DIVISIONAL SUPERINTENDENT NORTHERN RAILWAY DELHI DIVISION Vs. MUKAND LAL
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
DIVISIONAL SUPERINTENDENT NORTHERN RAILWAY, DELHI DIVISION
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(1.) THE followling question has been referred for the consideration of the Full Bench by my Lord the Chief Justice:
"when an employee is placed under suspension in accordance with the rules by which his conditions of service are regulated, is He entitled to wages during the period of suspension at the same rate as if he were not suspended, and is the Authority constituted under the Payment of Wages act competent to order the employer to pay the full amount of wages during such period?"
(2.) THE circumstances which gave rise to this reference are stated in detail in the order of my Lord the Chief Justice, and it will be sufficient if I recapitulate some of the more salient incidents. The petitioner Mukand Lal who was employed as a booking Clerk at the Railway Station Panipat was charged with negligence resulting in monetary loss to the Railway Department- The loss took place on 8-51951 and four days later the Enquiry Committee appointed to go into the matter submitted its report. On the same day Mukand Lal was suspended. A charge-sheet was given to him. He remained under suspension from 12-5-1951 to 27-5-1951. For this period he was paid a subsistence allowance which was equivalent to half his normal salary. The question arose whether the Railway department in paying him less than his salary had made a deduction in wages due to him. The petitioner moved the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act and the Authority modified the order of the Railway Administration. The question therefore now arises whether Mukand Lal was entitled to receive his full wages for the period during which he remained under suspension and whether the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act could direct the payment of full wages to him. The matter came before this Court on the motion of the Railway Department.
(3.) I may mention at the start that there are two decisions of this Court which support the view that both parts of the question referred to the Full Bench should be answered in the negative. The first of these is a reported case Rura Ram v. Divisional Superintendent, N. W. Rly. , Lahore AIR 1954 Punj 298 (A), which was decided by a Division Bench consisting of Das C. J. and Achhru Rath J. The second is an unreported case Gurcharah Lal v. Divisional Suprintendent, Northern Rly. Civil Rev, No. 116 D of 1953, (Punj) (B) decided by myself. There is, however, a division Bench decision of the Bombay High Court given in Mushran v. Patil, AIR 1952 Bom 235 (C), in which a contrary view appears to have been expressed. My lord the Chief Justice was of the view that there was a conflict between the division Bench decision of this Court and the Division Bench decision of the bombay High Court and this was his only reason for referring the matter to a Full bench. The Bombay High Court has considered the matter afresh in Thillai natarajan v. C. P. Fernandes, (1956) 58 Bom LR 821 (D), and has expressed a view which if not contrary to its previous view in Mushran v. Patil (C) is certainly in complete accord with the two decisions of this Court. It is possible that had this decision been brought to the notice of my Lord the Chief Justice the occasion for this reference may not have arisen. However, the matter is of considerable importance, both to the Railway Administration and to its employees and we' have therefore heard lengthy arguments and considered it from all aspects independently of the previous decisions dealing with the matter.;
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