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Dismissal and Imprisonment for one year of Jawan in case of Smuggled Gold – Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court in a recent case upheld the order of the special court of inquiry formed by the Sashastra Seema Bal (“SSB”) against the Appellant for dismissal of service and one year of imprisonment. This order was passed against the appellant as the charge against him for not reporting the seizure of 3 gold pieces that weighed half kilogram from smugglers was proved. This judgment was passed by the Delhi High Court in the case of Sunil Kumar Yadav v. Union of India & Ors., W.P.(C) 6226/2020.

The facts of the case are that Sunil K Yadav joined the force of SSB as a constable in the year 2011. In the year 2014 he was posted at Narkatiaganj Area, Bihar. On 25.11.2014 he got an input from his source regarding gold smuggling that was going to be carried out in the Saptakranti Express train from Muzaffarpur in Bihar to Delhi. On receiving the input, he informed his superiors and on their orders the appellant conducted the entire operation against the smugglers. After due efforts, the smuggler was taken into custody and the 3 gold pieces weighing half kilogram was recovered from him. The apprehension was duly notified to the superior officers and by this time the Saptakranti Express had already reached Bagaha Railway Station 50 Kilometers away from Narkatiaganj. After reaching the station the Appellant and another constable deboarded the train. After the Sub-Area Organizers (SAOs) came to the Bagaha railway station, all of them proceeded towards Narkatiaganj. However, on the way, the smuggler escaped from the custody of the SAOs. Yadav said he was asked to deposit the recovered gold with the nearest SSB unit at Tuthibari while the SAOs “hurriedly” left the area. Yadav alleged that he was arrested by local Police while on his way to Narkatiaganj. The Central government on the contrary submitted that Yadav was apprehended while he was proceeding with his brother to his home instead of depositing the recovered gold with the SSB unit or the police or the Customs, whose offices were all located in the vicinity.

Sunil K Yadav while appealing to the High Court pleaded that the Doctrine of Equality and Proportionality must be implemented in this case as the other two officers that were along with him had faced no actions and in this case he is being made the scape goat for everything. The Delhi High Court stated that “The petitioner was a member of a disciplined Force and responsible for the security of the country, including economic security. He did not consider it inappropriate to keep smuggled gold in his possession, about the seizure of which no record was also prepared. Absolute honesty and integrity is expected of all government employees and no slip can ever be brooked. Such employees wanting in integrity cannot but be dismissed as their retention in service would send wrong signals and would be counter-productive.” Hence, the petition was dismissed, and the order of the inquiry commission was upheld.

[Please Click here to view the judgment]

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