The Bold Voice of J&K

Suspension on the date of superannuation

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Your Editor
The Madras High Court has held that an employee should not be placed under suspension on the date of his attaining superannuation. Even when an employee is under suspension, that employee is reinstated on the last day of his service and he is relieved of his duties consequent to retirement. The headlines should not be a mismatch to the contents of the news item or articles. But the headlines in this case read “Can’t suspend employee on verge of retirement: HC”. Suspension on verge of retirement is quite different from suspension on the very day of employee’s retirement. If this headline is read, it is natural that anybody misunderstands. If it is said that an employee in verge of retirement should not be suspended, it means that an employee is given carte blanche to indulge in misconduct and get away with his loot. The facts of the case do not correspond to the headlines. The judgment delivered by the High Court is meaningful. The case history is that the court was hearing the petition filed by K. Saravanan. The petitioner was an employee of school education department in Sivaganga district and he was suspended on the date of his superannuation in 2022 and was not permitted to retire. The question of not permitting an employee to retire arises in the case of the employee going on voluntary retirement. The purpose of not permitting an employee to retire is to ensure that the employee should not be allowed to go scot-free after indulging in misconduct particularly when the employee is found to have caused pecuniary losses to the employer. If an employee is not permitted to retire on the date of superannuation, it would be premium on dishonesty. The delinquent employee is given an ‘opportunity of extension of service’. An employee under suspension is necessarily reinstated on the last day of his service because if he is not reinstated, his service ceases on the date he was relieved consequent to suspension. An employee under suspension will not be on duty but he will be in service. Unless he is reinstated, he cannot be once again relieved since the suspended employee is already relieved when he is suspended. It is for this reason that the suspended employee has to be necessarily reinstated on the last day and relieved of his duties from service on attaining superannuation pending enquiry, if any, for misconduct. In the case of the petitioner, the charges were that the petitioner got the compassionate appointment in 1989 suppressing the fact that his mother was in government service and that she had deserted him when he was young. The court observed that the disciplinary proceedings were initiated after lapse of considerable time. The question arises if the department was in slumber to initiate disciplinary action for the misconduct shown by the employee in 1989. Disciplinary action could have been taken when the employee had considerable number of years of service before retirement. Suspending the employee on the date of superannuation after allowing the petitioner to complete his service is ridiculous. The inertia on the part of the administration is evident. Holding the administration completely responsible, the court directed the authorities to permit the petitioner to retire on October 31, 2022 with all attendant benefits and release the benefits within 6 weeks. There are no two opinions that the delinquent petitioner deceived the department. But it was too late before the authorities opened their eyes to see the misconduct of the employee.
K.V. Seetharamaiah

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