Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: The Bench comprising of Achintya Malla Bujor Barua, J. while pronouncing an order in regard to the issue of suspension order passed against an employee stated the necessity of the memorandum of charge/charge-sheet for initiating a disciplinary proceeding.

The facts of the case state that, the petitioner was an assistant professor and was placed under suspension for the reason as provided in the communication that he was arrested for a case and was in custody for a period of more than 48 hours.

For the above stated premise, the Court had placed a query to the counsel of governing body of the college that “whether any memorandum of charge/charge-sheet had been issued and served on the petitioner as regards any proposed disciplinary action that may be taken” for which the answer was given that no such memorandum of charge/charge-sheet had been issued.

Court stated that a communication rejecting the claim of salary cannot be construed to be a memorandum of charge/charge-sheet. Further Court opined that, the information being provided to a suspended employee for which he is placed under suspension cannot substitute the memorandum of charge/charge-sheet for initiating a disciplinary proceeding.

Reliance by the petitioner’s counsel was placed on the decision of the Supreme Court in Ajay Kumar Choudhary v. Union of India, (2015) 7 SCC 291 in which it was held that: “the currency of a Suspension Order should not extend beyond three months if within this period the Memorandum of Charges/Charge sheet is not served on the delinquent officer/employee”.

Thus, the High Court in the present case taking into consideration the decision of the Supreme Court as stated above held that as no memorandum of charge/charge-sheet had been submitted since 29-08-2017, the period of 3 months elapsed which makes the order of suspension unsustainable. [Abdul Wahid v. State of Assam, 2018 SCC OnLine Gau 1957, dated 15-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Sanjeev Kumar, J., allowed a writ petition filed against the order of respondent authorities, whereby petitioner was placed under suspension without there being any misconduct on petitioner’s part.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the actions of respondents were justified with regard to the suspension of the petitioner.

The Court observed that the respondents communicated the order of suspension to the petitioner after a year of issuance of that order. The respondents had not initiated enquiry into the matter of petitioner, nor the petitioner had been charge-sheeted even after 2 years of his order of suspension was passed. The prolongation of suspension period beyond two years can only be viewed as punitive which is not sustainable in law. The Court referred to the judgment passed in the case of Ghulam Mohammad Mir v. State, 2017 (II) SLJ, 1996, wherein it was held that the suspension of an employee is resorted to only to facilitate unhindered and fair inquiry into alleged misconduct committed by such employee but if such suspension is unnecessarily prolonged and object for which it was resorted to, is not achieved and no inquiry into conduct of such employee is initiated with reasonable dispatch, the order of suspension would become punitive and susceptible to challenge, being violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.

The Court held that the as per the principles laid down in Ghulam Mohammad’s case, the actions of the respondent authorities cannot be held justified. The respondents ought to have initiated a proper inquiry into the matter within a reasonable time. Resultantly, the Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the order of respondents. [Babu Ram Sharma v. State,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 777, order dated 24-10-2018]