Allahabad High Court

Allahabad High Court: In a writ petition filed against the Order of the Additional Director of Education (Basic) for the rejection of the petitioner’s claim for regular salary for the period he remained under suspension on account of his involvement in a criminal case, Ajit Kumar, J. allowed the appeal and quashed the impugned order,upon finding that the suspension was only on account of his detention in jail and no departmental inquiry was conducted against him.

The petitioner, while working as a Routine Grade Clerk in the Education Department, was placed under suspension by the disciplinary authority, post his implication in a criminal case under Sections 396, 412, 201 and 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’). After his release from the jail, post his acquittal by the Sessions Court and his order of reinstatement, the petitioner joined back the institution. There were no disciplinary proceedings against the petitioner and hewas simply placed under suspension on account of his detention in jail. Upon an application preferred by the petitioner for the payment of salary for the time in suspension, his claim was rejected on the principle of ‘no work no pay’.

The Bench said that the petitioner’s suspension was suspension simpliciter, as the order of suspension was passed by the disciplinary authority without any inquiry. The Court also noted that the order of reinstatement only recorded that the reinstatement would abide by the result of the criminal appeal, if any filed, however no criminal appeal was preferred against the order of acquittal by the respondents.

The Court also said that the petitioner should not be penalised as he was restrained from discharging duties on account of his detention, a circumstance which was beyond his control and moreover, his innocence was ultimately proven by way of acquittal.

The Bench explained that the principle of ‘no work no pay’ could have been attracted if the petitioner enjoyed bail in criminal case and had not been merely kept under suspension. The Court also said that the petitioner was under suspension and was not responsible in any manner for not discharging his duties in the department. The Court also considered the fact that the petitioner’s conduct was good and fair while discharging his official duties.

On the subject of payment of back wages, the Bench referred to Raj Narain v. Union of India, (2019) 5 SCC 809, wherein, upon closure of departmental enquiry and dropping of charges, the employee was entitled to back wages from the date of acquittal till the date of his reinstatement order.

The Court said that the petitioner’s case stood on a better footing as he was only suspended for his detention in jail without there being any inquiry in contemplation and his suspension was revoked immediately upon his acquittal in the criminal case and no appeal was preferred against the judgment of acquittal. Therefore, the Court held that the respondents were not justified in denying salary to the petitioner on basis of the principle of ‘no work no pay’.

The Court allowed the petition and quashed the orders of rejection of his claim for payment of back wages, and directed the respondents to make payment of arrears of salary to the petitioner for the period he remained under suspension i.e. from 19-08-2009 to 06-02-2016 within a period of 30 days from the date of production of certified copy of the order.

[Anil Kumar Singh v. State of UP, 2024 SCC OnLine All 959, Order Dated 13-03-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioner: Advocate Vimal Chandra Mishra

For the Respondents: Chief Standing Counsel

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