Madras High Court has set aside the suspension of a TANGEDCO employee a day before her superannuation after a 16-year-long dispute over her Scheduled Tribe status and pulled up the officials for having slept over the matter and taking action at the fag end.
“Having slept over for more than 16 years, the TANGEDCO cannot be allowed to take advantage of its own wrong doing at the fag end of her service,” a division bench comprising Justice R Sudhakar and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana held.
Disposing of a petition by Special Grade Officer R Amutha, who was suspended by the state-owned power utility on May 13 last, the court directed the TANGEDCO to grant all the retirement benefits to her.
Amutha submitted she belonged to Konda Reddi community which comes under the Scheduled Tribe category and she had given a community certificate in 1981.
In 1986, the Tiruchirappalli District Collector, where she was then posted, sent a report to TANGEDCO that she did not belong to Konda Reddi community.
On a petition by her, the high court had in 1997 set aside the District Collector’s order and directed him to inquire into the matter afresh.
But no action was taken till May 2013 and TANGEDCO did not given any reason for not approaching the district-level vigilance committee to verify the genuineness of the community certificate. The bench further said that when an employer finds that a certificate submitted by its employee was wrong and incorrect, it should initiate action by a competent authority to cancel the same.
As no such exercise was followed in the present case, the certificate submitted by Amutha was valid one till the date of her superannuation, the court held and set-aside the order of suspension.