The Tripura High Court on Friday stated that the participation of government employees in political rallies cannot be treated as political activity or be seen as a violation of service conduct rules.
Hearing a petition by Lipika Paul, an employee of Fisheries department of the Tripura government, an HC bench comprising chief justice A A Kureshi, pointed out that mere presence in political programmes can’t be treated as political activity.
Paul was suspended on April 25, 2018 and put under departmental enquiry for joining a Left political rally on December 31, 2017 at Vivekananda Stadium in Agartala.
Her enquiry order came four days before her retirement, leaving her stranded without benefits, even after her service tenure expired.
Paul’s counsel Purushottam Roy Barman said, “The High Court has ruled that mere presence in political programmes can’t be treated as political activity. It also stated that citizens, including students, journalists, common people or government employees hold the right to form their opinion,” Barman said.
Paul was put under departmental enquiry as per section 5 of Tripura Service Conduct Rules.
Rejecting the government’s stand, the High Court has ordered it to drop departmental enquiry on Paul immediately and pay her dues and other benefits within two months.
Advocate general Arun Kanti Bhowmik said the government is studying the Court order but is yet to decide whether it will be challenged through an appeal or not.