At, High Court of Karnataka
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M. NAGAPRASANNA
For the Petitioner: P.N. Nanja Reddy, Advocate (Video Conferencing). For the Respondents: B.S. Shrinivas, B.L. Sanjeev, Advocates (Physical Hearing).
(Prayer: This Writ Petition is filed Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the order dtd.18.4.2020 Annexure-E passed by the R-1 as the same is illegal Arbitrary and in violation of the Principles of Natural justice and contrary to the provisions of the Electricity Supply Act 1948 and the Electricity Act 2003 and also the Keb Employees (Classification Disciplinary Control and Appeal) Regulations 1987 and etc.,)
1. The petitioner in this writ petition has called in question the order of suspension dated 18.04.2020, passed by the first respondent - Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company Limited and has also sought payment of subsistence allowance for the period in which he was placed under suspension.
2. Though the petitioner was placed under suspension on 19.04.2020, no charge sheet is issued against him despite passage of nine months after the petitioner was placed under suspension. The Apex Court in the case of AJAY KUMAR CHOUDHARY V. UNION OF INDIA reported in (2015) 7 SCC 291, has held as follows:
"21. We, therefore, direct 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; if the memorandum of charges/charge-sheet is served, a reasoned order must be passed for the extension of the suspension. As in the case in hand, the Government is free to transfer the person concerned to any department in any of its offices within or outside the State so as to sever any local or personal contact that he may have and which he may misuse for obstructing the investigation against him. The Government may also prohibit him from contacting any person, or handling records and documents till the stage of his having to prepare his defence. We think this will adequately safeguard the universally recognised principle of human dignity and the right to a speedy trial and shall also preserve the interest of the Government in the prosecution. We recognise that the previous Constitution Benches have been reluctant to quash proceedings on the grounds of delay, and to set time-limits to their duration. However, the imposition of a limit on the period of suspension has not been discussed in prior case law, and would not be contrary to the interests of justice. Furthermore, the direction of the Central Vigilance Commission that pending a criminal investigation, departmental proceedings are to be held in abeyance stands superseded in view of the stand adopted by us."
In the light of the law laid down by the Apex Court as afore-extracted, the continuance of suspension beyond the period of three months without issuance of charge sheet becomes illegal.
3. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that he has not been paid subsistence allowance from the date on which he was placed under suspension, to which, the learned counsel appearing for the respondents would submit that he has not submitted an affidavit that he is not gainfully employed.
4. The reason given for nonpayment of subsistence allowance for the last ten months cannot be countenanced as an employee under the Rules is entitled to subsistence allowance from the date on which he is placed under suspension. Such a demand would be contrary to the Rules, as the employee has to live during the period of suspension. Therefore, the following
a. The writ petition is allowed in part.
b. The respondents are directed to reinstate the petitioner into service within two weeks from the date of receipt of a c
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opy of the order. c. The respondents are further directed to settle the subsistence allowance dues, to the petitioner from the date of the petitioner placed under suspension till the date of reinstatement, within two weeks thereafter, failing which, the petitioner would be entitled to interest at the rate of 6% from the date it fell due till the date of payment. Ordered accordingly.