Observing “that conduct of the applicant was grave one, more so, when he is (a) member of a disciplined police force…”, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has dismissed a plea of a Head Constable of Chandigarh Police, seeking quashing of the orders of forfeiture of two years of his service benefits for being drunk on duty and misbehaving with a truck driver.
The orders of forfeiture of two years of approved services for increment purpose, with permanent effect, had been imposed by a disciplinary authority on Head Constable Charanjeet Singh (50) in July 2015.
As per his application, Singh was charge-sheeted under Rule 16.24 of Punjab Police Rules for having misbehaved under the influence of liquor, on duty, upon a complaint of a truck driver. The inquiry officer held the applicant guilty of the charge, during the proceedings based on statements of the witnesses, circumstances and preponderance of evidence. Thus the applicant was issued a show-cause notice on December 1, 2014, as to why the indicated punishment be not imposed upon him.
Singh then submitted a reply to the same that he was not guilty. However, disagreeing with the defence taken by him, the disciplinary authority imposed the penalty of forfeiture of two years of approved service for increment purpose with permanent effect upon him.
Singh then filed an appeal in February 2015, but finding that the act was a grave misconduct, the appeal was dismissed by appellate authority and similarly a revision petition, filed by him, too was dismissed, and thus he moved to the CAT.
Replying to the appeal in CAT, the police said that there is no violation of principles of natural justice. “A proper enquiry was conducted, in which (the) applicant was given full opportunity to defend himself and after considering the relevant material, the appropriate penalty has been imposed upon him”, read the reply.
Meanwhile, Singh’s counsel argued that he had earned a number of good entries to his credit in service record, so a light punishment should have been imposed upon him.
After hearing the arguments, the Chandigarh tribunal bench observed, “…the Disciplinary Authority imposed the indicated penalty, which has been upheld by Appellate and Revisional Authority. It has categorically been found by the authorities that conduct of the applicant was grave one…”
“…It is by now well-settled law that it is for the disciplinary authorities to decide on the punishment and the courts or tribunals should not interfere with the same unless it is found that the same pricks the conscience of a prudent man…”, read the tribunal judgement released on Friday.
Thus, the tribunal observed, “We do not find any case made out to interfere with the orders, on quantum of penalty, and as plea is dismissed.”