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Delhi HC refuses to reinstate dismissed BSF constable in contact with Pakistan Intelligence Operative

The petitioner, who joined BSF as a constable in January 2002, was dismissed from service on the allegation that in November 2020 he had taken his mobile phone on duty and contacted a suspected PIO.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
November 3, 2021 3:59:08 pm
Delhi High Court (File)

The Delhi High Court has refused to interfere with the dismissal of a BSF constable who was allegedly in contact with a suspected Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO) since 2018 and was found to be in possession of four mobile phones and five SIM cards while being deployed on Indo-Pakistan Border.

A bench headed by Justice Manmohan dismissed the petitioner constable’s plea for reinstatement and said that his “explanation” that he used the devices to talk to his family members and that he brought one instrument to repair and purchased another for his son, was completely fanciful and has been rightly rejected by the competent authority.

The bench, also comprising Justice Navin Chawla, said the petitioner’s claim that there was no cogent evidence against him cannot be accepted and there was no infirmity in the authorities’ decision to dispense with the formal disciplinary inquiry before passing the order of dismissal.

“The allegation against the petitioner is of him having regularly contacted a PIO. Clearly, if a show cause notice is to be issued to him and a reply thereto is to be sought, the same is likely to jeopardise the national security as certain vital operational and deployment details may come into focus in such inquiry. The source and material for forming an opinion of the person contacted being a PIO would also need to be disclosed. The opinion/satisfaction of respondent no.3 (concerned commandant), therefore, cannot be said to be unreasonable or perverse warranting any interference by this Court in exercise of its powers of judicial review,” the court stated.

The petitioner, who joined BSF as a constable in January 2002, was dismissed from service on the allegation that in November 2020 he had taken his mobile phone on duty and contacted a suspected PIO.

It was further alleged that during a search of his belonging, he was found in possession of four mobile phones and five SIM cards.

The court was informed that a Staff Court of Inquiry (SCOI) subsequently found that amongst other things, the petitioner was guilty of remaining in contact with the said PIO since 2018 and regularly conversing with him on messenger account, establishing a voice call from his registered mobile number with the PIO and having a conversation of eight minutes forty-six seconds with him on the day of the recovery of phones.

The concerned Commandant found that the petitioner’s conduct was prejudicial to national security and to the force discipline and his further retention in service was undesirable in the national interest.

The petitioner’s representations against his dismissal were also rejected by the Inspector General, Rajasthan Frontier, Border Security Force, Mandore Road, Jodhpur.

The authorities defended the petitioner’s dismissal before the high court on the ground that the allegations against him were grave and holding a departmental inquiry was neither expedient nor practicable in the present case.

The petitioner claimed that he had become a friend of the alleged PIO on social media and had been in regular contact with him.

He stated that the Facebook profile of that person showed that he was an Indian and in fact working in the Indian Armed Forces and that no secret information was ever divulged to him.

The petitioner argued that the entire case against him was based only on suspicion and he was dismissed without holding a regular departmental inquiry, in violation of principles of natural justice.

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