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Court strikes down P&T axe orders

Justice Pinaki Ghosh of Calcutta High Court on Thursday observed that central government officers had no authority to suspend employees appointed by the state government. The judge, in his order, directed the Posts and Telegraph (P&T) department of the central government to withdraw the suspension orders slapped on postal agents.

The order was passed on the basis of a petition filed by Sukhendu Das and nine others, postal agents of various savings schemes, at Nonachandanpukur sub-post office in Barrackpore, North 24-Parganas. The petitioners alleged that the sub-postmaster had demanded one per cent commission from them. Their refusal to pay led to their suspension. “At least 5,000 depositors are not getting back their maturity amounts,” pointed out their counsel Pratik Dhar.

Appearing for P&T, Tapas Banerjee told the court that the petitioners were suspended because they had gheraoed the sub-post master. Dhar denied the allegation. He also told the court that he was ready to furnish an undertaking on the matter.

Dhar told the court that a senior P&T superintendent had suspended his clients. He pleaded that the directorate of small savings, a unit of the state government, had appointed the agents. “How can a central officer take action against state government employees'” he questioned.

The judge observed that for the benefit of general depositors, the agents should be taken back.

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