Disciplinary Proceedings I

Sitaram was functioning as Head Constable. A carbine was issued to him. It is alleged that, on 18 February, 1998 at about 0945 hours, while he was cleaning the barrel of his loaded 9 MM carbine in the barracks, he did not remove the magazine and proceeded to clean the carbine carelessly. As a result, eight rounds were fired. One of the bullets hit a Co-Constable who was present in the barracks. He died.

Sitaram was held to be guilty of misconduct by the disciplinary authority, as a result of which the penalty of dismissal from service was imposed under Section 11(1) of The CRPF Act, 1949 read with Rule 27(a) of The CRPF Rules, 1955.  

The punishment of dismissal is not disproportionate to the misconduct proved. A disciplinary enquiry is governed by a different standard of proof than that which applies to a criminal case. The purpose of a disciplinary enquiry is to enable the employer to determine as to whether an employee has committed a breach of the service rules. The fact that Sitaram was acquitted in the course of the criminal trial cannot operate ipso facto as a ground for vitiating the finding of misconduct which has been arrived at during the course of the disciplinary proceedings.”

Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, Union of India v. Sitaram Mishra, [Civil Appeal No. 6183 of 2010].