The Supreme Court held that an employee has a right to resign from their job and cannot be forced to serve if they are not willing to stay on. An employee can be stopped from leaving only if there are terms in the contract of appointment that prevents their departure, or if disciplinary proceedings are pending or contemplated that are sought to be avoided by resigning from the job.
In Sanjay Jain v National Aviation Company India, Sanjay Jain joined Air India in 1992 as an assistant aircraft engineer in the major maintenance division of the engineering department. In his appointment letter, he was required to serve Air India for a minimum period of five years. Jain resigned in 2006 after more than five years of service and provided 30 days’ notice to join Jet Airways. He approached Air India to release his pending dues, provident fund, gratuity and unpaid wages. Air India, however, issued a letter dated 16 July 2008 to the effect that since his resignation had not been accepted, he was to report for duty. Bombay High Court dismissed Jain’s writ petition on the ground that acceptance of resignation was necessary.
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