"This cannot be a reason for holding the petitioner guilty, especially when there is no complaint against the petitioner," Justice R Madhavan of the bench here said, allowing the petition filed by constable C Rajagopal.
Noting that it had not been proved who gave the money tothe man, the judge said the entire disciplinary proceedings were vitiated. The Enquiry Officer's findings were unsustainable and the punishment imposed on the petitioner by the Commandant and DIG were illegal and hence stood quashed, the judge said.
He directed the officials to reinstate Rajagopal with full back wages and other service benefits.
In his petition, Rajagopal said he and his colleague on duty at Tuticorin were asked to go to a room for an anti-corruption check. He pointed out that if he had taken money as alleged, he would have thrown it away before entry.
He said a charge memo was issued to him on Jun 13 2009 alleging he had 'earned' Rs 350 while on duty and that he threw away the money while being searched, which was recovered by the same Inspector in the presence of a constable.
Denying the charges, he said there was no direct proof toshow he had demanded and received the amount and then thrown it away. An enquiry was held after which he was dismissed without any proper reasons being assigned. He then appealed to the DIG, who modified the order to that of compulsory retirement from service with full terminal benefits.
The judge said the petitioner's argument that the case had been foisted on him after an altercation he had with the Inspector when he was in Jammu and Kashmir has some force and appeared to be true.
He said the statements of prime witnesses are false.
Theother constables had not deposed that they saw the HC receive money from anyone during duty hours.
The judge said both the EO and the commandant had lost sight of the fact that witness had stated he did not see the petitioner throwing away the money. They had also not given any reasons as to why the contradictions have been discarded.