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After an acquittal, an employee is entitled to full pay and allowances from his employer and the grounds of acquittal have no bearing on the matter, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ruled.
Aggrieved by the decision of telecom department to withhold his full pay and allowances on the plea that his acquittal was “on the benefit of doubt”, Mohinder Singh (61), a resident of Abohar, had moved the CAT seeking directions to treat his period of suspension of four years as “period spent on duty” thus entitling him to full pay and allowances.
Singh, before superannuation from BSNL on January 31, 2010 was employed in telephone exchange, Abohar, and had been suspended from December 12, 2002 to March 2, 2006 owing to pending graft case against him for allegedly demanding bribe for installing a telephone connection. He was acquitted in November 2005 as the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against him.
Following acquittal, his suspension was revoked and Singh joined duty.
In this case, the CAT has ordered the telecom department to grant full pay and allowance to Singh with 9% interest.
However, following the order of disciplinary authority of the department on December 8, 2011, Mohinder’s period of suspension was treated as period “not spent on duty” because his acquittal was based on “benefit of doubt” and “not on merits”.
The appellant authority dismissed Singh’s appeal following which he moved the tribunal.
Singh had sought quashing of the order and treating suspension as a period spent on duty and that he be granted full pay and allowances terming the order of the department as “misplaced”.
He had challenged the order of general manager telecom Punjab circle Ferozepure, chief general manager telecom and BSNL depriving him of full pay and allowances.
Agreeing with the contentions of Mohinder’s counsel Vikas Chatrath, the tribunal accepted, “An acquittal whether on benefit of doubt or otherwise should lead to the same consequences. Therefore, the applicant is entitled to full pay and allowances for period of suspension ordered only because of the criminal case.”