The Madras High Court has set aside a November 2000 order of an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Armed Reserve (AR), here stopping increments for two years without cumulative effect to two policemen on a charge that they were responsible for bringing television cameramen and reporters to the AR quarters for recording an interview.

Justice K. Chandru passed the order on two petitions filed by S. Mariajohn and K. Tamilarasan. The charge against them was that without getting the higher officers' permission, television crew from Jaya TV was brought to the quarters on September 10, 2000.

An interview was given stating that there was no proper selection for Sub-Inspector posts. It so happened, the statements of the petitioners' wives had also been recorded. The charge was that the interview brought disrepute to the department. Such conduct was reprehensible.

The Assistant Commissioner, AR, I Platoon, ‘A' Company, City Police, did not file any counter.

Allowing the petitions, Mr. Justice Chandru said the charge levelled against the petitioners was that they were instrumental in giving interview to the television channel; but in the enquiry except relying on the statement of a Head Constable and also a communication sent by the Commissioner and the Director-General of Police, there was no material to prove that the petitioners were responsible for bringing the reporters. The petitioners had categorically denied the charges against them. When there was a denial, it was the incumbent duty of the Assistant Commissioner to prove that the two were instrumental in giving the interview. Assuming that their wives had aired their grievances, the conduct rule did not indicate any penalty for the service personnel.

The Judge said there were stringers for various television channels, who roamed the town fishing for such information. Since no categorical finding was rendered by producing acceptable legal evidence that the petitioners were instrumental in bringing television reporters and made their wives give the interview, he had no hesitation to set aside the impugned order.

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