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Voluntary retirement sought on medical grounds could be withdrawn if the doctor gives hope for early recovery, the Gujarat High Court has ruled.

Justice J.B. Pardiwala gave the ruling in the case of Mahendra Trivedi, a Bank of India employee.

Pardiwala, however, said that the discretion rested with the bank not to permit the withdrawal of the notice seeking voluntary retirement and that it needs to be exercised only if there are cogent and valid grounds available with it.

The court noted that even after giving a notice for voluntary retirement and it is accepted by the employer, it is open for the employee to seek the withdrawal of the notice before the actual date of his retirement.

“Even if the discretion is vested with the employer, it cannot be exercised arbitrarily and the same has to be exercised reasonably,” the judge noted in the judgment made available Friday.

Trivedi joined the bank in 1966 as typist-cum-clerk. While on duty, he met with an accident in 1983 and badly damaged a knee joint.

The injury affected his health, and he decided to opt for voluntary retirement.

However, after the notice was given, his hopes for recovery were revived after consultations with a surgeon who is an expert in knee replacement.

Trivedi decided to withdraw the retirement notice, but the bank refused to accept his request.

According to Shalin Mehta, Trivedi’s lawyer, the bank did not provide reasons for denying the withdrawal of the notice.

Nandish Chudgar, the bank’s counsel, claimed that the bank was well within its rights to refuse permission to withdraw the notice. He stated that Trivedi did not have the right for it once the notice was accepted by the authority.

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