Finding that the petitioner had been selected for the position of Junior Engineering Assistant (Electrical) by ONGC, and though he failed to submit a NOC from his previous employer – RCF during document verification, which was considered a minor technical violation, the Bombay High Court noted that the petitioner had duly disclosed his previous employment with RCF during the medical examination and submitted a discharge certificate from them, and therefore, directed ONGC to permit the petitioner to join the post immediately.

The Division Bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Sandeep V. Marne observed that the requirement for submission of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from a previous employer, such as PSU/Government departments, is intended to ensure that the candidate can take up employment in another organization without any objection from their previous employer.

The objective behind this condition is to prevent employees from unilaterally abandoning their current employment and to address concerns like staff shortages, service bond obligations, and training costs incurred by the employer, added the Bench.

Noticing that the petitioner had informed both ONGC and RCF about his selection and sought a NOC from RCF, and RCF confirmed that the petitioner was relieved from their services on May 9, 2023, showing that they had no objection to him joining ONGC, the Bench observed that the petitioner had complied with the broad objective of the NOC requirement, and his joining should be accepted by ONGC.

Advocate S.S. Pakale appeared for the Petitioner, whereas Advocate Karthik Somasundaram Respondent.

The brief facts of the case were that the petitioner applied for the post of Junior Engineering Assistant (Electrical) with ONGC, initially unemployed. Later, he secured a position as Technician (Electrical) Grade II at RCF on August 3, 2022. However, he did not disclose this employment during ONGC's document verification process on January 9, 2023, nor did he provide the required No Objection Certificate (NOC). Upon being selected and appointed to the Junior Engineering Assistant position on April 13, 2023, the petitioner belatedly informed RCF and requested an NOC. ONGC later discovered his previous employment, prompting an inquiry where the petitioner admitted his RCF job during the medical examination. Although the petitioner explained the reasons for his non-disclosure, ONGC issued an order rejecting his joining due to the failure in submitting the NOC during document verification.

After considering the submission, the Bench found that the petitioner's situation differed from that of the four named candidates as the bench was not aware of the exact circumstances of those candidates.

The petitioner was in a lower pay scale job at RCF and had resigned with the hope of securing a higher-paying position at ONGC therefore the petitioner submitted the required discharge certificate from RCF”, added the Bench.

Therefore, while highlighting that denying the petitioner an opportunity to join ONGC in the present scenario would be unjust, the Bench allowed the petition and directed ONGC to permit the petitioner to join the post of Junior Engineering Assistant (Electrical) in accordance with the offer of employment issued on April 13, 2023, without imposing any costs.

Cause Title: Chandan Shantaram Gunjal v Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd & Anr

Click here to read/download the Judgment