Fired in 2010 over submitting a fake caste certificate at the time of selection, 1986-batch Haryana-cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjay Bhatia, 56, had his dismissal upheld on Thursday in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The high court dismissed his appeal against the last-year Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Chandigarh bench judgment that also had upheld his removal from service. The high court orders came from the division bench comprising justices Hemant Gupta and Fateh Deep Singh.
Bhatia, who has remained deputy director of Haryana Police Academy, was dismissed from service on October 5, 2010, for procuring a Scheduled-Caste certificate fraudulently for selection in the police service in 1986. He had submitted before the high court that the union government was not authorised to dismiss him from service under Rule 7 of the All-India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, since he was allocated the Haryana cadre and, so, only the Haryana government could have initiated the disciplinary proceedings against him.
Finding no merit in his arguments, the court said: "Disciplinary authority is competent to impose punishment if any penalty is imposed upon a member of the service which led to his conviction on the criminal charge. The disciplinary authority in the case of the petitioner is the central government."
After joining service in August 1986, Bhatia had a first-information report (FIR) registered against him the following month that he was a Rajput Bhatia by caste and had submitted a Scheduled Caste certificate, though he belonged to the general category.
He had claimed to be from the "Adi-Dharmi" category. In July 2005, criminal proceedings led to his conviction for fraud by a Delhi court that sentenced him to serve 100-day imprisonment and submit `1-lakh fine. The appeal against the conviction is pending in the Delhi high court.
The union ministry of home affairs, however, issued hism a show-cause notice and dismissed him, finally. The petitioner moved the Chandigarh bench of CAT, challenging his dismissal but his plea found no favour. He again appealed unsuccessfully before the high court, challenging CAT's order of October 9, 2013.