ABDUL RAHIM BHAT Vs. STATE OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
ABDUL RAHIM BHAT
STATE OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
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(1.) THE petitioner holds the post of a Field Publicity Officer in the Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board. He was placed under suspension vide order No. KVIB/291 of 1997 dated March 14, 1997 by the Secretary of the Board. Suspension order was followed by a charge-sheet vide No: KVIE/pf-112/94-96 dated April 7, 1997 and its contents depict that the petitioner's failure to arrange and supply the publicity material to the MLAs and others resulted in the suspension. The petitioner refutes the allegation and it is averred that material was arranged and supplied by him without waiting for the funds required at the relevant point of time. These contentions are pleaded to show that he was asked to arrange the material without providing funds to him and virtually seeks a finding in respect of correctness or otherwise of the factual assertions, but I refrain to and confine myself to the legal aspects only.
(2.) THE order of suspension is impugned inter alia on the ground that the Secretary has no jurisdiction and the contention calls for adjudication in the light of provisions of the Act and the Regulations. The Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board Act, 1965 (for short Act 1965) confers a power on the Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board (Refer Section 35) for making the Rules and Regulations with the previous sanction of the Government and the Board is empowered to determine the terms and conditions of appointment, service, scales of pay of the officers and servants of the Board has so on and so forth. Consequently, the Regulations were made by the Board with the previous sanction of the Government called the Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board Regulations, 1967 (for short Board Regulations, 1967) which came to be repealed by the Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board Staff Regulations, 1981 (for short Staff Regulations of 1981 ). Ultimately the Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board Staff Regulations (amended) 1998 were brought into being which are in force and govern the field. A perusal of the provisions of the Act and the Regulations reveal that there is no provision in the Regulations to empower the authorities to place an employee of the Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board under suspension. To avoid any confusion, it is relevant to mention here that vide SRO 237, the Rules called the Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board Rules, 1968 made by the Government provide for removal or suspension of any member of the Board including Chairman and the Vice-Chairman besides, other terms and conditions of service of the members of the Board, but it does not deal with the employees of the Board and the provisions of the Act and Board Regulations of 1968, Staff Regulations of 1981 and Staff Regulations of 1998 and in isolation of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956, depicts absence of the power to place an employee of the Board under suspension, yet the power has been exercised by the Secretary of the Board placing the petitioner under suspension and a question arises as to whether such power is available and if the answer is in affirmative, which is the authority, which can exercise the power of suspension?
(3.) BEFORE dwelling upon the issue involved, it is apt to notice that at times continuance of an employee of the Board in the office may be against the wider public interest, particularly when there are allegations of serious negligence and dereliction of duty or may engage himself in activities prejudicial to the interest of the security of the State or a complaint in any criminal offence may call for investigation or trial or any inquiry into his conduct may be contemplated or is pending. Does it mean that power of suspension cannot be exercised because rules do not provide for it. If it would be so, the Board is bound to be confronted with an anomalous situation which is not conceivable, yet the source of power is required to be traced out which in my opinion flows from the Section 16 of the General Clauses Act, 1977 (for short Act of 1977) which reads as: " 16/. . . . . where, by any Act or Regulation a power to make any appointment is conferred, then, unless a different intention appears, the authority having power to make the appointment shall also have power to suspend or dismiss any person appointed by it in exercise of that power. . . . . ";
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