In the first of its kind order, the Central Administrative Tribunal has ruled that punitive action against an employee for being drunk while on duty can be taken only after proper medical examination and not merely based on “smell or unsteady gait”.
“Delhi government and Delhi Police have failed to explain why they did not carry out blood and urine tests of the applicant when he was cooperating in his medical examination. Merely by smell and unsteady gait, it cannot be conclusively established that alcohol had been consumed by the applicant. ”, a bench of judges George Paracken and Shekhar Agarwal said.
The remarks came while the bench allowed an appeal filed by one constable Om Prakash against his suspension for the misconduct of “consuming alcohol while on duty”. Om Prakash was on picket duty at Mathura Road from 11pm to 5am during which an assistant commissioner of police on inspection found him “drunk”.
The doctor at the Batra hospital where he was taken for medical examination stated that he was smelling of alcohol and had a slightly unsteady gait. Merely on the basis of it , he gave a report that Om Prakash was drunk and no blood or urine test was carried out.
Om Prakash said he had only taken khaini, the smell of which was mistaken for alcohol. He said even the statement of a constable and a head constable who were on duty that he had taken only khaini was ignored in the departmental enquiry. After perusing the evidence, the bench said there was no evidence that the petitioner had consumed liquor and the statement that he had only consumed khaini had to be given credence.
“The government and commissioner of police have also further failed to explain why the defence witnesses were not cross examined by them. These witnesses have stated that no alcohol was consumed by the applicant in their presence and that he had only taken Khaini.