Nishka Srinivas Veluvali
Published On: January 28, 2022 at 16:35 IST
The Chhattisgarh High Court observed that in the circumstance where an employee was Acquitted on the basis of Benefit of Doubt, the Railway Authorities were justified in not approving payment of total wages to the employee during Suspension.
Justice Sanjay Kumar Aggarwal while Quashing the Petition filed by the Suspended employee requesting for full wages stated that, “Since the Petitioner has been Acquitted giving the Benefit of Doubt, which goes to show that the Railway Authorities were justified in placing the Petitioner under Suspension and as such, placing the Petitioner under suspension was not without material, therefore, his Suspension cannot be held to be wholly unjustified to hold him entitled for pay and allowances during the period of Suspension”.
The Petitioner worked as the Head Constable in the Railway Protection Force (RPF). He was suspended after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against him under the Punishable Offences as per the Sections 147, 148, 302 along with Section 149 and Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Even though the FIR was registered against him no Departmental Inquiry was commenced against him.
He was discharged from the Criminal Charges in May, 2008 by the Jurisdictional Criminal Court under the grounds of “Benefit of Doubt”.
Following the Acquittal, the Suspension Order issued to him was called void and he was reinstated in service but the duration for which the Trial prolonged was observed as “no work no pay” as per the Circular released according to the Rule 54 – B of the Fundamental Rules.
Through this Petition, a request was made to avail the balance salaries for the duration of Suspension period and also to entitle him with pensionary facilities as earlier.
However, the Respondent argued that the Petitioner was not granted “Honourable” Acquittal thus the Suspension period cannot be considered as duty period.
Upon scrutinizing the Circular issued, the Court inferred that the Petitioner cannot be entitled with the full wages by considering the Suspension period as the working period.
The Court also stated another reason for not awarding full wages that is, “Where the Authority competent to Order reinstatement is of the opinion that the Suspension was wholly unjustified, the Government servant is entitled for full pay and allowances to which he would have been entitled, had he not been Suspended, but subject to the provisions of sub – rule (8) of Rule 54 – B of the Fundamental Rules”.