Staff Reporter

``Special Officers do not have any right in this regard''

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled that the Special Officers of Primary Agricultural Cooperative Banks do not have any authority to suspend the bank staff, and instead the right is vested with regional Joint Registrars as well as the Registrar of Cooperative Societies.

Allowing a writ petition moved by a suspended secretary of Ulagalanthanvayal Primary Agricultural Cooperative Bank in Pudukottai district, Justice P. Jyothimani said the post of Bank Secretary fell under the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Cooperative Banks Common Cadre Service Regulations-2000, which categorically stated that the Common Cadre Service Authority (CCSA) was alone competent to have disciplinary control over the employees.

What proviso says

Though the CCSA was defined as a committee in the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies Act, the first proviso to Section 75 (3) stated that the Joint Registrars concerned should act as the CCSA until a regular committee was constituted.

Besides, Section 29 (e) of Service Regulations empowered the Registrar of Cooperative Societies also to place any employee under suspension, if a particular Joint Registrar failed to do so, the Judge pointed out.

Whereas the Act did not contain any provision authorising the Special Officers to place an employee under suspension, Mr. Justice Jyothimani said and set aside the impugned suspension order.

However, he clarified that his order would not stand in the way of the Joint Registrar to proceed against the petitioner in accordance with law.

The Judge rejected the claim of the Special Officer that he was in administrative control of the bank and hence he could suspend an employee and thereafter refer the matter to the Joint Registrar.

According to the Special Officer, initially a board constituted under Section 2 (7) of the Act was managing the affairs of cooperative societies.

But, now that he had superseded the board, all powers enjoyed by the latter including the right to suspend would be automatically conferred on him, he claimed.