Noting that "suspension is not a punishment" and that it is "merely suspending the relationship between the employer and an employee", the Telangana High Court on Wednesday reiterated that under civil service rules, an employee can be suspended either if a Criminal case is pending, or a Departmental Enquiry is contemplated.
The Court was hearing the challenge to his suspension order by a Deputy Tahasildar, against whom a F.I.R. had come to be registered on 24.07.2020 for offences under Sections 420, 468, 471, 506 read with 34 I.P.C., following which he was suspended on 31.07.2020. The appellant had challenged the legality of the order, dated 17.08.2020, passed by a Single Judge, whereby the writ petition filed impugning his suspension order, was dismissed.
"Since the petitioner is facing both the Criminal trial, and a Departmental Enquiry, the employer cannot be saddled with such an employee", said the bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice T. Vinod Kumar, holding the issuing of the suspension order as justified.
The bench noted that Rule 8 of the Telangana Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1991 clearly states that an employee can be suspended either if a Criminal case is pending, or a Departmental Enquiry is contemplated. "In the present case, admittedly, the Article of Charges has been furnished to the petitioner on 31.07.2020. Thus, obviously a Departmental Enquiry has commenced. Moreover, undoubtedly, an F.I.R. has been registered against the petitioner on 24.07.2020 at Police Station, Karimnagar Rural for offences under Sections 420, 468, 471, 506 read with 34 I.P.C", recorded the bench, commenting that, thus, both the conditions, prescribed by Rule 8 of the Rules are fulfilled in the present case.
The counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the petitioner is almost at the end of his service career, as he is about to retire within a period of one year. Secondly, the allegations made against him relate to the year 2005-2006. Therefore, by suspending the petitioner, after a lapse of almost fourteen years, will not serve any fruitful purpose. Thirdly, the alleged complaint on the basis of which the Criminal case has been registered against the petitioner also relates to the period of 2005- 2006, and that the complainant has already lost his case before the revenue authorities. It was urged that even the F.I.R. is a false and frivolous one, and has been lodged merely to harass the petitioner. Thus, it was prayed that the impugned order deserves to be set aside by this Court.
Observing that whether the F.I.R. is a false or frivolous one cannot be decided by the High Court, for, it is for the Trial Court to decide about the veracity and authenticity of the F.I.R., and that therefore, the contentions raised by the counsel for the petitioner that the F.I.R. is a false and a frivolous one is clearly untenable, the bench dismissed the appeal.
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