An employer, not a court, will decide whether a probationary employee’s services are satisfactory, the Delhi High Court has said. Justice Valmiki Mehta made the observation while upholding the termination of services of a teacher by a private school in the national capital. “Whether or not a probationary employee’s services are satisfactory, it is for the employer to decide …, and this court cannot substitute its view for that of the employer with respect to satisfactory services or otherwise of employee with the employer,” the court said.
The school had terminated the services of a teacher in March 2014 after keeping him on probation for nearly three years as his work was not found to be satisfactory. The teacher had challenged the decision in the Delhi School Tribunal (DST) which on December 10, 2015 had ruled in his favour by ordering his reinstatement.
The school had challenged the DST’s decision in the high court which set aside the tribunal’s order, holding the termination of his service as valid.
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It said that since the man, who was appointed on April 4, 2011, did not complete three years of service in the school, he would not be entitled to be confirmed as an employee as was ruled by the Delhi High Court in another matter in 2013. While setting aside the tribunal’s decision, the high court also expressed surprise as to how the DST avoided direct reference to the 2013 decision of the high court.
In its decision of 2013 in another service matter, the high court had held that the maximum period of probation can be three years, six years in gravest of grave cases, and there can be deemed confirmation of services only after that.
The teacher was on probation from April 4, 2011 to March 5, 2014 when his services were terminated.
He had contended that as per the terms and conditions of his service, the probationary period was not to exceed two years, but he was kept on probation for longer than that.
The high court did not agree with his contention and quoted the terms and conditions as saying that he will continue to be on probation till the Managing Committee of the school decides to confirm him.
It also noted that the teacher was sent several memos regarding deficiency in his work, which showed that the school was not satisfied with his services.
“In view of the above discussion, it is found that the respondent (teacher) cannot argue that he was deemed to be confirmed in services with the school, and accordingly termination of respondent by the school is valid,” it said.