Govt can suspend employee during inquiry: HC

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, July 23: The State High Court has held that the authority is within the power to suspend the employee during the pendency of department inquiry or criminal proceedings against him.
Hearing the petition filed by Executive Officer Municipal Committee Ganderbal, Sarafraz Ahmad Bhat, challenging his suspension, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said the law authorized the competent authority to suspend the employee if inquiry is contemplated against him or her.
Sarfaraz Ahmad Bhat, I/c Executive Officer, Municipal Committee Ganderbal (formerly I/c. Executive Officer MC Anantnag), Shabir Ahmad Wani, I/c. Chief Executive Officer, Municipal Committee Pahalgam (formerly I/c. Chief Executive Officer MC Anantnag), Syed Nayeem Rizvi, Executive Officer, Municipal Committee Bandipora (formerly Executive Officer MC Anantnag) and Gh. Mohi-ud-din Malik, Executive Officer Municipal Council Anantnag were suspended on July 4 this year for illegal activities and attached in the office of the Director, Urban Local Bodies, Kashmir.
“Rule 31 of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956, authorizes the competent authority to suspend an employee to prevent him/her from functioning on the post held by him/her in case of contemplated enquiry into his/ her conduct or during the pendency of a departmental inquiry or a criminal proceeding”, Justice Magrey said.
Court further observed that the appointing authority or any authority to which it is subordinate or any other authority empowered by the Government, in this behalf, has the power to place a Government
servant under suspension where an inquiry into his/her conduct is contemplated or is pending and/ or if a complaint against a Government servant of any criminal offence is under investigation or trial.
Court in the instant case said the respondents appeared to have followed the procedure in vogue in the process of placing the petitioner under suspension pending further inquiry into the charges of
misappropriation, irregularities in financial transaction, gross negligence and misconduct.
With these observations court dismissed the petition as there was no merit with the clarification that the Court has not expressed any opinion insofar as the merits of the departmental enquiry case pending
against the petitioner was concerned, which is required to be investigated into and proceeded in accordance with law by the competent authority.