The police force being a disciplined force is vested with duties of protecting the lives and property of the general public and to enforce law and order. A member of the force can not violate the rules by misbehaving with women with bad intention, the Madras High Court has said.
Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar made the observation while dismissing a petition by S. Sankarapandian, a Grade II Police Constable, challenging the State government's order of January 2009 confirming the order of the police authorities compulsorily retiring the policeman from service for misbehaving with a woman, his neighbour, in April 1997.
The petitioner submitted that the evidence of defence witnesses was not considered by the enquiry officer and the disciplinary authority. The evidence of the complainant was given much importance without any corroborative evidence. The punishment was excessive.
The Judge said the woman had clearly stated how the policeman misbehaved. From her statement, it was evident that the petitioner with evil motive misbehaved with her and she had warned him. The victim had a family and had no evil motive to give a statement against the petitioner.
Taking note of the seriousness of the allegation, which was found proved by the enquiry officer partly and the disciplinary authority fully after following the due process in respect of a portion of the charge i.e., behaving with bad intention, they had exercised their discretion to compulsorily retire the policeman, which was confirmed by the appellate authority, the reviewing authority and by the government.
The punishment could not be treated as disproportionate with regard to the gravity of the charge proved against the policeman. On an earlier occasion too he had misbehaved with the same woman as per the counter affidavit.
Maintaining strict discipline in the police force had been emphasised by the Supreme Court. The Madras High Court, while dealing with the scope of judicial review, had held that normally courts should not interfere with administrative decisions unless they were illogical and suffered from procedural impropriety.
Applying the principles laid down in the various decisions and considering the nature of the allegation against the petitioner, the deposition of the victim and the findings given by the disciplinary authority and the punishment imposed, Mr. Justice Paul Vasanthakumar said he was of the view that the punishment imposed was just and proper.
Keywords: Madras High Court