NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has upheld the termination of an employee who was on a "sick leave" for nearly two years, but failed to produce a valid medical certificate to justify his absence.
A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia said sick leave can be granted only on the production of medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner clearly stating as far as possible the diagnosis and probable duration of treatment.
The bench passed the ruling while upholding the appeal filed by New India Assurance Company challenging an order of the labour tribunal which had ordered reinstatement of V P L Srivastava, a typist who remained absent unauthorisedly from September 25, 1982 to June 5, 1984. The Allahabad High Court upheld the reinstatement order.
The charges against Srivastava included absence without leave or without sufficient grounds and willful insubordination and disobedience of lawful and reasonable orders of his superiors.
The two subordinate courts mainly relied on the fact that the management did not pass any order on the sick leave application purportedly submitted by Srivastava.
Rejecting the findings, the apex court said that it was clear from the management letter on August 3, 1984 that there was no leave due to the credit of Srivastava, including leave without pay and it had asked him to forthwith join duty.
The apex court noted that the erring employee did not produce any medical certificate to prove his claim that he was suffering from 'tuberculosis'.
It was also the contention of the management that a medical officer was sent from the office to examine Srivastava and it was found that he was not sick as claimed by him.
Recalling an earlier ruling in the Vivekananda Sethi case (2005), the apex court said the mere sending of a leave application after the exhaustion of the leave period cannot be termed as a bona fide act of the workman.
The management was justified in terminating Srivastava's services, the apex court said.