Allahabad High Court stays suspension of Additional CEO of Kaushambi district panchayat

The Allahabad High Court has stayed the suspension order of the Additional CEO of District Panchayat Kaushambi and sought the Uttar Pradesh government’s response on the petition.

Justice Pankaj Bhatia passed this order while hearing the petition filed by Ranmat Singh @ Ranmat Rajput challenging the suspension order dated August 24, 2021, whereby the petitioner has been placed under suspension.

The order said a complaint was made on August 18, 2021 against the petitioner alleging that the petitioner had created documents against the then complainant and got works done by the complainant-contractor referred for testing and despite the complainant getting the defects rectified, the payments were not made to the contractor and a demand of illegal gratification was made.

It is claimed that the complainant was in possession of the CD/recording based upon the said demand and the suspension order is being passed.

Senior Advocate Anoop Trivedi, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, argued that the suspension is wholly baseless and is contrary to the facts on record. He argued that no chargesheet has been served till date in pursuance of the suspension order.

He also argued that the complaint was a road works contractor against whom a complaint was made by villagers for poor road quality. On the said complaint, an order came to be passed by the Chairperson, Zila Panchayat Kaushambi calling upon for inspection and opinion of the ITI Kanpur or MNNIT (Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology) with regard to the quality of the road. 

The petitioner, in pursuance to the said inspection, got a report from the MNNIT report dated July 16, 2020 indicating that there are certain defects in the construction of the road. In pursuance to the said report, an opinion was expressed by the Engineer of Zila Panchayat and an order came to be passed to the effect that the contractor was directed to get the defects rectified failing which steps should be taken for blacking listing of the contractor. The said order was passed on December 28, 2020.

It is argued that the contractor made a complaint with regard to non-payment of the dues before the District Magistrate vide complaint dated June 14, 2021. In pursuance thereof, the District Magistrate constituted a Committee of three persons to look into the aspects of poor constructions and give a report.

It is stated that in pursuance to the said directions of the Chief Development Officer, Kaushambi, an order was passed giving four weeks’ time for getting the defects rectified in the light of the sub-standard development.

Counsel for the petitioner said that the averments, prima facie, are contrary to the records and the non-payment of the dues is attributable to the various reports, which are on record and as discussed above with regard to the poor construction of the road.

He further said that that the allegation with regard to the payment of illegal gratification is, prima facie, unbelievable inasmuch as neither an FIR has been lodged in respect of this allegation nor has the contractor taken recourse to the arbitration proceedings.

“In perusal of the impugned suspension order clearly records that report has been received from the contractor with regard to non-payment of the dues, which has been attributed to the demand of gratification by the petitioner and alleged nonpayment thereof. Prima facie, the same appears to be contrary to the record. It is well settled that the suspension order cannot continue for an indefinite period,” the Court observed.

“Considering the material as discussed above and the perusal of the suspension order which, prima facie, is a vague suspension order, the matter requires consideration. The Standing Counsel shall file a counter affidavit within four weeks. The Petitioner will have two weeks time thereafter for filing a rejoinder affidavit. The operation and effect of the suspension order dated August 24, 2021 shall remain stayed,” the Court ordered.
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