|Early Times Report|
Jammu, July 23: The J&K High Court on Tuesday upheld the suspension of an Executive Officer of Municipal Council Anantnag till completion of departmental inquiry against him.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey while upholding the suspension of Executive Officer Sarfaraz Ahmed Bhat held that Rule 31 of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956 empowers the competent authority to suspend an employee to prevent him/her from functioning on the post held by him/her in case of contemplated enquiry into his/ her conduct or during the pendency of a departmental inquiry or a criminal proceeding.
Justice Magrey observed that perusal of the provision of law reveals that the appointing authority or any authority to which it is subordinate or any other authority empowered by the government, in this behalf, has the power to place a government servant under suspension where an inquiry into his/her conduct is contemplated or is pending and/or if a complaint against a government servant of any criminal offence is under investigation or trial.
"In the case on hand, the respondent department, in pursuance of various complaints of irregularities in financial procedures, building permission and other issues received from different quarters, ordered an enquiry to be conducted into the affairs of the Municipal Council, Anantnag, vide order No. DULB/Estt/84-II/588 of 2019, dated 23rd of April, 2019. Thereafter, the enquiry was conducted and the enquiry committee submitted its report/ findings/recommendations in the matter vide No. DULB/Estt/9596 dated 15th of May 2019. Finally, the government, vide Government Order No.153-HUD of 2019 dated 4th of July, 2019, on the basis of preliminary enquiry report submitted by the enquiry committee and pending further inquiry into the alleged charge of misappropriation, irregularities in financial transaction, gross negligence and misconduct, has placed the petitioner, alongwith others, under suspension," the court observed.
In this backdrop, the respondents appear to have followed the procedure in vogue in the process of placing the petitioner under suspension pending further inquiry into the charges of misappropriation, irregularities in financial transaction, gross negligence and misconduct, the court added.