Employer can decide whether or not employee deserves salary for intervening period where reinstatement is on basis of benefit of doubt



Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board

Facts of the Case:
Appellant Babulal was working as Assistant Secretary in Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board. He was promoted to the post of Establishment Officer-cum-Secretary with revised higher pay scale through a Memorandum. The same Memorandum also provided that no arrears of pay shall be payable for the period when the appellant has not actually worked. Meanwhile, he was denied promotion and his services were not availed of due to criminal prosecution and departmental proceedings initiated against him. He was ultimately acquitted from these allegations on the basis of benefit of doubt. Though acquitted and reinstated, he was denied salary for the period that he had not worked for.

Being aggrieved he approached the Trial Court Haryana, which after considering the evidences, held non-payment of salary to be proper and dismissed the suit. Appellant filed an appeal in the High Court which too upheld the decision of Trial Court and dismissed the suit. Resultantly, the appellant approached the Supreme Court.

Hon’ble Supreme Court affirming the judgement of High Court dismissed the suit of appellant. It held that the authorities are vested with power to decide whether an employee deserves any salary for intervening period and if he deserves it, then they also have the authority to decide the extent of the same. It also clarified that there is no inflexible rule that where an employee is exonerated from disciplinary or criminal proceedings, he will be automatically entitled to salary for intervening period. Furthe, it explains that where such acquittal is on the basis of benefit of doubt employer has a right to decide whether or not such employee deserves or not any salary for intervening period. Moreover, no order was passed as to costs.


Source: Labour Law Reporter, pg. no. 936, Supreme Court, August 2009.


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