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The Intricacies of Employment Law: Suspension, Voluntary Retirement, and Master-Servant Relationship

A Deep Dive into the Legal Framework Governing Employee Relations in India

The Intricacies of Employment Law: Suspension, Voluntary Retirement, and Master-Servant Relationship


In the realm of employment law, the concepts of suspension, voluntary retirement, and the master-servant relationship are of paramount importance. These concepts, while seemingly straightforward, are fraught with complexities and nuances that can significantly impact the rights and obligations of both employers and employees.

The Master-Servant Relationship in Employment Law

The master-servant relationship is a fundamental concept in employment law. In this relationship, the master employs the servant to perform work under their direction and control 1. This relationship continues even during periods of suspension 2, with the employee obligated to adhere to all rules governing their post 3 4.

Suspension and Its Employment Law Implications

Suspension refers to temporarily barring an employee from the workplace for disciplinary reasons 2. During suspension, the employee is still considered a member of the service and is entitled to a subsistence allowance 5. However, the suspension does not signify termination of employment 2.

Voluntary Retirement: A Closer Look

Voluntary retirement is a scheme offered by many companies, allowing employees the freedom to retire before reaching the age of retirement 6. As per Clause XVI of the Bipartite Agreement between the Indian Bank’s Association and Workmen Unions, an employee who remains absent from work for 90 consecutive days or more, without submitting any application for leave, is deemed to have voluntarily retired upon the expiry of a 30-day notice period  7 8

The Larger Issue: Balancing Employer and Employee Rights

The case of U.P. Singh v. Punjab National Bank (CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5494 OF 2013) provides a compelling illustration of the complexities inherent in these concepts 3 4. The case revolved around an employee who, instead of joining a new posting, continued making representations to the bank. Despite the bank’s efforts to ensure his return to duty, the employee failed to comply, leading to his deemed voluntary retirement.

The court held that the employee could have been treated as having voluntarily retired immediately upon the expiry of 90 days from his failure to join duty 3 4. The court also observed that a person cannot decide that an order is illegal and that they are not bound to comply with it 3 4. The failure to avail of any remedy would mean that the employee had accepted the order and was duty-bound to comply with it 3 4.

Conclusion: Balancing Employee Rights in Employment Law

This case underscores the intricate balance between protecting the rights of employees and enabling employers to maintain discipline and productivity within their organizations. It highlights the need for clear guidelines and regulations to govern the master-servant relationship, suspension, and voluntary retirement. It also emphasizes the importance of compliance with workplace rules and regulations, even during periods of suspension 3 4.

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