Jammu & Kashmir High Court: Sanjeev Kumar, J. dismissed a petition challenging an order suspending petitioner and ordering an enquiry into his conduct, holding that principles of natural justice are not applicable to matters of suspension from service.
The petitioner challenged his suspension order on the grounds that he was deprived of his right to be heard, and on the ground that suspension order was served on the basis of allegations levelled by the Respondent 8, being his first wife, without any verification of the same.
The Court noted that the impugned order was based on the allegations of petitioner’s first wife that he had contracted the second Nikah without seeking prior permission from her. Respondent 2 (employer) suspended the petitioner in terms of Rule 22 of the Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1971, which states that no government employee who has a wife living, is entitled to contract another marriage without first obtaining the permission of the government, notwithstanding that the subsequent marriage is permissible under the personal law for the time being in force. Before passing the suspension order, Respondent 2 had considered the explanatory note submitted by the petitioner in relation to the said issue. It was noted that the relevant authority/employer found that neither the petitioner obtained any prior permission of the government nor had he sought the consent of his first wife.
It was opined that mere suspension does not tantamount to punishment; hence in the present case, it was not necessary to provide an opportunity of being heard or complying with the principles of natural justice.
In view of the above, the writ petition was held to be not maintainable.[Adil Rashid Butt v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 375, decided on 24-04-2019]