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Suspension Of Government Employee Pending Criminal Case: Court Upholds Reinstatement In Non-sensitive Post

SUDHANGEE HANDOO ,
  03 October 2023       Share Bookmark

Court :
High Court Of Judicature At Madras
Brief :

Citation :
W.A.No.1657 of 2019 and C.M.P.No.11264 of 2019

Case title: 

The Joint Commissioner of Police, North Zone, Chennai City Police Vs D.Jayakumar

Date of Order: 31.07.2023

Bench:

HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R.SURESH KUMAR AND

THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.KUMARESH BABU

Parties:

APPELANT – : The Joint Commissioner of Police, North Zone, Chennai City Police

RESPONDENT - D.Jayakumar

 

SUBJECT:

The subject of the case appears to be the suspension of a Special Sub-Inspector of Police who was allegedly caught receiving a bribe by the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Department. The case revolves around the suspension order and subsequent appeals and whether it should be revoked due to the pending criminal case against the employee. The main issue is the appropriateness of the suspension and whether it can be sustained indefinitely based on the pending criminal case.

OVERVIEW:

The case involves a legal dispute related to the suspension of a Special Sub-Inspector of Police. The central issue is whether the suspension, which was based on a pending criminal case, should be continued indefinitely. The court ultimately ruled that the suspension could not be extended without reasonable cause and directed the state to consider reinstating the employee in a non-sensitive post. This decision was upheld in a writ appeal.

ISSUES RAISED:

Whether the suspension of the Special Sub-Inspector of Police, solely based on the pendency of a criminal case, can be sustained indefinitely without initiating disciplinary proceedings or reviewing the necessity for extension?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT:

  1. The appellant contended that the suspension was a result of the respondent's alleged receipt of a bribe, which led to a criminal case.
  2. The Appellate Authority had rejected the respondent's appeal against the suspension.
  3. The Joint Commissioner of Police had also rejected the request to revoke the suspension in light of the pending criminal case.
  4. The appellant argued that the suspension should be maintained until the criminal case was concluded, and a decision could be made based on its outcome.
  5. It was emphasized that the respondent was nearing superannuation, and decisions regarding disciplinary actions or reinstatement needed to be made, considering the pending criminal case and potential future actions.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT:

  1.     The respondent argued that the suspension, based solely on the pendency of a criminal case, was unjustified and amounted to an indefinite suspension without proper cause.
  2.     It was contended that the respondent’s suspension had persisted for a considerable period, and no disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against them during this time.
  3.     The respondent raised the point that they were nearing superannuation, and the employer had not made a clear decision regarding their future employment status.
  4.     It was argued that the suspension order lacked a reasonable timeframe and had caused undue hardship to the respondent.
  5.     The respondent’s position was that the court’s order directing reinstatement in a non-sensitive post was appropriate, considering the extended duration of the suspension and the pending criminal case.

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS:

  1. The court examined whether the suspension, based solely on the pendency of a criminal case, could be sustained indefinitely.
  2.     It ruled that suspensions without initiating disciplinary proceedings or reviewing the necessity for extension cannot continue endlessly.
  3.     The court emphasized that periodic review of the suspension’s necessity is essential, especially when an employee is nearing superannuation.
  4.     Given these factors, the court upheld the order directing reinstatement in a non-sensitive post.
  5.     The appeal was dismissed, and the court directed compliance with the order within two weeks.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, this case highlights the importance of striking a balance between the interests of the employer and the rights of the employee when it comes to suspensions during pending criminal cases. The judgment underscores the need for periodic review and reasonable cause for suspension, especially when an employee's career is at stake. Ultimately, the court's decision to uphold the order directing reinstatement in a non-sensitive post serves as a reminder of the judiciary's role in safeguarding the rights and livelihoods of individuals in the face of prolonged suspensions without due process.

 
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