The Allahabad High Court has overturned the decision of a single-judge Bench in which dismissal of a police constable who was convicted of murder, criminal conspiracy and rioting, was set aside in 2013.
Constable Prem Milan Tiwari was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on June 18, 2010, in a case of fighting that broke out in his village under Garhwa police station in Ballia district on October 19, 1989.
Following the conviction, Tiwari was dismissed by the state government, through Superintendent of Police of Mau, where he was posted, on September 8, 2010.
Tiwari has appealed in the High Court over his conviction and has been granted bail. He challenged his dismissal on the ground that ‘his conduct leading to the conviction’ has not been taken into account by his superior officials, while passing the dismissal order under Rule 8 (2) (a) of the Uttar Pradesh Police Officers of Subordinate Ranks (Punishment and Appeal) 1991.
On October 3, 2013, a single judge bench allowed Constable Tiwari’s petition, in which he had sought re-instatement with consequential benefits. Within two months of the order, he was re-instated and is currently posted in Mau district. The state government then moved an appeal against the said order.
Deciding the appeal in its order, passed on March 25, a division bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P K S Baghel, said: “The learned single judge, with respect, was in error in holding that there was no application of mind to the conduct which has led to the conviction. The conduct of the respondent which has led to the conviction of a charge under Section 302 cannot, by any circumstance, be regarded as warranting any treatment other than the punishment of dismissal.”
The court also said as held by the Supreme Court, until the conviction was set aside by an appellate or higher court, it would not be advisable to retain such a person in service.
Vijay Gautam, counsel for Tiwari, said: “We have decided to approach the Supreme Court against the order.”
If the appeal against conviction succeeded, then the matter could always be reviewed in such a manner that the constable would not suffer any prejudice, the court said.
The single-judge bench had said that, simply because a police official has been convicted, dismissal from service could not be considered automatic. The dismissal order was completely silent on the conduct of the constable leading to his conviction, the single bench had said. It had also provided an opportunity to the state government to pass a fresh order, as per law.