Committed Gross Misconduct Right At Threshold Of Entering Disciplined Force: SC Upholds Constable’s Removal From Service
The Supreme Court while dismissing a Special Leave Petition upheld the order of the division bench of Rajasthan High Court in which it allowed the appeal of the authorities removing a constable from service.
The Court said that the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) authorities had removed the petitioner from the service after following a due process of law.
A Bench comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Bela M. Trivedi held, “... we are of the opinion that the Division Bench of the High Court had rightly set aside the order passed by the Single Bench, which had wrongly interfered with the order of removal passed by the respondent authorities against the petitioner. The petitioner having been found to have committed gross misconduct right at the threshold of entering into disciplined force like CISF, and the respondent authorities having passed the order of his removal from service after following due process of law and without actuated by malafides, the court is not inclined to exercise its limited jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution.”
The Bench noted that when an inquiry is conducted on the charges of misconduct by a public servant, the Court or Tribunal would be concerned only to the extent of determining whether the inquiry was held by a competent officer or whether the rules of natural justice and statutory rules were complied with.
Advocate Asifa Rashid Mir appeared for the petitioner while Senior Advocate R. Bala Subramanian appeared for the respondents.
Brief Facts –
The petitioner appointed as a Constable received a notice/Memorandum of charge under Rule 36 of CISF Rules 2001 from the office of Commandant Discipline, CISF in which it was alleged that the petitioner at the time of submitting verification of his character certificate had suppressed the fact that he was involved in a criminal case for the offence under Sections 323, 324 and 341 of IPC in respect of which an FIR was registered against him.
During the course of disciplinary proceedings, the petitioner accepted his mistake. The Commandant Discipline, CISF, keeping in view the young age and future prospects of the petitioner, imposed punishment of reduction of pay. However, a departmental enquiry culminated in the removal of the petitioner from service. The Single Bench of the High Court set aside the order of his removal but thereafter, the Division Bench allowed the appeal of the CISF authorities.
The Apex Court after hearing the contentions of both parties observed, “Having regard to the guiding principles, laid down in case of Avtar Singh (supra) and in case of Satish Chandra Yadav (supra), this Court has no hesitation in holding that the Single Bench of the High Court had committed an error in interfering with the order passed by the respondents-authorities.”
The Court further said that the respondents after taking into consideration the decision in the case of Avtar Singh v. Union of India & Ors. (2016) 8 SCC 471 terminated the services of the petitioner holding inter-alia that a criminal case was pending against him at the time of his enrolment in the force, but he did not reveal the same and that there was deliberate suppression of facts which was an aggravating circumstance.
“Such a well-reasoned and well considered decision of the respondent-authorities should not have been interfered by the Single Bench in exercise of its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution, more particularly when there were no allegations of malafides or of non-observance of rules of natural justice or of breach of statutory rules were attributed against the respondent authorities”, the Court asserted.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed the SLP and upheld the order of the Division Bench of the High Court.
Cause Title- Ex-Const/Dvr Mukesh Kumar Raigar v. Union of India & Ors.