T.S.THAKUR, J. -
(1.) IN this petition for a writ of certiorari, the petitioner has assailed an order dated 5th November, 1998 passed by the Commandant No 71, Bn. CRPF, dismissing the petitioner from service on proof of two charges of misconduct framed against him. An Appellate Order passed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Delhi Range, CRPF, R. K. Puram, New Delhi and a revisional order passed by the Director General, HQ, CRPF, New Delhi upholding the dismissal have also been assailed.
(2.) THE petitioner was enrolled in the CRPF as a Constable on 1st January, 1975. Having served in the Force for more than 23 years, he was, on 30th November, 1998, given a charge -sheet under Rule 27 of the CRPF Rules read with Section 11(1) of the CRPF Act, containing two articles of charges against him. The first charge contained in the charge -sheet alleged the commission of misconduct by the petitioner in that he was, while on duty in Coy quarterguard, found absent without the prior permission of the competent authority. The second charge alleged that while he was detailed as Guard Commander of the Coy Quarterguard, he consumed liquor and was found intoxicated. The articles of charges, may be extracted verbatim: ARTICLE I That the said No. 750530231 HC Rajender Singh (Under Suspension) while functioning as an HC in F/71, Bn. CRPF Salakati, Kokrakhar (Assam) committed an offence of Misconduct in his capacity as member of the force Under Section 11(1) of CRPF Act, 1949 in that while he was detailed to perform duties in Coy Quarter Guard on 17/1/98 from 1700 hrs to 18/1/98 at 1700 hrs was found absent from the duty place i.e. Coy Q/Guard at about 1935 hrs on 17/1/98 without any knowledge/prior permission of competent Authority. ARTICLE II In that while functioning in the aforesaid office and during the aforesaid period the said No. 750530231 HC Rajender Singh committed an offence of disobedience of Order in his capacity as a member of the Force Under Section 11(1) of CRPF Act, 1949 in that while he was detailed as Guard Commander on the detailed to perform Coy Quarter Guard duty, he consumed alcohol and was found under intoxication when this firing incident took place in the F/71 Coy
A departmental inquiry into the above was conducted by the Inquiry Officer, who held both the charges proved. Those findings were accepted by the Disciplinary Authority, who was of the view that the petitioner was not a suitable person to be retained in a disciplined Force like CRPF as his retention would affect the overall discipline of the Unit. The Disciplinary Authority, accordingly, directed dismissal of the petitioner from service with immediate effect. Aggrieved, the petitioner preferred an appeal before the Deputy Inspector General of Police, who dismissed the same by order dated 3rd March, 1999, holding that the inquiry conducted against the petitioner was in accordance with the Rules and the instructions on the subject and that he had been given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself in the same. He further held that keeping in view the nature of the misconduct, dismissal of the petitioner from service was perfectly justified. A Revision Petition filed by the petitioner before the Deputy Inspector General of Police also proved abortive and was dismissed by an order dated 10th August, 1999. The present Writ Petition assails the said orders as already noticed earlier.
(3.) APPEARING for the petitioner, Mr. Manoj Sharma argued that while the first charge against the petitioner constituted a more heinous offence within the meaning of Section 9(g) of the CRPF Act, 1949, the second charge was a less heinous offence in terms of Section 10(a) of the said Act. He submitted that inasmuch as the punishment of dismissal imposed upon the petitioner denied him the benefit of pension, even when he had rendered an unblemished service for over 23 years, the same was disproportionate to the gravity of the offences alleged against him. He contended that the charge of being intoxicated on duty was not even otherwise proved by any reliable evidence. In support, he placed reliance upon the observations made by the Appellate Authority to the effect that the MI room of the petitioner's unit did not have proper facilities to determine the extent of intoxication in which the petitioner was allegedly found. He submitted that the petitioner had already sought voluntary retirement from service, which request had been granted by the Competent Authority on 11th January, 1998, the date of the alleged incident. Denial of pensionary benefits in such circumstances, when the petitioner's request for going home on discharge stood accepted was, according to the learned Counsel, wholly unjustified, harsh and disproportionate to the gravity of the offences alleged against him. Reliance was placed by learned Counsel upon the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Punjab v. Mohinder Singh 2005 (12) SCC 182 in support of the submission that the order of dismissal could be set aside and the respondents directed to substitute the punishment imposed by them by an order of compulsory retirement. That was also, according to the learned Counsel, a case where the delinquent employee was dismissed from service on account of charges of absence from duty, but the punishment awarded to him was converted to compulsory retirement, keeping in view the fact that the he had already served for nearly 23 years in the Punjab Police.;