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My friend, who is working in a teaching hospital as Administrator was suspended for alleged misconduct four years ago. Though inquiry officer was appointed, no inquiry is conducted so far and no action has been taken so far. Subsistence allowance was paid for the first ninety days at the rate of 50%. No payment was made thereafter. My friend challenged the same before labour court and the same is pending in filing of counter stage. In this connection, I would like to know what relief, my friend is entitled for.

From India, Guntur
Dear Babu,
Suspension of an employee in the wake of disciplinary proceedings against him is a state of suspended animation of the contract of employment only and not the cessation or termination of the same. On the other hand if the suspension is awarded as a punishment, the entire period of suspension would be treated as break in service resulting in the disentitlement of all service benefits for that period. Therefore, generally, every employee whenever placed under suspension pending disciplinary action has got certain rights and benefits as provided for in the contract of employment. In case of employees falling under the category of "workman " as defined u/s 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act,1947 and/or the establishments in which they are employed are coming under the purview of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders ) Act,1946, they are entitled to subsistence allowance as long as they are under suspension at the rates mentioned in the certified standing orders of the establishment or as provided for in the model standing orders as the case may be. For other class of employees in the same establishments, suspension and its associated aspects would be covered in the Service Regulations or their contract of employment. In the absence of both, the employer can not place such an employee above the cadre of workman under suspension at all. Even if he does in order to prevent the employee from meddling with the contemplated disciplinary proceedings, he has to pay him full salary.
I am a bit doubtful, in view of the nature of responsibilities, whether an Administrator in a Teaching Hospital would be a workman to work out his employment remedies before a forum created under the Industrial Disputes Act,1947 which covers the disputes relating to workmen only. Therefore, in such a situation, the suspended employee has to seek relief, if any as per the terms of his contract of employment through a Civil Court only.

From India, Salem
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