Delhi High Court upholds dismissal of Police Head Constable caught taking money from passengers at airport

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The Delhi High Court recently observed that a police personnel is considered to be the custodian of law whose duty is to ensure that law of the land is followed by people and, therefore, if such a person himself breaks the law, he has to be dealt with iron hands [Suresh Kumar v CP & Ors].

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad made the observations while rejecting a former Delhi Police Head Constable’s plea against his dismissal from service.

The petitioner Suresh Kumar was caught taking money from passengers at the Delhi airport.

“…this Court is dealing with Police personnel who is supposed to be the custodian of law and whose duty is to ensure that people are following the law of the land. If such a person himself breaks the law, he has to be dealt with iron hands, and, therefore, in the considered opinion of this Court no other punishment except dismissal could have been inflicted upon him in the facts and circumstances of the case. Therefore, this Court does not find any reason to interfere with the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal CAT,” the Court said.

The allegation against the petitioner was that he was posted at Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. On March 24, 1996, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP)/ IGI Airport conducted a surprise visit and was informed that one ASI Jagmal Singh and Head Constable Suresh Kumar (petitioner), who were checking passports of passengers, were collecting money from them.

A search was carried out by the DCP/IGI Airport when from the pocket of the petitioner, 75 Dirhams were recovered.

Action was initiated against Kumar under the Delhi Police (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1990 and the Delhi Police Act, 1978. He was dismissed from service and the order was upheld both by the Disciplinary Authority and the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

After considering the arguments, the High Court held that by no stretch of imagination could it be said that the present case was a case of no evidence.

It noted that it was an undisputed fact that 75 Dirhams were recovered from the petitioner at the time of the search and that he was certainly not a traveler who came from some foreign country, thereby being in possession of currency.

“It is an open and shut case, wherein, a Head Constable was found with 75 Dirhams. He was posted on a very sensitive duty, to check the passports of passengers. Possession of foreign currency in his pocket at the time of a surprise check read with statements of other witnesses clearly establishes the misconduct committed by him,” the bench said.

Therefore, the Court dismissed the plea holding that there is no reason to interfere with the order passed by the Disciplinary Authority, the Appellate Authority as well as the order passed by the CAT.

Advocate Anil Singal appeared for the petitioner.

Advocates Nitesh Kumar Singh, Laavanya Kaushik, Avnish Ahlawat and Naushad Ahmed Khan appeared for the respondents.

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