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Employees Of Verge Of Retirement Should Not Be Suspended

Raya Banerjee ,
  20 May 2024       Share Bookmark

Court :
Madras High Court
Brief :

Citation :
W. P. (MD) No. 26571 of 2022 and W. M. P (MD) No. 20763 & 20765 of 2022

CASE TITLE:

K. Saravanan vs. The Joint Director of School Education & Anr.

DATE OF ORDER:

April 26, 2024

BENCH:

Hon’ble Ms. Justice R. N. Manjula

PARTIES:

Petitioner: K. Saravanan

Respondent: The Joint Director of School Education & The Chief Educational Officer

SUBJECT: 

The case concerned a disagreement about the suspension of an employee on his superannuation date and the subsequent release of a charge memo that claimed the individual had omitted material information in order to get employment. Using a writ petition, the petitioner requested relief from the suspension order and charge memo, claiming that they were unlawful and discriminatory.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS:

The Constitution of India:

  • Article 226:  It grants High Court the authority to issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights and for other purposes.

OVERVIEW:

  • On his retirement day, the petitioner was suspended because of accusations that that he had concealed information to get a job.
  • The suspension had not been the result of government action, but rather of complaints from outside parties.
  • t had been against the guidelines to suspend personnel on their day of retirement.
  • The inequity of starting disciplinary procedures at retirement had been highlighted in earlier rulings.
  • The petitioner had contended that the accusation and suspension memo was invalid.

ISSUE RAISED:

What were the main concerns raised in the Writ Petition  regarding the timing and procedural aspects of the petitioner’s suspension and subsequent disciplinary proceedings?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONER:

  • The petitioner argued that the charge memo and suspension order that were issued following retirement were against established protocols.
  • They argued that they had been treated unfairly because there had been no action taken against them for almost 25 years.
  • The accusations suggested malevolent intent because they were based on allegations from other parties that the petitioner had disagreements with.
  • Government policies and legal precedents discouraged filing for disciplinary action when a person was about to retire.
  • It was decided that the respondent’s acts were unfair, unlawful, and detrimental to the petitioner’s interests as a long-time employee.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT:

  • It was deemed a significant offence to conceal important details, such as applying for a job by lying about the qualifications.
  • The respondent demonstrated a duty to look into claims by acting upon receiving complaints from other parties.
  • Although they claimed the situation called for action, there were rules in place, such as prohibiting suspending staff on their retirement date.
  • Suspension may have been considered essential even at the time of retirement in circumstances of serious misbehaviour, such as the withholding of material information.
  • The requirements for disciplinary actions was nonetheless necessary notwithstanding the delay in acting.
  • It would have been against the values of justice and accountability to have let the petitioner retire without responding to the accusations.

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS:

  • The petition for writ was granted.
  • The first respondent’s charge memo dated 10.11.2022 and the contested suspension order dated 31.10.2022 were both overturned.
  • It was ordered of the respondents to allow the petitioner to leave the service on October 31, 2022, with full benefits.
  • In addition, a copy of the order was given to the respondents, who were instructed to release the terminal benefits six weeks later.
  • There were no expenses given.
  • Consequently, associated supplemental petitions were closed.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the court approved the petitioner’s request, rescinding the charge memo and suspension order. It was ordered that the petitioner leave the service with full benefits, starting on the day of his suspension.
 

 
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