Tamil Nadu

Subsistence allowance without work is unacceptable, says Tamil Nadu government

The Tamil Nadu government has made it clear that the payment of subsistence allowance to suspended employees for a long period without extracting any work is ‘completely’ unacceptable. It instructed the authorities concerned to exercise the power of suspension with restraint, and urged inquiry officers to complete disciplinary proceedings against the charged employees within the stipulated time frame.

In an order issued on August 4, the Human Resources Management Department said prolonged suspension meant the government would pay an employee without extracting any work. Hence, suspension should not be resorted to unless the authority concerned had considered all relevant factors and recorded a reasoned conclusion that the suspension was necessary in public interest.

Reiterating the prescribed time limit for conducting the disciplinary proceedings against a charged officer or employee, the government said the authorities who dealt with disciplinary matters should strictly follow the prescribed guidelines without any deviation, failing which “severe” action would be pursued against the officers responsible for the lapses.

In the rules framed in 1987 and 1996, the State government had fixed time limits for conducting enquiries by the investigating authorities to finalise the disciplinary cases against suspended staff members from each and every stage. Instructions were also given to review the cases periodically at the appropriate level to examine whether the suspension could be revoked for reinstatement pending disciplinary action or it could be continued.

After a few court judgments, the State reviewed the status and found that despite repeated instructions on completing the enquiry within the time frame, there was slackness in adhering to the instructions and an enormous delay in processing and finalising the disciplinary proceedings in several cases.

Such undue delay may cause unnecessary litigation and give advantage or cause harassment to the charged officer. Unjustified delay may result in quashing of the case by court and consequently the disciplinary authority may not be in a position to impose any penalty on the erring officials, notwithstanding the fact that the charges stood proved.

Modifying earlier instructions on disciplinary cases, the government said that whenever an employee is suspended pending enquiry, the disciplinary proceedings should be initiated immediately and finalised within six months. In cases wherein an employee is suspended and the matter is referred to the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption for enquiry, the latter should complete the enquiry and send a report to the government through the vigilance commission within one year.

This time limit, however, would not be applicable to cases of government servants against whom criminal proceedings were initiated. In cases wherein the charge involved complicated questions of law and fact and the disciplinary authority is not in a position to finalise the departmental proceedings and if the criminal case is based on the vigilance report and is pending before a court of law for which no reasons are cited, the competent authority may take a decision by taking up a review of suspension and post the government servant in a non-sensitive place.

Such decisions should be taken in consultation with the investigating authority on a case-to-case basis in view of the reason that prolonged suspension and paying subsistence allowance for a long period without any work extracted is not at all acceptable, the order said.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 12:06:12 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/subsistence-allowance-without-work-is-unacceptable-says-tamil-nadu-government/article65751146.ece