The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has observed that a person, who has been convicted of a criminal charge is not fit to serve as a police official or officer.

The Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar noted thus "…the service of police department is not like service of any other department. A person, who has been convicted of a criminal charge is definitely not fit to serve as police official/officer not even as an SPO."

The Court was dealing with a plea challenging the order whereby the Petitioner was disengaged from the roll of Special Police Officers (SPOs) of the District Ramban.

Advocate M.P. Sharma represented the Petitioner.

It was the case of the Petitioner that he was engaged as Special Police Officer (SPO) whereafter he continued to discharge his functions honestly in a dedicated and faithful manner.

It was submitted that an FIR came to be registered against the petitioner, whereafter challan was presented again him and the respondents without holding any enquiry and without issuing any show cause notice to the petitioner, terminated his service.

It was contended that the Petitioner has not committed any offence and the case lodged against him is absolutely false.

The Court noted that an SPO engaged under Section 18 of the Police Act is not entitled to right of any hearing or enquiry, keeping in view the nature of his engagement. Therefore the Court held that it was not incumbent upon the respondents to hold an enquiry or give an opportunity of hearing to the Petitioner before terminating his services as SPO.

The Court further added that the contention of the Petitioner that because co-accused after passing of the judgment by the criminal Court, were re-instated in their respective services and as such, he should also be re-instated, cannot be accepted.

"The nature of service of a police official cannot be equated with the nature of any other service. Thus, there has been no discrimination against the petitioner.", the Court observed.

The Court also observed that "…the writ petition suffers from delay and laches. The impugned order was passed by the respondents way back in the year 2013 and the judgment of the criminal Court was delivered in the year 2018. Therefore, the petitioner has approached this Court after more than four years after delivery of the judgment by the Criminal Court."

The Court remarked that the Petitioner's conduct showed that he was acquiesced in the inaction of the respondents and that only after more than four years the petitioner woke up from deep slumber.

"The remedy provided under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is discretionary in nature and the High Court in exercise of its discretionary jurisdiction does not ordinarily come to the rescue of a tardy, indolent, acquiescent and lethargic litigant.", the Court observed.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title-Bashir Ahmed v. Union Territory of J&K and others

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