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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) says the employee should be reinstated as the disability occurred during the course of employment

The Central Administrative Tribunal on Monday came to the rescue of a BSNL junior technical officer (JTO) left partially paralysed by a stroke, directing the principal chief engineer of BSNL, Tamil Nadu zone, to allow him to report for duty in his post. The tribunal said the telecom company would have to accept the decision of the medical board and endorse the leave application of the JTO, M Manoharan.
The judicial member of the tribunal, G Shanthappa, said Manoharan had established that he should be granted relief and quashed a September 23, 2011 order that refused to allow the petitioner to rejoin as JTO . Manoharan suffered a massive stroke on June 1, 2002 that paralysed his arms and legs. He was not able to speak and was under continuous treatment for two years.
The respondents in the case included the Executive Engineer (civil), the Superintending Engineer and sub-pision engineer (civil) of BSNL in Ambattur. “A competent medical authority examined the applicant and stated that the applicant suffered medical disability during the course of employment. The stand taken by the respondents is rejected,” Justice Shanthappa said.
Manoharan told the tribunal that he applied for leave after the stroke and returned to duty on January 12, 2004. However, the chief engineer of Chennai Telephones, KK Nagar, the fourth respondent, directed the petitioner to appear before the medical board and obtain its opinion whether his fitness allowed him to perform his duty as JTO.
As advised by the board, he proceeded on ‘commuted leave’ for 90 days from September 13, 2010 and underwent various treatments including physiotherapy. But his seniors did not permit him to rejoin duty. They informed him that the regional medical board of Government General Hospital had on December 10, 2010 declared that he was medically unfit to perform his duties as JTO.
“The respondents did not accept the medical report of the applicant and did now allow him to rejoin duty,” said the tribunal’s administrative member, R Satapathy. “The stand of the respondents is not correct. It is illegal and violates of principles of natural justice.”
Citing the Supreme Court’s 2008 order in Bhagwan Dass vs Punjab Electricity Board, Justice Shanthappa said Manoharan had submitted documents to show that his medical disability had occurred while in service, and this was confirmed by Government General Hospital, so the respondents could not refuse to reinstate him.

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