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Withholding of salary without any reason

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

Online advising since Oct. 2014

Service & Labour

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Question: I’ve been on an unpaid service for last 3 months, progressing into 4th, purely on frivolous grounds, at the whims of accounting unit head,  without following due process of law, as laid down in Central Civil Services (Conduct) rules, without any charge-sheet, denying any representation subsistence too. What recourse do I have in this matter?

Asked from: Madhya Pradesh

You have the evidence to prove that you have been discharging duty continuously. There is no departmental or disciplinary proceeding pending against you. In this situation the Government cannot withhold your salary. 

Article 300-A of the Constitution guarantees that no persons shall be deprived of his property saved by authority of law. Salary is a property within the meaning of Article 300A of the Constitution of India. Salary of an employee, therefore, cannot be withheld except for cogent reasons. Therefore, in the absence of any lawful justification, the government cannot stop your salary. 

Till date, no show cause notice has been issued against you. Withholding salary without affording an opportunity of hearing is an arbitrary act and more importantly, it is a breach of the principle of natural justice i.e. audi alteram partem.

It is an undisputed fact that you have been discharging your duty including the period to which your salary has been stopped. There was no correspondence with you before withholding your salary. There were disciplinary proceedings against you under the CCS (CC&A) Rules, 1965. 

Article 23 of the Constitution of India, recognizes the fundamental right of the citizens of this country not be compelled to work without wages [Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corp, AIR 1986 SC 180; State of Gujarat v. Hon’ble High Court of Gujarat, (1998) 7 SCC 392; Kapila Hingorani v. State of Bihar, (2003) 6 SCC 1]. 

In  Suraj Narain v. State of Madhya Pradesh [AIR 1960 MP 303]. The Division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that to ask a man to work and then not to pay him any salary or wages savours of begar which is prohibited in Article 23 of the Constitution; that it was a fundamental right of every citizen of India not to be compelled to work without wages.

You should file a representation to the concerned authority along with the fact that there was no proceeding initiated or pending against you at the time when my salary has been stopped. Therefore, I am entitled to receive my salary because I have been discharging my duty continuously. 

If the concerned authority does not take any action on your representation within a month then you can move an OA before the CAT or High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India (as the case may be).

shivendra pratap singh advocate

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

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