Kochi: Former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, M Sivasankar, approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) challenging the order of the State Government which suspended him from service from July 17, 2020. The suspension is regarding his alleged involvement in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case.
He sought the Tribunal for a directive to the State Government to expedite and finalise the disciplinary proceedings which were already initiated against him before his retirement. M Sivasankar will retire on January 31, 2023. Tribunal sent notice to the Chief Secretary and Public Administration Secretary of Kerala on this. Presently, he is serving as the principal secretary in the Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of Kerala.
He also sought to count the period of illegal suspension of him (from July 17, 2020 to January 4, 2022) as a duty period and also contended that the entire disciplinary proceedings were illegal and liable to be set aside. ‘The State government has failed to consider the petitioner’s statements of defence and to take a call on whether to proceed further with the disciplinary proceedings or not. Petitioner had a right to a speedy conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him. Despite having gone on leave, the state government cancelled the leave and placed him under suspension from July 17, 2020’, he contended.
The state government took these decisions purely on extraneous considerations and for political reasons. The media trial outside was strong enough to compel the government to place an innocent officer under suspension in order to quell the vitiated uproar of the media. The suspension orders referred to a report dated July 16, 2020, submitted by a committee comprising the Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary (Finance). However, the report had never been furnished to him. It was seemingly issued without a due and proper inquiry and it was riddled with factual inaccuracies.
Therefore, the suspension orders were in direct violation of rule 7(b) of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969. The proviso to Rule 3 of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, mandates that disciplinary proceedings ought to be laid before the expiry of 30 days from the date of the suspension order issued in contemplation of disciplinary proceedings.