The Kerala High court today dismissed a petition by senior IPS officer Tomin J Thachankary challenging the Central Administrative Tribunal’s order confirming his suspension for undertaking a foreign trip without seeking State government’s prior permission.
The court cannot issue any directions to re-admit him into service at this juncture, a division bench comprising Justices Thothathil B Radhakrishnan and P Bhavadasan held while dismissing Mr. Thachankary’s petition.
The court said discipline in the force was a matter of “paramount state importance” and observed that there was “no semblance of eligibility for the officer to seek re-admission to duty unless he was cleared of the smudge against him.”
“The scale of justice has necessarily to tilt in favour of protecting and securing the larger public interest in such a situation, even if it be the petitioner may ultimately come out innocent,” the bench held.
Mr. Thachankary was suspended from service on April 17 this year while he was Kannur range IGP for undertaking the trip to the Gulf without seeking the government’s permission.
He approached the Central Administrative Tribunal challenging the suspension, which was dismissed. The CAT had on August 13 held that the officer’s act of travelling abroad without seeking government’s prior permission was “illegal”.
The State government informed the court that it would not be in national interest to let the officer be re-admitted to duty.
Though Mr. Thachankary denied accusations made against him on his visits abroad and his alleged meetings with some “wanted” men in the Gulf, the bench said it was “too premature” to look into such matters.
The judges referred to a letter by Home Ministry to the State Chief Secretary that it had been informed by an Indian Ambassador in the Gulf that members of the Indian community had said Mr. Thachankary had met several ‘wanted’ men from Kerala and promised them of their safe return to India.
“In the larger public interest, it would be inappropriate to ignore specific stand taken by Ministry of Home and External Affairs in the Central government and the response to that from the State government,” the bench held.
The central government had accused Mr. Thachankary of “misdeeds” which have been referred to the National Investigation Agency.