To Delhi Police constable Jai Bhagwan, the sight of a Rs 100 note will forever remind him of 15 years of being without a job after having been unfairly removed from service.
Bhagwan was accused of extorting Rs 100 from an air passenger at the IGI airport while he was posted near the hand baggage X-ray check unit on March 7, 1995.
Soon after a departmental enquiry, upheld by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Bhagwan was dismissed from service.
Hearing his appeal and finding no evidence against him, the Delhi High Court on Friday ordered his reinstatement.
The order is significant since a High Court does not normally interfere with the findings recorded in a domestic enquiry. But Justices Madan B. Lokur and Mukta Gupta drew strength from a 1999 ruling of the Supreme Court that if the finding of “guilt” were based on no evidence, it would be amenable to judicial scrutiny.
“Undoubtedly, the charges of misuse of position and extortion are very serious. However, before a person is fastened with the punitive liability, a proper inquiry, following the principles of natural justice, has to be conducted,” said the High Court bench that proceeded to go into merits of the case.
The Court found that the prosecution case revolved around “highly improbable” statements of two Inspectors who were not even present at the place of occurrence.
The Bench also noted that the X-ray of hand baggage takes place in open where there are a number of passengers, police and security officials.
“It is highly improbable that in the presence of so many people one could extort money and would then give her back the money,” the court said.