Pat HC | Constable dismissed from service after video of him consuming alcohol went viral on internet; HC sets aside dismissal for lack of evidence

Patna High Court: Chakradhari Sharan Singh, J., set aside the order of dismissal of a constable who was removed from service in relation to a viral video of him consuming alcohol on duty.

The petitioner, a constable had sought directions for quashing of the impugned order passed by the Superintendent of Police whereby the petitioner was dismissed from service.

The petitioner, at the relevant point of time, was posted as constable (driver) in a Police Station. Allegedly, on 15-09-2018 a video clip had become viral in which the petitioner was seen as consuming alcohol. An enquiry was ordered by the Inspector General of Police,  whereafter, the Sub Inspector of Police conducted an enquiry and found the petitioner guilty of consuming alcohol, and registered the FIR for the offences punishable under Section 30(a) & 37(a) of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016.

Opining that the conduct of the petitioner displayed lack of discipline, irresponsible behaviour and thereby, tarnished the image of the Police, the Disciplinary Authority had ordered dismissal of the petitioner.

Noticing that no specific finding was recorded by the Inquiring Authority based on the evidence adduced during the departmental enquiry that the petitioner was found consuming alcohol and that neither breath analyzer test nor any other scientific test was conducted to establish that the petitioner had consumed alcohol, the Bench opined that the finding of the Inquiring Authority was based on no evidence as nothing was produced to show that the liquid in the glass, which the petitioner was seen to be carrying in the video clip, was alcohol and the bottle located near him was containing alcohol.

Accordingly, the Bench opined that the department miserably failed to bring home the charge against the petitioner that he was consuming alcohol or was in possession of alcohol, in the absence of cogent evidence adduced by the department during the departmental enquiry.  Further, noticing that the enquiry report did not depict any participation of the Presenting Officer though a Presenting Officer was appointed, the Bench was of the view that the impugned decision of the Disciplinary Authority was wholly unjust, illegal, arbitrary and unsustainable.

Consequently, the impugned dismissal order was set aside and the respondent was directed to reinstate the petitioner with all consequential benefits including payment of full back wages for the period during which he remained out of service because of the order of dismissal. [Sonu Kumar v. State of Bihar, 2021 SCC OnLine Pat 2225, decided on 22-09-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance:

For the Petitioner/s: Raju Giri, Advocate and Santosh Kumar Mishra, Advocate

For the Respondent/s: Manish Kumar, G.P.-4 and Ajay Kumar, A.C. to G.P.-4

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