SUKHJEET SINGH Vs. STATE OF UTTARAKHAND
HIGH COURT OF UTTARAKHAND
State of Uttarakhand and others
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(1.) Heard learned counsel for the parties. The petitioner is a Tube Well Operator Evam Village Panchayat Vikas Adhikari in Rudrapur district Udham Singh Nagar. On 18.12.2008, the petitioner was caught by the Prevention of Corruption Authorities without taking sanction of the department. Vide order-dated 30.12.2008, the petitioner was suspended from his service and departmental proceedings were initiated against him and an Inquiry Officer was appointed in this regard. The charge against the petitioner was that he was caught red handed while receiving bribe of Rs. 5,000/-. Consequently, a criminal case was filed against the petitioner, inter alia, under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The petitioner had earlier challenged the suspension order before this Court in Writ Petition No. 1128 of 2011 (S/S). This petition was disposed of by this Court on 15.12.2011 by issuing direction to the authority concerned to decide the petitioner's application by a reasoned and speaking order within four weeks from the date of a certified copy of the order. In compliance of the order-dated 15.12.2011, the petitioner moved an application before the authority concerned. On 02.02.2012, the respondent No. 3 rejected the representation filed by the petitioner. Aggrieved by the order dated 30.12.2008 and 02.02.2012, present writ petition has been filed by the petitioner.
(2.) Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that after suspending the services of the petitioner, the department should have awaited the result of the criminal trial, which is pending against the petitioner and any action should be taken only after the decision on the criminal trial is made. He submitted that the appointing Authority is also of the view that the matter, which is pending before the Competent Court, the same cannot be taken cognizance in a disciplinary proceeding. He further submitted that the petitioner is presently under suspension and will continue to remain under suspension till the matter is decided by the Competent Criminal Court. According to the learned counsel for the petitioner, petitioner was suspended from service on 18.12.2008 and the decision taken by the authority concerned on 02.02.2012, rejecting the representation of the petitioner is after a period of four years, during which the petitioner has remained suspended from his service. He submitted that in case, respondents are awaiting the result of the trial, there is no occasion for keeping the petitioner under suspension, as this is also an opinion of the Inquiry Officer. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submitted that in such a condition, the only competent authority is the Court, which is hearing the criminal case of the petitioner under the Prevention of Corruption Act and it is only the Court, which can take decision on this matter. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submitted that suspension during service can only be done on two occasions (a) where an inquiry is contemplated against the petitioner and (b) when disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against the incumbent. He argued that none of these situations presently exists and therefore, this is another reason for quashing the said order.
(3.) On the other hand, learned Brief Holder for the State referred to Rule 4(2) of the Uttaranchal Government Servant (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 2003, which reads as follows:
A Government Servant in respect of, or against whom an investigation, inquiry or trial relating to a criminal charge, which is connected with his position as a Government Servant on which is likely to embarrass him in the discharge of his duties or which involves moral turpitude, is pending, may at the discretion of the Appointing Authority or the Authority to whom the power of suspension has been delegated under these rules, be placed under suspension until the termination of all proceedings relating to that charge.;
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