The Delhi High Court dismissed a BSNL employee's plea for withdrawal from the Voluntary Retirement Scheme after its closure.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Shalinder Kaur observed that, "Without going into the reasoning mentioned therein, it is clear that in terms of the scheme, the withdrawal on December 17, 2019 when the scheme was already closed would be of no consequence."

Counsel Gauri Puri, along with others, appeared for the petitioner. Senior Counsel Ravi Sikri, along with others, appeared for the respondents.

The petitioner, employed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), filed a civil writ petition challenge the Central Administrative Tribunal's (CAT) order. The CAT had dismissed the petitioner's Original Application, along with other OAs filed by BSNL employees, stating that requests for withdrawal from the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) are not allowed after the stipulated deadline.

The petitioner, a Junior Telecom Officer promoted to Assistant General Manager, opted for VRS on November 08, 2019, within the scheme's specified period. Later, on December 17, 2019, he withdrew the application, citing financial concerns and conflicting opinions. Despite his representation for withdrawal before acceptance, the competent authority approved his VRS on January 13, 2020. The petitioner approached the Tribunal, seeking to quash BSNL's decision and continue in service until the normal superannuation date. The Tribunal's dismissal led to the petitioner filing the petition before the High Court to set aside the CAT's order.

The High Court observed that the submissions made by the petitioner in the petition could not go beyond what was stated in the letter dated December 17, 2019.

In light of the same, it was held that the petitioner was precluded from withdrawing from the BSNL VRS-2019 after the scheme's closure. Consequently, the petition was dismissed.

Cause Title: Rakesh Kumar Chopra vs BSNL & Ors.

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