The word ‘Suspension’ is used differently in different statutes. In criminal jurisprudence, the word ‘suspension’ is generally used in the phrase ‘suspension of sentence’. Every person who is convicted for an offence and sentenced to serve imprisonment requests an appellate body for suspension of his sentence. On the contrary, in service jurisprudence, the word ‘suspension’ is used to debar an employee, for a time, from any privilege, from the execution of an office or form enjoyment of an income, i.e., for his ‘suspension from services’. It is worth noting that while one rejoices when the ‘suspension of sentence’ is allowed, ‘suspension from services’ is practically considered a curse, stigmatic and often painful.
The suspension from service is an inheritance of Imperialism. By inclusion in most of the service rules and regulations, the concept of suspension has been merged under the law. In every case in which an employer considers the serious lapses or irregularities on the part of an employee, generally the instrument of suspension is being used. Though the main purpose of suspension is to safeguard against any kind of tempering of evidence, if suspension is based on documentary evidence there is no question of tempering of evidence.
The suspension of an employee along with the change of his head-quarter is a misconception of rules. An enquiry proposed against an employee can lead to his head-quarter being changed. In such a situation, the suspension of that employee is unwarranted. This is because of the reason that the main purpose of suspension, i.e., to avoid tempering of evidence can be achieved by change of head-quarter. Unfortunately, in the most of the cases, the order of suspension is appended with the condition “during the period of suspension, the head-quarter of employee shall be changed and the incumbent employee shall not leave the head-quarter without the permission of the head of the office”.
The condition mentioned in the previous paragraph of this article regarding “head-quarter leave during suspension” is being imposed without any law or authority. It is a clear-cut violation of the fundamental rights and human rights of an employee. The self-made administrative provision is not only arbitrary and irrational, but against human dignity. The courts of law never impose such inhuman condition that during the period of suspension of sentence or during the enjoyment of bails and bonds, the accused shall not leave head-quarter without the permission of the court. While exercising the administrative powers by the administrative authorities, it is highly unreasonable and arbitrary that during the period of suspension, an employee is made to obtain permission of the head of the office prior to leaving the head-quarter.
The condition that an employee should not leave the head-quarter without the permission of the head of the office during the period of suspension can be tested on following parameters:
- The condition regarding not to leave the head-quarter during suspension is a gross violence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declares that:
- Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
- Article 2.Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
- Article 3.Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
- Article 4.No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
- Article 5.No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- Article 12.No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
- The condition is in derogation of constitutional rights engrafted under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, in which all citizens shall have the right to move freely throughout the territory of India.
- In the case of West Bengal Khadi Board vs. D.P. Bhattacharya, (1980) 3 SLR 136, the Hon’ble Kolkata High Court observed that there is no law that restrains the suspended employee from leaving the head-quarter without the permission of a competent authority or that requires the suspended employee to appear everyday before a designated authority during his period of suspension.
- Recently, In the case of State of Bihar and Others vs. Arvind Kumar, reported in AIR 2013 SC 3329, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that ‘in the case in hand, there is no rule that provides that the suspended employee should remain at the headquarter to be entitled to get subsistence allowance’.
- Lastly, The Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1977, for the employees of the Government of Madhya Pradesh, does not provide any kind of headquarter leave. Likewise, no Industrial statute directs that a suspended employee or worker should not leave his headquarter without the permission of his employer. In such a situation, to compel a suspended employee to attend office and remain in headquarter is nothing but abuse of administrative powers.