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Saturday, 1 October 2016

Suspension order of town panchayat employees set aside - MADURAI

The Madras High Court Bench here has set aside an order passed by Ayakudi town panchayat in Tirunelveli district on April 1 last suspending from service two healthy individuals who were appointed to the post of hand pump operator way back in 2001 under the quota for the physically challenged.

Allowing individual writ appeals preferred by S. Periyasamy and Jesu Antony by way of a common order, a Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and V.M. Velumani, however, gave liberty to the Executive Officer of the town panchayat to expedite departmental enquiry initiated against them and pass final orders as soon as possible.

The judges agreed with the petitioners’ counsel that suspension of government employees, pending enquiry into allegations of fraudulent recruitment, could be resorted to only if there were chances of tampering of records or other such evidence. In the present case, no such thing could be done by the petitioners occupying a lower level post.

The Division Bench also said documents produced by the petitioners, prima facie, disclosed that they were not suffering from any disability and had registered their names with Employment Exchange only under the General Category. They were also subjected to medical examination at the time of recruitment on consolidated pay in 2001.

The medical examination report also disclosed that they were not physically challenged. Yet, they had been appointed under the quota and their services were regularised in 2006. It was only after the filing of a public interest litigation petition in the High Court last year alleging misuse of quota meant for the physically challenged, the town panchayat initiated action.

“It is pertinent to point out at this juncture that the appellants are under employment for nearly 14 years and all of a sudden they are placed under suspension,” the Division Bench said after overruling a single judge’s refusal to entertain their writ petitions on the ground that the culpability of the petitioners could be found only after conclusion of departmental enquiry.

Source : The Hindu , 1st October 2016

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