Considering that the period of suspension even in the case of regular government servants is not regularized till the criminal cases against them are finalized as per CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965, the Madras High Court held that seniority among the incumbents to a post in a grade is governed from the date of appointment made to that grade.

The High Court held so after finding that the petitioner had approached the judicial forum after a delay of 6 years by challenging the date of his absorption which was given with effect from Oct 27, 2006.

The High Court also emphasized that the respondents had taken a sympathetic view wherein the applicant, being a temporary casual labourer, had been reinstated and allowed to continue as casual labourer even during the pendency of a criminal case pending against him based on his representation.

A Division Bench of Justice D. Krishnakumar and Justice P. B. Balaji observed that “In the case on hand, the petitioner, being a temporary casual labourer, was conferred with the benefit of absorption with effect from 11.09.2006 in the cadre of Mazdoor, after his acquittal in a criminal case, despite he having suppressed about his involvement in the criminal case and was allowed to continue in service during the pendency of criminal case”.

Advocate M. Gnanasekar appeared for the Petitioner whereas Advocate Syed Mustafa appeared for the Respondent.

The brief facts of the case were that the petitioner joined the Public Health Division as an NMR where he was temporarily granted the status of CLR. There were some family disputes between the petitioner and his wife, in which due to his wife’s complaint he was arrested in a criminal case. However, he came out on bail. But on account of his implication in a criminal case, he was suspended from his services. He received a call letter from the Engineer Assistant to the Chief Engineer, PWD for the post of Mazdoor under Group D but due to his suspension, he was not able to join. The petitioner therefore submitted a letter to the Executive Engineer, PWD to revoke his suspension. The same was granted with the condition that he will be terminated if found guilty in the said criminal case. The petitioner made a request to the respondents to absorb him as Mazdoor along with all other monetary benefits. The Executive Engineer, PWD gave a reply stating that his case would be considered based on the outcome of the judgment of the pending criminal proceedings. Afterwards, the petitioner was acquitted in the criminal case but he was already absorbed as Mazdoor along with his junior. The petitioner had filed a case before the Central Administrative Tribunal, but they dismissed the original application.

After considering the Submission, the Bench pointed out that the petitioner is serving only in a casual labour post with temporary status and he cannot claim regularization as a matter of right.

There is no fundamental right to be absorbed in service, reiterated the Bench while referring to the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Karnataka v. Uma Devi and Others [AIR 2006 SC 1806].

The Bench also found that the Petitioner had suppressed his involvement in the criminal case, but the respondent, being a model employer, did not terminate his services, and he was placed under suspension during the period of his detention and was reinstated, vide proceedings of the Executive Engineer, PWD on condition that his service will be terminated if found guilty in the criminal case pending against him.

Therefore, the High Court dismissed the petition considering that the respondents had already taken a lenient view against the petitioner.

Cause Title: S. Arikrishnan vs. Union of India and Ors.

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