The Delhi high court has ordered the reinstatement of two CISF jawans who were removed from service for exchanging blows while on duty at Delhi’s IGI Airport.
Constables Sanjay Dubey and Rajesh were deployed as security force personnel at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on October 4, 2009, the day of the incident.
A verbal confrontation between the two due to a personal domestic dispute aggravated into a scuffle in which Sanjay pushed Rajesh and the latter retaliated by punching Sanjay twice in the face. Another constable present on the spot intervened and moved Sanjay aside. As a reaction, Sanjay took out his service revolver but he was restrained by other officers guarding the airport.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) took serious note of the incident, saying it had tarnished the image of the force, brought disrepute to the security system and caused panic among the passengers and other workers at the airport. A subsequent disciplinary authority set up by CISF found both Sanjay and Rajesh guilty of misconduct and ordered their dismissal from service.
Both moved the high court challenging their removal from service. Sanjay said though he took out his pistol from the holster, he neither cocked it nor used it. He said he intended to hand it over to the senior officer in order to avoid any untoward incident.
Sanjay also contended that he and his wife were being harassed by Rajesh, who was staying in his neighbourhood, and this was reported to the assistant commandant of the force. Sanjay said he had complained to the authorities against Rajesh before the incident.
A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Deepa Sharma said, “The sequence of the occurrence clearly suggests that the altercation was nearly spontaneous… The CCTV footage does not bear out the allegation that it was cocked by Sanjay.”
The court remarked, “In the given circumstances, at most, the petitioners’ conduct should be considered seriously irresponsible behaviour; but not so as to warrant their removal or dismissal.”
Considering the totality of circumstances, the court directed that the penalty of dismissal be substituted with the penalty of withholding three increments with cumulative effect.
“They shall also not be entitled to count the period out of employment for purposes of service benefits… They are also disentitled to arrears of salary and other emoluments,” the court said.