Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Supreme Court rejects challenge to dismissal of CRPF personnel for suppressing criminal cases

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The Supreme Court has rejected a petition that challenged the dismissal of a CRPF personnel on the grounds of suppressing criminal cases.

Calling it as ‘gross’ misconduct, the Bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Bela M. Trivedi held that the power of judicial review exercised by a Court or a Tribunal against the orders of a departmental enquiry committee was only limited to ensuring that the individual received fair treatment and not to ensure that the conclusion, which the authority reached, was necessarily correct in the eye of the Court.

The top court of the country held that when an inquiry was 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.

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, noted the Apex Court. 

It noted that the petitioner was found to have committed gross misconduct right at the threshold of entering into disciplined force like CISF and the respondent authorities had passed the order of his removal from service after following due process of law and without actuated by mala fides.

Therefore, this court was not inclined to exercise its limited jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution, it added.

The petitioner contended that he was appointed to the post of constable in the CISF on November 3, 2007.

In April, 2009, he was served a notice from the office of Commandant Discipline, CISF for having suppressed the fact that in his character certificate at the time of his joining on the grounds that he was involved in a criminal case for the offence under Sections 323, 324 and 341 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) in respect of which trial was pending before the concerned court.

The plea mentioned the notice, which said that such an act of suppression was under the category of gross misconduct and indiscipline and therefore, the petitioner was not eligible to be appointed in a very disciplined police force. The Commandant Discipline of CISF imposed punishment of reduction of pay.

It said that on October 6, 2009, the DIG (West Zone) took suo motu cognisance of the matter and remitted it back for fresh departmental enquiry against the petitioner. 

The said departmental enquiry culminated into the removal of the petitioner from service. The Appellate Authority and the Revisional Authority both upheld the order of dismissal from service, it added.

The petitioner contended that being aggrieved by the said orders passed by the various authorities of CISF, he filed a writ petition before the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jaipur in 2012.

(Case title: Ex-Const/Dvr Mukesh Kumar Raigar vs Union of India & Ors)

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