Courts Update Allahabad HC stays suspension of COVID-affected employee for pending...

Allahabad HC stays suspension of COVID-affected employee for pending inquiry

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New Delhi, May 24 (ILNS): The Allahabad High Court has set aside an order of suspension passed against a COVID-19 infected employee, saying that an employee cannot be suspended during the pendency of a preliminary inquiry.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Rajnish Kumar passed this order on Thursday, while hearing a petition filed by Gaurav Bansal.

The court ordered, “In view of the settled position and the facts before the court the order of suspension dated April 29 contained in annexure no 1 to the writ petition cannot be sustained in the eyes of law and the same is accordingly quashed. It is, however, open for the competent authority to pass a fresh order after receipt of report of preliminary inquiry as per law. The consequences shall follow accordingly as per law.”

Submission of counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner had gone on three days’ casual leave on April 3 but on April 7, he was detected Covid-19 positive, therefore, he could not join the duties back and his brother had informed through speed post to the concerned authorities and sent the COVID-19 positive report of the petitioner.

The petitioner was found COVID-19 negative on May 2 and he rejoined the office on May 3. But without considering it, the petitioner was placed under suspension by means of order dated May 5 in contemplation of preliminary inquiry, which is apparent from the letter dated May 8 of the opposite respondents written to the petitioner, informing that the petitioner has been suspended by means of the order dated May 5 and the preliminary inquiry is being conducted by him and called to the petitioner for recording his statement and he has got recorded his statement.

MP Raju, Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner has been suspended on a non-existing ground before completion of the preliminary inquiry which could not be done.

Pankaj Srivastava, additional chief standing counsel could not dispute the legal position and submission of counsel for the petitioner. However, he submitted that the liberty may be granted to pass a fresh order after completion of the preliminary inquiry.

The Court said: “Having considered the submissions of Counsel for the respondents and perusing the records, it is apparent that the legal position is settled vide judgement and order dated September 3, 2013 that a suspension order cannot be passed during the pendency of a preliminary inquiry.

“The aforesaid verdict has been passed, relying on a full Bench decision of this court in the case of Raj Veer Singh vs State of UP and Others,” it added. ILNS/AP/SS/RJ

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