Madras HC: Suspension of Employees Can’t Extend Due to Pending Criminal Cases

LI Network

Published on: October 3, 2023 at 12:18 IST

The Madras High Court has recently emphasized that suspensions of employees in connection with a crime cannot be prolonged indefinitely without initiating disciplinary proceedings solely due to the pendency of a criminal case.

A bench comprising Justice R Suresh Kumar and Justice K Kumaresh Babu observed that employers cannot maintain a continuous stance that it is not appropriate to lift the suspension of the employee while a criminal case is pending.

The court further stated that employers must review the necessity of extending the suspension at the end of every quarter of the year.

In the specific case, a Special Sub-Inspector in the police department was suspended after being allegedly caught accepting a bribe by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department. Although the employee had appealed against the suspension order, it was rejected, and subsequent appeals to higher authorities were also denied.

The court noted that in all the rejection orders, the authorities cited the ongoing criminal cases as the reason for not revoking the suspension. They argued that it would not be conducive to reinstate the employee until the criminal case was concluded.

Upon the employee’s approach to the High Court, a single judge had directed the State to assign the employee to a non-sensitive post. In response, the authorities filed an appeal.

The High Court, while dismissing this appeal, emphasized that the employee was nearing superannuation, and a decision had to be made regarding whether disciplinary action should be taken against him, including the framing of charges.

The court considered it necessary to revoke the suspension to address these issues properly.

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