Upholding the dismissal of a Delhi Police constable for demanding a bribe of Rs 50 from the driver of a Maruti van in 2006, the Delhi High Court has said the punishment of dismissal is “not certainly shockingly disproportionate” to the guilt of the charged official.
“The charge of demanding bribe/illegal gratification itself is a very serious charge. He demanded bribe from the owner of the vehicle and the same fact has been established in the departmental enquiry. It is a matter of chance that he fled from the spot after he noticed the SHO – who had also reached the spot,” said the division of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, while dismissing the petition against a Central Administrative Tribunal order upholding the dismissal.
On April 30 in 2006, constable Ram Kishan of Parliament Street police station had stopped a Maruti Van, which was loaded with four small goats, and demanded Rs 50 from the driver. While the driver was ready to pay the amount as the constable was allegedly threatening him “with one pretext or other” but on seeing SHO Tilak Nagar, Kishan fled from the spot on a government motorcycle. After a departmental enquiry initiated on the driver’s complaint found him guilty, the constable was dismissed from service in June 2007.
The dismissal was challenged before the CAT in 2008. In the order passed in January 2011, the CAT said Kishan has miserably failed to establish his case. In the petition before the HC, it was argued there is no evidence in the case and the driver at no point has made a statement against the constable in the departmental enquiry. The statement of the driver was recorded during the preliminary enquiry, as per the plea before the court.
The division bench said the driver in his statement had categorically stated that a demand of Rs 50 was made by the constable. “Not only this, the other corroborative evidence of other independent witnesses also establishes the demand made by the petitioner, and, therefore, the present case is not a case of no evidence,” said the court.
It also said the department has followed the prescribed procedure and principles of natural justice and fair play have not been violated. “The misconduct of demand regarding the illegal gratification is a very serious misconduct, and the same was proved based upon the statement made by the witnesses before the enquiry officer,” reads the order.
The counsel representing the constable had argued that the punishment of dismissal is shockingly disproportionate to the misconduct. However, the court disagreed with the submission and said it finds no reason to interfere with the CAT order.