shall be known as Physical Research Laboratory and the Government of India covenanted to pay minimum annual block grant-in-aid of Rs. 6 0 0 towards the maintenance of the Laboratory and also to pay non-recurring grant-in aid towards the costs of buildings and equipments of the Laboratory as the Government may consider necessary. The Government of agreed Gujarat to pay a minimum annual block grant-in-aid of Rs. 30 0 towards the maintenance of the Laboratory and pay a non-recurring grant-in-aid of Rs. 1 50 0 towards the costs of buildings and equipments of the Laboratory which was spread over a period of five years ending in 1965-66. The Society and the Foundation in their turn agreed to pay a minimum annual block grant-in-aid of Rs. 20 0 and Rs. 40 0 respectively towards the maintenance of the Laboratory. The Laboratory was placed under the control and direction of the Council of Management consisting of three persons appointed by the Government of India and one representative each of the Government of Gujarat the Society and the Foundation. It was also provided that there will be a Director-in-charge of the Laboratory who will be the ex-officio member on the Council. Rules and Regulations were framed for the purpose of running this Physical Research Laboratory.
(3.)Dr. Mukul Sinha the petitioner in the main Special Civil Application joined the Physical Research Laboratory as a research scholar in September 1973 for his doctoral programme in Theoretical Plasma as the Physical Research Laboratory is a recognised Institute by the Gujarat University under the Gujarat Universities Act for the studies leading to Ph.D. in the related areas of its activities. He completed his doctoral programme in 1977 under the guidance of one Dr. A. K. Sunderam and it is claimed by the petitioner that he published scientific papers in various leading journals. It is the case of the respondents that since he was an efficient research scholar he was offered the post of Visiting Scientist by the Physical Research Laboratory in January 1978 His appointment was initially for a period of one year with consolidated salary of Rs. 1 0 per month with effect from 1 According to the respondents the appointment was made by appointment order of 10/01/1978 Dr. John under whom the petitioner was working recommended for permanent absorption of the petitioner in the Physical Research Laboratory on the expiry of the first year as a Visiting Scientist by his letter dated 28/11/1978 But the Director-in-charge of the Physical Research Laboratory did not think fit to accept the recommendation and decided to assess his performance towards the end of second year and therefore granted extension of one more year as Visiting Scientist. Accordingly ky the order of 30/12/1979 the appointment of the petitioner as a Visiting Scientist was extended for a period of one more year with effect from 1/01/1979 Dr. John submitted his report containing his assessment of the performance of the petitioner (Dr. Mukul Sinha) by his letter dated 26/10/1979 stating that: (1) Dr. Mukul Sinha has completely neglected the responsibilities on doing theoretical work on developing models of beam-plasma inter-action; (2) although he had suggested a concept of using electron cyclotron reasonance to develop a microwave radiometer he did not follow this in terms of designing the experimental system in spite of specific request to do so; and (3) Dr. Sinhas involvement in activities outside his scientific assignments have been growing steadly despite the fact that he was advised against that considering the ill-effects these have on his scientific performance and on the overall performance of the group. Dr. John further stated that considering all these facts in their total perspective he had come to the unhappy conclusion that Dr. Mukul Sinhas continued association with the Laboratory would be detrimental to the interest of the experimental plasma physics group and the Laboratory as a whole. Dr. John has further stated in the same letter that he fully concurs with the Directors earlier decision and recommends that the services of Dr. Mukul Sinha may be terminated when his term of extension comes to a close. The Director-in-charge agreed with Dr. Johns recommendation and instructed that the petitioner be relieved from duties on expiry of the first date. The Director accordingly placed his endorsement on 29/10/1979 In pursuance of the instructions as aforesaid the Administrative Officer by his letter dated 2/11/1979 intimated the petitioner that he was to be relieved of his duties on the close of office hours on 31/12/1979 and without prejudice to the contention of the Management of the Physical Research Laboratory that the petitioner was not a workman within the meaning of Sec. 2 of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 it was decided that the petitioner should be paid retrenchment compensation under the provisions of Sec. 25F elf the said Act and to apply for permission of the Industrial Tribunal under Sec. 33(3) of the said Act for relieving the petitioner from the service in view of the pendency of the Industrial Reference before the Tribunal. The petitioners therefore being aggrieved by the said order dated 2/11/1979 had come forward with the Special Civil ApplicAtion referred above with various allegations.
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