Employees of Tamil Nadu Khadi and Village Industries Board (TNKVIB) are entitled to subsistence allowance for the period between which their first dismissal order was quashed by a court of law for want of following proper procedures and the second dismissal order by treating the interregnum period as one under suspension, the Madras High Court Bench here has ruled.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R. Karuppiah passed the ruling while dismissing a writ appeal filed by the Chief Executive Officer of TNKVIB challenging an order passed by a single judge on April 4 to grant subsistence allowance to an employee who was facing enquiry after the court quashed his first dismissal order and ordered for a fresh enquiry.
The employee S. T. Ganesan was originally removed from service by the CEO on October 15, 1999. The removal order was also confirmed by the Handloom, Textiles and Khadi Department Secretary on July 10, 2000. But when the employee challenged in the High Court, a single judge set aside the removal order on November 29, 2004. He ordered for conducting the enquiry afresh .
The CEO preferred an appeal against the single judge's order. However, after four years, a Division Bench of the High Court confirmed the single judge's order on April 28, 2008. Thereafter, fresh enquiry proceedings were initiated. The CEO refused to oblige when the employee claimed for subsistence allowance on the ground that the period of enquiry must be treated as suspension period.
Hence, the employee filed a writ petition and obtained favourable orders in April last year for claiming subsistence allowance. Not in agreement with it, the TNKVB had filed the present appeal. Rejecting the appeal in toto, the judges said that the CEO had not raised any substantial issue .
“Ironically, if at all one can see any substantial issue raised in this appeal, it is only in Ground No.5, which states that there was no urgency in the matter as the employee had been removed from service in 1999 and a fresh enquiry had been pending since 2008… We do not understand how the appellant could see it as not an urgent case when this court had set aside the removal order as early as in November 2004,” the judges said.
They pointed out that Regulation 31(d) of the Tamil Nadu Khadi and Village Industries Board Service Regulations, states that once the order of removal/dismissal was set aside and a fresh enquiry was to be taken up, the delinquent officer must be treated as one kept under suspension from the date of original order of removal/dismissal, until further orders of the appointing authority.