The Karnataka High Court, in a recent decision, asserted that a wife does not possess the authority to seek the withdrawal of her husband’s resignation submitted to his employer. This ruling was made by a division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit, which dismissed the appeal questioning a Single Judge’s order that annulled the resolution allowing the husband to retract his resignation.

The bench emphasized that the request for withdrawal should originate from the resigning employee themselves, stating that it is an employee’s voluntary act to tender their resignation, and they have the right to withdraw it before acceptance, unless the Service Rules state otherwise. The court noted that in service jurisprudence, resignation is one of the conventional ways to terminate the employer-employee relationship, alongside removal, retirement, and death. These actions terminate the employment relationship.

In this case, the appellant had argued that his wife sought the withdrawal of his resignation, and the Resolution dated November 30, 2021, which accepted his resignation, was subsequently revoked. He contended that this revocation was legitimate and should not have been set aside by another individual, Prashanth R (the 6th Respondent).

However, the High Court held that in service law, the right to request withdrawal of a resignation should come from the employee who initially submitted it. It is considered a voluntary act of the employee seeking to leave their appointed service. The court stressed that once a resignation is tendered and duly accepted by the competent authority, it becomes complete and irrevocable, unless specified otherwise by the Service Rules.

Furthermore, the court highlighted that permitting anyone other than the employee to request the withdrawal of an employee’s resignation, especially without their consent, could lead to undesirable consequences. The court questioned how a spouse or children could attempt to keep the employee in service when the employee themselves were not willing to continue their employment.

The ruling affirmed that It should be the employee’s own decision and action to apply for withdrawal of their resignation. The court found that in this particular case, the spouse initiated the request for withdrawal after the resignation was already accepted, and the employee had not authorized or acquiesced to such a request.

Ultimately, the court declared that permitting someone other than the employee to seek the withdrawal of the resignation, without the employee’s consent, could lead to undesirable outcomes. It emphasized that an unwilling employee cannot be compelled to remain in service against their will.

The decision rested on the principle that resignation is a voluntary act, and the request for withdrawal should genuinely come from the employee who initially submitted the resignation. The court’s judgment underlines the importance of personal agency in the employment relationship and supports the general practice that only the employee can withdraw their resignation.

In light of the court’s ruling, the wife’s attempt to intervene in her husband’s resignation was considered legally invalid. The court upheld the acceptability of the husband’s resignation and the subsequent withdrawal, confirming the right of the employee to make such a decision autonomously.

This case serves as a legal precedent in service law, clarifying the process of resignation and withdrawal and underscoring the importance of individual choice in employment decisions.

While the case did not involve any specific legal provisions or statutes, the court’s decision is in line with general principles of service law and employment relationships. It reinforces the idea that employment decisions, including resignations and their withdrawal, should be made by the employees themselves, and third-party intervention should not be permitted unless specifically allowed by relevant Service Rules or employment agreements.

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