The Division Bench of Judge RMT. Teeka Raman dismissed a writ petition filed for issuance of Certiorari. A Police Constable filed the writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. It called for the records of the Commissioner of Police issued in his proceedings dated 16.04.2015. He challenged the punishment imposed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police as modified by the Commissioner of Police in the mentioned proceeding.
The petitioner V. Marimuthu is an enlisted Grade II Constable as since 05.01.2006. He was transferred and posted to Coimbatore City Armed Reserve, Madurai City. The department action under review – 3(b) of TNPSS D&A Rules 1955 in P.R.No.48/2012 to 75/2012 of Coimbatore City has been initiated against the 28 police personnel including the petitioner in for some delinquencies. A charge memo was served to the petitioner and he opted for an oral inquiry. The Assistant Commissioner of Police was nominated as the common inquiry officer in all the PRs including the PR against the petitioner. During the oral inquiry, 6 numbers of Prosecution Witnesses (PWs) deposed, and through the 14 numbers of prosecution, exhibits were filed. The petitioner made cross-examination with all PWs.
Further, he did not produce any witness in his case. After completion of the oral inquiry, the petitioner submitted his explanation before the inquiry officer. After analyzing all the records, the inquiry officer held all three counts of the charge as proved in his minute. A copy of the minute was served on him and further representation was called.
The petitioner submitted further representation agreeing with the findings of the inquiry officer, the disciplinary authority i.e., the Deputy Commissioner of Police, and awarded the punishment of postponement of increment for three years with cumulative effect. The petitioner preferred an appeal against the order before the Commissioner of Police. Considering the short service and as it was the first instance, his appeal was considered leniently. The punishment of postponement of increment for three years with cumulative effect was modified into that of postponement of increment for two years without cumulative effect by the Commissioner of Police. Aggrieved against the said order, the petitioner filed this writ petition.
The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that there is no evidence regarding the participation of the petitioner in the alleged rally said to have been taken place on 09.12.2010. He was relieved from the said Armed Reserve on 09.12.2010 and he was not present in the alleged procession. There is a delay of 1 ½ year in the initiation of Departmental proceedings. He further stated that the disciplinary authority has not recorded findings as to whether the charges are proved or not. Besides, the appellate authority has modified the punishment to the effect that postponement of increment for two years. It shall not operate to postpone his future increment (without cumulative effect).
It is further submitted by the petitioner that initiation of the disciplinary proceedings is barred by the limitation. The alleged delinquency is not proved in the manner known to law. The quantum of punishment inflicted is not in consonance/alignment with the charges.
The learned Additional Government Pleader appearing for the respondents submitted that charges against the petitioner have been amply proved by Prosecution Witnesses as pointed out by the Enquiry Officer and as many as charges were proved and the disciplinary authority has initiated the proceedings and hence, the delay has been caused for initiation of the Departmental Proceedings.
It was further submitted that because of the specific findings referred by the disciplinary authority it has been rightly awarded stoppage of increment for three years with cumulative effect. Subsequently, the second respondent/Commissioner of Police/appellate authority has taken a lenient view reduced the punishment of stoppage of increment for two years without cumulative effect.
The petitioner, while he was working as Police Constable is said to have agitated against the Commissioner of Police in the campus of the Commissioner Officer, in connection with the mass transfer order. The relieving order as per serial number, initially 132 members were relieved and the remaining others were allotted other works namely to produce the accused before the Criminal Court and to engage the armed reserve for law and order and escort for a VIP visit. The Commissioner of Police announced that the second part of the transfer list will be released in one or two days.
It came to the Court’s Attention that the petitioner along with other delinquencies participated in the rally for the non-releasing of those transferred were also relived on the very same day.
The Court observed that the standard of proof that is required in departmental enquires, is only to extent of the preponderance of probability and not proof beyond all reasonable doubts.
It stated that:
- Rule 25 of the Tamil Nadu Police Subordinate Police Officers Conduct Rules is also laid down as strikes – No police officer shall engage himself in a strike on incitements there too on in “similar activities”.
- For the purpose of this Rule, the expression “Similar activities” (emphasis supplied) shall be deemed to include the absence from work without permission or neglect of duties on any other act done or omitted to be done with the object of compelling something to be done by superior officers of the Government and shall include any demonstrative fast usually called hunger strikes for a similar purpose.
This Court found that the action of the petitioner and other persons involved falls under “Similar Activities” as mentioned. The Court further found the order passed by the Appellate Authority just and reasonable.
The Writ Petition filed by the petitioner was dismissed by the High Court.
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