UOI v. Rajiv kumar by amanpreet kaur at lexcliq

Facts – The respondent was arrested for accepting bribe and detained in custody for a period exceeding 48 hours with reference to rule 10(3). The order was passed in view of detention in custody for a period exceeding 48hrs, the concerned employee is deemed to have been suspended with effect from date of suspension & shall remain suspended until further notice.

He was released on bail & the above order under Rule 10(2) was challenging before Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) at its Delhi bench on the ground that there was no reason for continued suspension. But the authorities passed an order for continued suspension. CAT also directed the authorities to dispose the notice by a reasoned and speaking order. An application for review was filed by respondent but it was rejected.

The above 2 orders regarding remission of the matter and rejection of review were challenged in front of Delhi HC.

Legal issues –

  1. Whether the scope and ambit of rule 10(2) of Central Civil Services Rule w.r.t the other provisions of same rule?
  2. Whether the rule 10(5) apply to rule 10(2) i.e. period beyond detention?
  3. Whether the respondent is regarded to be under suspension or not?
  4. Whether under rule 10(2), the detention comes to an end by the operation of law?

Arguements of Appellant

  • If the interpretation put by HC is accepted then the same would mean addition to words of rule 10(2).
  • The language used in the said provision is clear and unambiguous and therefore there is no scope for making any alteration in the statutory tenure.
  • Learned counsel also submitted that it will also render Rule 10(5)(a) purposeless and meaningless.

Arguements of respondent –

  • The respondent submitted that the interpretation brings out the true essence of a provision which cannot be extended beyond the person for which it was been enacted.
  • From a combine reading of Rule 10 refers that the order of suspension in a case covered under rule 10(2)(a)has limited operation for a period of detention and not beyond it.
  • Further it was submitted that an employee cannot be placed under suspension for an indefinite period of time.

Decision of HC –

  • The HC held that CAT was not correct in limiting the matter that to the appointing authority as it the question of law has been raised before it. CAT was required to apply its mind and pass appropriate order, the HC quashed the order of suspension and also held that the rejection of review order will not be treated as an order under rule 10(2).
  • The combined reading of rule 10(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(a) make the position clear that the order of suspension was effective for the period of detention and not beyond it whereby legal fictions. A person is deemed to be under suspension for being in custody for period exceeding 48 hrs.
  • The HC also held that rule 10(2) does not contain any provision deemed suspension for custodial detention is exceeding 48hrs would not continue until its is withdrawn. On a plain reading of said provision it clear that the same comes to an end by operation of law after release of employee from detention.

Decision of SC –

  • Sc held that rule 10(2) is been the provision and create a legal fiction and according to the bare reading, an actual order is not required to be passed as it is deemed to have been passed by operation of legal fiction whereas rule 10(3)&(4) operate differently on account of interpretation of code and which specifically mentioned the phrase, ”until further orders”. Which is not count in rule 10(2). Therefore, rule 10(2) is applicable for the period of detention alone.
  • The SC also held that rule 10(5)(a) speaks of an order of suspension made or deemed to have been made Rule 10(2). According to rule 10 (5)(c) the suspension made or deemed to be made can be revoked or modified by the competent authority made under rule 10(2) & 10(5)(a). Thus the order of suspension does not allow its efficiency and is not automatically terminated the moment the detention comes to an end. It could be modified and revoked by another order under rule 10(5)(c) and until the order is made, the same continues by the operation of rule 10(5)(a). the employee has no right to be reinstated to service. It is well settled that court cannot read anything into a statutory provision or reherits the provision which is plain and unambiguous.
  • The SC also held that the order in terms of rule 10(2) is not restricted in its point of duration only and continue to be operative unless modified or revoked under rule 10(5)(c) as provided under rule 10(5)(a) the plea regarding the suspension for a very long period is invalid. The SC quashed the order of HC and suspension period of the respondent continues.

—————-Appeal allowed————

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