While sending a case of dismissal of a Coast Guard jawan back to the authority concerned with direction to conduct a proper trial, the Gujarat High Court on Friday held that people denied of certain fundamental rights, like defense personnel, are entitled to compliance of natural justice and “citizens as also the aliens are entitled to a trial governed by rule of law in a court of law presided over by experienced judge having a hierarchy therefore.”
These observations of Justice J B Pardiwala came while partly allowing the petition moved by Rajesh S Tyagi challenging his dismissal from the service as Pradhan Sahayak Engineer in Porbandar, Coast Guard. He had told the court that on 21 February 2017, during a table tennis tournament he was ill-treated by his superior officers.
Tyagi was served a chargesheet under The Coast Guard Act, 1978 and Coast Guard (Disciplinary) Rules, 1983. A summary trial was proceeded and commanding officer, Porbandar, recommended three months rigorous imprisonment and dismissal from service.
The Director-General, who happens to be confirming authority, reduced the sentence to one month and upheld the dismissal. The petitioner challenged these orders.
While deciding the case, Justice Pardiwala wrote, “The question arises is as to whether the benefits of the liberal spirits of the Constitution would be totally deprived to a class of citizens, namely, those who are engaged in defending the country against external aggression and those who serve the country in peace as much as in war. A person may not have a Fundamental Right, yet he is entitled to the benefits of the Charter of Human Rights. Despite denial of some of the provisions contained in Part III of the Constitution, he is entitled to compliance of the principles of natural justice.”
The court quashed the order of Tyagi’s imprisonment as well as his dismissal from the service. It ordered the Director General, Indian Coast Guard, to “take a fresh decision with proper application of mind and reasons….” It said that even if protection of human rights are not fully available “the fair procedure doctrine must be read into the provisions of the said Act and the Rules.”