0

If the action of the Disciplinary Authority is dependent on the findings of the Criminal Court and if accused is acquitted by the court, such acquittal would have an impact on the departmental inquiry against the accused : Tripura High Court

The Tripura High Court in the case of Md. Rafik Uddin vs The State Of Tripura (WA No. 65 of 2018) upheld that if the action of the Disciplinary Authority dependent on the findings of the Criminal Court and if the accused is acquitted by the court, such acquittal would have an impact on the departmental inquiry against the accused.

Facts of the case: Appellant was a Rifleman in the 7th Bn. of Tripura State Rifles (TSR for short). In the year 2004, when he was posted in the 7th Bn TSR in its Tripura Engineering College Camp at Jirania, a complaint was lodged against him on by Subedar Bhanu Debnath alleging, Rifleman, Rakesh Roy informed him that two magazines of SLR along with 40 rounds of ammunition were stolen from his custody. Despite a search, the ammunition could not be recovered. According to the complainant, on 08.09.2004, appellant Rafik Uddin told Rakesh Roy that he would be able to bring two magazines with 40 rounds of ammunition from Bangladesh, if he was paid a sum of Rs.20,000/-. The Investigating Officer along with his accompanying police staff set up an ambush and the appellant was apprehended. Allegedly, two magazines with 36 rounds of ammunition were recovered from his possession. 

The Trial Court found the appellant guilty of offense punishable under Sections 411 IPC and 25(1)(a) of the Arms Act and he was sentenced for those offenses. The Disciplinary Authority relying on the enquiry report and the conviction and sentence awarded to the appellant in the criminal case dismissed him from service by issuing the final order.

In appeal, the Sessions Judge held that none of the charges was proved against the appellant. Accordingly, the learned Sessions Judge set aside his conviction. 

In view of his acquittal from Court, appellant preferred departmental appeal before the Deputy Inspector General of Police. The Deputy Inspector General of Police rejected the said appeal.

Judgment: The court held that from a perusal of the final order issued by the Disciplinary Authority, it had surfaced that the said Disciplinary Authority relied on two documents viz. the enquiry report and the judgment of the Trial Court convicting and sentencing the appellant and on the basis of those documents, the Disciplinary Authority came to the conclusion that the appellant had committed misconduct. 

In this case, it was clear that the departmental inquiry as well as the criminal case against the appellant were based on the same set of facts and evidence. The witnesses in both the cases were almost common. Most importantly, the Disciplinary Authority did not act independently regardless of the findings of the criminal Court. Apparently it relied on the judgment and order of conviction and sentence of the trial Court for awarding punishment of dismissal from service on the appellant and the said judgment of the trial Court was set aside by the Sessions Judge as well as by the High Court on merit with a specific finding that seizure of ammunitions from the possession of the appellant was not proved. Hence, the final order passed by the Disciplinary Authority imposing penalty of dismissal from service on the appellant was set aside.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

Click here to view the judgment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat