Read Order: Gurbax Singh v. State of Punjab and Others
Chandigarh, April 27, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that an employee who had been dismissed from service on account of criminal charges and subsequently acquitted, is entitled for full pay and allowances by virtue of Rule 7.3 of the Punjab Civil Services Volume 1 Part 1.
The bench of Justice Jaishree Thakur has added, “In view of the finding rendered above, the writ petition stands allowed and the impugned orders are set aside. The period for which the petitioner remained out of service i.e. from the date of his dismissal till the date of his reinstatement in service shall be treated as a period spent on duty for all intents and purposes.”
Therefore, the Court held that the petitioner would be entitled to his pay and allowances for the period he remained out of service.
In this case, the petitioner was nominated as an accused in an FIR registered under Sections 326, 324, 323, 149 IPC at Police Station Sadar Phagwara, District Kapurthala. He was convicted by the Trial but was acquitted on appeal.
On acquittal of the petitioner, he was reinstated in service vide order dated October 23, 2013 passed by fourth respondent from the date of his dismissal; however, he was denied the benefits of pay and allowances from the date of his dismissal to the date of his reinstatement in service. The petitioner filed an appeal against this order before the third respondent who partly allowed the same and ordered to grant due benefits to the appellant (petitioner herein) from the date of acquittal of the petitioner till his reinstatement in service.
This order was further challenged by the petitioner before the second respondent, who while dismissing the appeal of the petitioner also denied the relief that was allowed to the petitioner by the third respondent.
Against the aforementioned impugned orders, the instant writ petition was filed.
It was contended by the petitioner that he was dismissed from service wholly on account of his conviction in the aforesaid FIR, however, now he stood acquitted in appeal. It was submitted that no departmental proceedings on the basis of the said FIR were initiated against him.
It was also his case that the impugned orders as passed by the respondents were unsustainable. To support this plea, he placed reliance upon Rule 7.3 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules, Volume 1, Part 1. It is submitted that the principle of ‘no work no pay’ would not be applicable in a situation where the petitioner was kept away from work for no fault of his own.
Per contra, the counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent-State submitted that there was no infirmity in the orders so passed by the competent authorities, as the petitioner was dismissed from service on account of his conviction in the FIR mentioned above. It was also contended that it was on his acquittal in the criminal appeal that he was reinstated in service; however, since he did not work for the period from his dismissal from service till his reinstatement, he would not be entitled to the pay and allowances as sought by him for the said period.
After considering the provisions of Rule 7.3 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules, Volume 1, Part 1, the Court opined that a reading of the said rule would make it clear that the authority competent to order reinstatement shall consider and make a specific order regarding a government employee, who has been dismissed, removed, compulsorily retired or suspended, and shall consider whether the employee will be entitled to pay and allowances for the period of his absence from duty including the period of suspension, preceding his dismissal, removal or compulsorily retired, as the case may be.
Further, the Court also observed that no departmental inquiry was initiated against the petitioner and that he was dismissed from service on the basis of an FIR that was registered against him. Therefore, the Court held that the petitioner would be entitled to his pay and allowances for the period he remained out of service.
In view of the finding rendered above, the Court allowed the Writ Petition and the impugned orders were set aside. The period for which the petitioner remained out of service i.e. from the date of his dismissal till the date of his reinstatement in service was directed by the Court to be treated as a period spent on duty for all intents and purposes.
Consequently, the respondents were directed to calculate and release salary and allowances as admissible to the petitioner for the said period i.e. from November 10, 2011 till October 23, 2013 within a period of two months from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order.