Period Of Suspension In Covid 19 Lockdown - Enquiry Was In Process But Due To Lockdown It Has Now Been Postponed

Hello, One of the employees in a company has been suspended in January end itself. The Employee is being paid Subsistence allowance till the completion of Disciplinary Enquiry. He will be paid 50 % of the wages till the period of 90 days as per Standing Orders. The enquiry was in process but due to lockdown it has now been postponed, otherwise could have been completed before 90 days. In the meantime, the 90 day period is getting exhausted in the lockdown. Will the company now be liable to pay him wages at an increased rate (say 75 % ) or will the lockdown period not be counted as part of his 90 day period for calculating subsistence allowance to be given under suspension. Any Thoughts?

The suddenly imposed lock down and its consequent impact on the further continuance of the enquiry proceedings do not in any way alter the employee’s status of suspension nor they are attributable to the employee. Therefore, on crossing the initial limit of 90 days of suspension pending enquiry, the subsistence allowance should be paid at enhanced rate only.

Notwithstanding the present legal position , a contention is being raised here for judicial review later to decide the propriety of paying subsistence allowance at enhanced rate . The moot point is that the enquiry is being forced to be postponed beyond 90 days and the delay in completing enquiry is not attributable to workman during the lockdown period, it is also equally not attributable to the EO/ Management. I am raising a question of principle for judicial consideration in this unprecedented circumstances.