'No work, no pay' rule not universal: Orissa High Court

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 14, 2024 IST

Cuttack, May 14: The Orissa High Court declared that the principle of ‘no work, no pay’ cannot be universally applied, particularly in cases where the employer is at fault for failing to utilize the services of the respective employee.


Sources said, a single bench of Justice Sashikanta Mishra issued the order while adjudicating a petition. The petitioner, reportedly appointed as a lecturer in history at Joda Women’s College on September 5, 1988, was terminated by the college's governing body on September 23, 1995. However, upon appeal, the Director of Higher Education, Odisha, instructed the governing body to reinstate the petitioner and take further action as per rules.


Despite the Director’s order, the governing body failed to comply, prompting the petitioner to file a writ petition in the Orissa High Court in 1996. The court disposed of the petition, directing the concerned authority to effectively implement the Director’s order.


Following the Director's instructions, the petitioner rejoined the college on January 10, 1996, and continued her duties until her retirement on January 31, 2023, after being transferred to Siddheswar College. However, she claimed that her salary had not been paid since January 10, 2006, and the period of illegal termination from September 23, 2005, to January 9, 2006, had not been regularized.


In response, the Director of Higher Education, Odisha, stated that a provisional differential salary was released for a certain period, but regularization of the aforementioned period was pending due to inaction by the governing body.


The High Court observed that the petitioner’s termination had been deemed illegal by the Director of Higher Education in a subsequent ruling. Despite this, the order for reinstatement was not enforced until January 10, 2006. Legal recourse was sought by both the petitioner and the management during this period, with the petitioner urging the governing body to implement the Director’s order and the governing body attempting to challenge the Director’s decision.


The Court emphasized that while reinstatement is typically granted in cases of illegal termination, the award of back wages is not automatic. Several factors, including whether the employee was gainfully employed during the relevant period, must be considered. Furthermore, the High Court ruled that the 'no work, no pay' principle cannot be universally applied, especially when the employer is at fault for not utilizing the employee’s services.

  • Orissa High Court

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