High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Phool Kumar v. State of Haryana & Ors - CWP-15152-2006  RD-P&H 7481 (21 September 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH.
C.W.P. No.15152 of 2006
Date of Decision: 21.9.2006
State of Haryana and others
CORAM : HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE M.M.KUMAR
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE M.M.S.BEDI
Present:- Ms.Poonam R.Mehta, Advocate for the petitioner.
The prayer made in this petition is for quashing order dated 17.2.2003 (Annexure P-1) passed by the Superintendent of Police, Sonepat dismissing the petitioner from service. The principal ground of challenge is that the petitioner has been acquitted in the case FIR No.55 dated 8.9.2000 by the Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Sonepat vide order dated 6.2.2006. It is appropriate to mention that when the petitioner was working as Constable he was charged with negligence of duty and a regular departmental enquiry was held against him. On the basis of the departmental enquiry, the Superintendent of Police, Sonepat came to the conclusion that the accused Narinder in case FIR No.59 of 1988 registered under Section 302 IPC P.S.Ganaur escaped from the police custody due to gravest negligence of the police party and was absconding even at that time. It was further found C.W.P. No.15152 of 2006 2
that the negligence of the petitioner could not be condoned and the petitioner was dismissed from service with immediate effect as is evident from the perusal of the order Annexure P-1. The appeal filed by the petitioner was rejected by the appellate authority on 17.4.2003 and a revision petition was also dismissed by the Director General of Police on 22.1.2004. The petitioner challenged the afore-mentioned order in CWP No.10393 of 2005 which has again been dismissed by a Division Bench of this Court on 14.7.2005 by observing as under: "We have perused the impugned order. We are of the view that the misconduct of the petitioner was serious enough warranting dismissal from service.
We, therefore, find no merit in the writ petition.
The petitioner further challenged the order of the Division Bench in SLP ( C) No. 25152 of 2005 which was also dismissed on 16.12.2005. On the ground that the petitioner was prosecuted in a criminal court where he has been acquitted, the prayer made in the instant petition is to reinstate him in service.
After hearing learned counsel at a considerable length, we find that the findings recorded by the enquiry officer with regard to his negligence which resulted into the escape of accused Narinder who was facing trial under Section 302 IPC have been affirmed by the appellate authroity and the revisional authority. A Division Bench of this Court has also expressed opinion on merits holding that the mis-conduct of the petitioner was serious enough warranting his dismissal from service as is evident from the order dated 14.7.2005 to which a reference has already C.W.P. No.15152 of 2006 3
been made in the paras above. Even the S.L.P. has been dismissed. In this view of the matter, we are not inclined to open the issue once again.
Moreover, the standard of proof in the departmental proceedings and the criminal proceedings are entirely different. It has been repeatedly held by the Supreme Court that merely because a delinquent employee has been acquitted of a criminal charge is no ground for his exoneration in a departmental inquiry. In the case of Nelson Motis Vs.
Union of India (1992) 4-SCC 711, their Lorships of the Supreme Court has held as under:
"5. So far the first point is concerned, namely, whether the disciplinary proceedings could have been continued in the face of the acquittal of the appellant in the criminal case, the plea has no substance whatsoever and does not merit a detailed consideration. The nature and scope of a criminal case are very different from those of a departmental disciplinary proceeding and an order of acquittal, therefore, cannot conclude the departmental proceeding. Besides, the Tribunal has pointed out that the acts which led to the initiation of the departmental disciplinary proceeding were not exactly the same which were the subject-matter of the criminal case." Similar view has been taken by the Supreme Court in the cases of Ajit Kumar Nag Vs. General Manager (P.J.) Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.
(2005)-7SCC 764 and T.N.C.S. Corpn.Ltd. And others Vs. K.MeeraBai C.W.P. No.15152 of 2006 4
(2006)2SCC 255. In the case of South Bengal State Transport Corporation vs. Sapan Kumar Misra (2006)-2SCC 584, the Supreme Court summarily rejected the arguments that no departmental proceedings could be initiated or continued after acquittal in a criminal trial. Therefore, we have no doubt in our mind that the proposition canvassed by the learned counsel for the petitioner is not sustainable and is liable to be rejected summarily.
The petitioner has served in the disciplined force where such like mis-conduct is considered extremely serious and gravest. Merely because the petitioner has been acquitted by the Magistrate does not warrant that order of dismissal passed by the competent authority as upheld upto the Hon'ble Supreme Court is liable to be reviewed.
The judgement of Supreme Court in G.M.Tank Vs. State of Gujarat (2006) 5SCC 446, proceed on the assumption that there was no evidence before the enquiry officer and the findings could not be sustained.
It has further been presumed that charges and evidence in the departmental proceedings as well as criminal proceedings were the same without their being any iota of difference. According to learned counsel for the petitioner, the parties are the same and the case of the petitioner is covered by the judgment of the Supreme Court in G.M. Tank's case (supra).
However, we are unable to accept the afore-mentioned submissions made by the learned counsel, because in criminal case the petitioner was prosecuted and charge sheeted under Section 223 IPC and the prosecution has examined PW1 MHC Gaje Singh, PW2 ShriKrishan, PW3 Mohd. Isaf and PW4 Constable Amar Singh. However, there is nothing on the record to show that the same witnesses were produced in the departmental enquiry.
The charge against the petitioner in the departmental enquiry was that he C.W.P. No.15152 of 2006 5
along with others was deputed to guard one prisoner Narinder s/o Garish Chand in case FIR No. 59/98 Under Section 302 IPC, registered at PS Ganaur at General Hospital, Sonepat, on 9.9.2000. The prisoner escaped from their custody and he along with others was placed under suspension.
The charge in the criminal proceeding is different, therefore, we cannot conclude that on the same evidence and the same charges, when the accused has been acquitted by the criminal court, he could not be found guilty in the departmental proceedings. Moreover, there are findings against the petitioner by this court showing that he has committed a serious misconduct warranting his dismissal from service. Therefore, the question is no more open for consideration before us.
In view of the above, this petition fails and the same is dismissed.
Sept 22,2006. (M.M.S.BEDI)
okg/ Reema. JUDGE
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