HC dismisses with cost software engineer’s plea against his termination

High Court of Karnataka

High Court of Karnataka

The High Court of Karnataka has dismissed with cost a plea of a software engineer over his termination from employment while deprecating his conduct of disputing the settlement, which he had not only accepted before a civil court but had also received money from his employer as part of the settlement.

The petitioner, a native of Hyderabad in Telangana, had joined a software company in Bengaluu for an annual pay package of ₹28 lakh. In 2012, the company sent him a communication that it is proposing to terminate his services by paying ₹2.33 lakh as one month’s pay.

However, the petitioner filed a suit before a civil court seeking permanent injunction against his termination for forcing him to resign. Meanwhile, both the petitioner and the company reached a settlement, through which the petitioner returned the company’s laptop, and accepted termination by receiving ₹4.24 lakh from the company. The petitioner had also signed the order sheet in the civil court for having received a demand draft for ₹4.24 lakh from the company.

Later, the petitioner filed an affidavit before the civil court resiling from the settlement and claimed that “it was involuntary and forced one”. Though he had admitted his signature, he had contended that settlement was “passive and involuntary acknowledgment of his advocate and he reserves his right to seek remedy before appropriate forum”. This resulted in multiple rounds of litigation before the civil court, the High Court and the labour court, which in 2019 declined to interfere with the termination.

While rejecting his plea, Justice K.S. Mudagal pointed out that the petitioner “went to the extent of saying that his advocate became a passive acknowledger to the order of the Court...”

“Except his self-serving testimony, the workman did not adduce any evidence to show that the settlement before the civil court was forced one. Further, his conduct of raising such contention after receiving the amount militates against him that too when he himself is a qualified engineer and was assisted by an advocate. He did not choose to examine his advocate to substantiate such contention,” the High Court observed while stating that a sanctity is attached to the proceedings of the court.

The High Court said that petitioner “cannot be permitted to approbate and reprobate” when he had accepted termination through mutual settlement.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2022 6:13:43 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-dismisses-with-cost-software-engineers-plea-against-his-termination/article65430288.ece