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Constable Committed Gross Misconduct Right Before Entering Disciplined Force.

Brief facts of this case:
The plaintiff, appointed as a Constable, was sent a notice/Memorandum of charge under Rule 36 of the CISF Rules 2001 from the office of the Commandant Discipline, CISF, alleging that the petitioner had silenced the fact that he was associated with a criminal case for the offence under Sections 323, 324, and 341 of the IPC, for which a FIR was registered against him when submitting verification of his character certificate.

During the disciplinary proceedings, the plaintiff admitted his error. Considering the plaintiff’s young age and future prospects, the Commandant Discipline, CISF, imposed a consequence of pay reduction. However, a departmental investigation resulted in the petitioner’s dismissal. The High Court’s Single Bench overturned the removal order, but the Division Bench allowed the CISF authorities’ appeal. After hearing both parties’ arguments, the Supreme Court stated, “With regard to the guiding principles laid down in the cases of Avtar Singh and Satish Chandra Yadav, this Court has no qualms in holding that the Single Bench of the High Court committed an error in meddling with the decree made by the respondents-authorities.”

The Court also stated that the respondents terminated the petitioner’s services after considering the decision in the case of Avtar Singh v. Union of India & Ors. (2016) 8 SCC 471, holding inter alia that a criminal case was ongoing against him at the time of his enlistment in the force, but he did not disclose the same and that there was intentional 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 with by the Single Bench in exercising its authority under Article 226 of the Constitution, especially when no allegations of malfeasance, non-observance of natural justice rules, or breach of statutory rules were attributed against the defendant authorities,” the
Court stated.

 

Contentions of the Appellants :
The appellant was involved in a criminal proceeding when he was just 19 years old, according to Ms. Asifa Rashid Mir, the petitioner’s attorney, who stated before the court, “and the abovementioned case had concluded in a compromise between the parties.” She claims that the Trial Court terminated the matter on November 21, 2007, based on the aforementioned compromise, and that on November 3, 2007, the petitioner was appointed as a policeman in the CISF.
She further argued that “given the nature of the alleged crime in which the petitioner was involved, the removal from service on the basis of failure to disclose the pending status of the aforementioned case could not be said to be a grievous misconduct justifying the harsh punishment of removal from service.”

Finding and Observations of the Court :
The Judge dismissed the SLP and supported the order of the High Court’s Division Bench. The Division Bench of the High Court correctly set aside the order passed by the Single Bench, which had improperly interfered with the respondent authorities’ order of removal against the petitioner. The plaintiff having been found to have committed gross misconduct right at the threshold of joining a disciplined force such as the CISF, and the respondent authorities having issued an order of removal from service after following due process of law and without being motivated by malafide, the court is unwilling to exercise its limited jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution. When an inquiry is held on charges of misconduct by a public servant, the Court or Tribunal is only concerned with determining whether the inquiry was conducted by a competent officer or whether the rules of natural justice and statutory rules were followed.

 

Opinion:
Given the foregoing legal position, I believe that the Division Bench of the High Court correctly set aside the order passed by the Single Bench, which had been incorrectly interfered with the respondent authorities’ order of removal against the petitioner. The petitioner having been found to have committed gross misconduct right at the threshold of joining a disciplined force such as the CISF, and the respondent authorities having issued an order of removal from service after following due process of law and without being motivated by malafide , the court is unwilling to exercise its limited jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution.

Judgment Name: EX-CONST/DVR MUKESH KUMAR RAIGAR V/S UNION OF INDIA & ORS.
Judgment Date: January 16, 2023

Bench: Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Bela M. Trivedi
Name of the Writer : Divyanjali B Rathore
College: Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law , Punjab

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