Mr. Laxman has given valuable advice.Kindly follow it.
In a given situation employee can invoke the provisions of Industrial Employment Standing Orders Act, SE act applicable to the state, Payment of Wages Act, ID act as per explanation of employee under these enactments or approach civil court.
Ideally company should handover all dues and payables and documents to employee by last day in office or within next 2 days.
In your case you have notified the company of last day in office/ effective date of resignation two months in advance and it was sufficient time to obtain all kinds of clearances, NOC’s, KT, handover, exit formalities, exit interview etc. etc.
“I was told that it would be provided 10 days after my last working day and that my relieving letter would reach me 45 days after my last working day. This, I was told, was the policy of the company (which is a huge multinational firm).”
This is more of employer policy than employee policy. This is strange without any logic as while allowing Separation Company has to allow it by document which in your case is acceptance of resignation. On last day when company handover acceptance by the close of office hours this becomes official that employee becomes ex-employee and does not have to attend office from next working day and can settle his future endeavor from next working day. Consider another scenario an employee does not attend office after last day in office indicated in office by him in his notice and company declares him absconding.
Do you know of any incidence in your company? It may come handy for you at appropriate time in appropriate forum.
Without acceptance of resignation how can you join any other employer? Resignation achieves finality when accepted. Till acceptance company can decline resignation. Acknowledgement of resignation, automated email mentioning last working day is not formal acceptance. Resignation can be accepted by appointing authority, executive empowered by board under his signature. Automated email is neither appointing authority, nor executive empowered by board. Automated email might have been sent by some clerk or HR person who can not sign acceptance of resignation.
Has this policy been placed in your knowledge domain e.g. employee page of company’s intranet, HR policy, employee rule book, service rule book, standing orders, and has it ever been circulated and supplied to you?
Relieving letter is a trend and is issued post all settlements by employee indicating employee has complied to all formalities settled all dues etc and nothing is due against him/her and hence is relieved. Within 2 months of notice which is a big period why can’t your company ensure that all formalities are informed to you and support system is extended to you to comply and complete.
While your company also knows you shall not be settle in future venture without this document. Moreover you have been informing the concerned personnel of the company that you require RAL, relieving letter to be employed and hence earn your livelihood after separation. You had put in efforts with your future employer and future employer agreed that it shall absorb you on board if you submit at least RAL. Your company was adamant that it shall not handover RAL for another 10 days as per its policy. Hence you are not discharged for another 10 days, so you deserve 10 days wages. Also you were unemployed/not employed elsewhere for another 10 days.
You should be able to produce record that you have been asking for RAL and it was denied citing some policy of the company, and it was sent and supplied after 10 days as per company policy. Your Ex employer is defaulter in your case.
You may address your representations to good offices of your appointing authority, MD, CEO, Company Secretary with a copy to head-HR. The HR personnel quoting policies to you ( verball) must be helpless as they also shall also be on the bench if they don't follow the orders of their masters.