High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Piara Lal v. State of Punjab & Ors - CWP-7062-2006  RD-P&H 2774 (2 May 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB & HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
CWP NO.7062 of 2006
DATE OF DECISION: 09.05.2006
Piara Lal ....Petitioner
State of Punjab and others ...Respondents.
CORAM: HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE J.S. KHEHAR
HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE P.S. PATWALIA
PRESENT: Mr. D.S. Sandhu, Advocate
for the petitioner.
J.S. Khehar, J. (oral)
While the petitioner was working as a Pharmacist and was posted at the Primary Health Centre, Panchant, District Kurukshetra, he was involved in a criminal case on the registration of a first information report bearing No.48 at Police Station Sadar, Phagwara, on 29.5.1997. Consequent upon the registration of the aforesaid first information report, the petitioner was placed under suspension on 29.5.1997. He was thereafter reinstated on 21.7.1998. The criminal prosecution initiated against the petitioner has now culminated with the order passed by the Special Judge, Kapurthala, on 31.1.2005, wherein the petitioner has been acquitted.
Through the instant writ petition, the petitioner claims full pay and allowances during the period he remained under suspension i.e. from 29.5.1997 to 21.7.1998. This claim raised by the petitioner has been declined by an order dated 9.6.2005 (Annexure P2).
In so far as the claim of the petitioner for wages for the period he remained under suspension on account of pendency of criminal CWP NO.7062 of 2006 2
proceedings against him is concerned, the proposition of law stands adjudicated upon by the Apex Court in Ranchhodji Chaturje Thakore V.
Superintendent Engineer, Gujarat Electricity Board, Himmatnagar (Gujarat) and another, AIR 1997 SC 1802, wherein the Supreme Court observed as under:-
" The reinstatement of the petitioner into the service has already been ordered by the High Court. The only question is : whether he is entitled to back wages? It was his conduct of involving himself in the crime that was taken into account for his not being in service of the respondent. Consequent upon his acquittal, he is entitled to reinstatement for the reason that his service was terminated on the basis of the conviction by operation of proviso to the statutory rules applicable to the situation. The question of back wages would be considered only if the respondents have taken action by way of disciplinary proceedings and the action was found to be unsustainable in law and he was unlawfully prevented from discharging the duties.
In that context, his conduct becomes relevant. Each case requires to be considered in his own backdrops. In this case, since the petitioner had involved himself in a crime, though he was later acquitted, he had disabled himself from rendering the service on account of conviction and incarceration in jail.
Under these circumstances, the petitioner is not entitled to payment of back wages. The learned single Judge and the Division Bench have not committed any error of law warranting interference."
CWP NO.7062 of 2006 3
A perusal of the determination of the Apex Court extracted above reveals that the department is liable to pay an employee wages for the period he remains out of service only in case the proceedings, which led to his removal/dismissal from service, have been initiated by the department itself.
However, in a criminal prosecution which is not initiated by the department, the employee will not be entitled to back wages on his reinstatement. In view of the above proposition of law laid down by the Apex Court, it is obvious that the petitioner is not entitled to wages other than subsistence allowance for the period he remained under suspension from 29.5.1997 to 21.7.1998.
In view of the above, we find no merit in this petition. The same is accordingly dismissed.
( J.S. Khehar )
( P.S. Patwalia )
May 09, 2006. Judge
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