Reinstatement of employee must be unconditional: Court
Gandhinagar, Aug 28 (IANS) The reinstatement of a government employee in service has to be unconditional and it has to be treated as continuity of service “for all purposes” and not limited to just seniority and pension, the Gujarat High Court has ruled.
A division bench of the court ruled that the decision to reinstate an employee in service means that the charges of misconduct are not established and the employee has to be reinstated unconditionally in ordinary course.
According to the case, Yoginkumar Shukla was employed with the Surat Municipal Corporation, which after departmental proceedings removed him from service by an order dated Dec 21, 2002.
Shukla challenged the order before the Standing Committee which decided that he should be reinstated in service without back wages but with continuity of service for the purpose of pension and seniority.
Aggrieved by this decision, Shukla approached the state high court. A single judge bench dismissed his petition on grounds of delay.
However, the division bench while setting aside the single judge’s order noted that as the petition under Article 226 of the constitution was filed within three years, it could not be said to be suffering from delay.
Examining the case on merits, the division bench noted that Shukla’s wife was given contract of supplying mural paintings despite him being in service. The court noted that the civic body’s explanation was that she had been getting such contracts prior to their marriage and that Shukla had no role in securing the contract. The explanatrion was accepted by the standing committee, the court noted.
The division bench of Justices A.L. Dave and S.R. Brahmbhatt said: “Once a decision is taken to reinstate an employee, meaning thereby that the charges of misconduct are not established, the employee has to be reinstated unconditionally in ordinary course.”
“In the instant case, reinstatement is ordered without back wages and he (Shukla, the petitioner) is ordered to be treated as on duty only for the limited purpose of seniority and pension, and this has aggrieved the appellant and in our view, rightly so.”
The court stressed: “Once reinstatement is directed, it has to be treated as continuity of service for all purposes and not limited to seniority and pension. In the instant case, there is a lag of about five years between removal from service and reinstatement, and if continuity is given, the appellant would earn increments for that period which would ultimately benefit him in his pay fixation and other retiral dues like gratuity etc.”
“This is done without assigning any reason. The restriction ought not to have been imposed in absence of reasons when punishment is set aside and we are, therefore, of the view that the appellant’s case for continuity of service for all purposes has to be accepted,” the order made available Saturday noted.