Rashid Paul

HC sets aside order of removal of RFP man

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“Proceedings have to be in language known to party”

Srinagar, Mar 30: The J&K High Court on Friday set aside an order of removal of a Kashmiri Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel from service against whom disciplinary proceedings were conducted in a language unknown to the accused.

In a case titled Mushtaq Ahmad Rather Vs. Union of India & others, a bench of Justice MK Hajura  upheld a Madras High Court judgment which says “when dismissal order is passed, which deprives the right of livelihood of a delinquent, it is, but necessary that the disciplinary proceedings must be conducted not only in the manner known to law, but also in the language known to the delinquent”.

The petitioner, Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, was working as a constable in the RPF since 1993. On the 18th of July, 2012, an allegedly frivolous accusation of misbehavior with the minor daughter was lodged against him by his own colleague Jagad Singh.

Rather stated before the court that on the day of the incident he had disallowed the children of Jagadh Singh to play in the barrack in presence of other colleagues.

“I had also expressed my displeasure over the delinquent approach of Jagadh Singh in attending his duty to which he retorted by inventing a story against me two days after rebuke of the children,” he told the court.

An enquiry was initiated on the complaint by Jagadh Singh against Mushtaq and one Roshan Lal Nagi was appointed as the Investigating Officer in the case.

A charge-sheet was prepared against Mushtaq in Hindi language, a tongue which he was unable to understand.

He filed a writ petition in the J&K High Court saying that the whole proceedings against him, including the charge-sheet, enquiry as well as the statements of the witnesses were recorded and conducted in the Hindi language by the officers of the RPF.

He told the court that the disciplinary authority demoted him by reducing him to the lowest stage of constable in RPF.

“I had also filed an appeal before the authorities. Astoundingly, the appellate authority instead of undoing the wrongs done to me removed me from service,” he said.

“I made a second appeal hoping sanity and justice will prevail but the decision of my termination was upheld in the second appeal as well,” he said.

The High Court after hearing the parties set aside the dismissal order of Mushtaq with the condition that the respondent authorities shall conduct a fresh enquiry in the matter against him in a language he is well versed in.

The order of dismissal of the petitioner No. 26/RPF/DAR/153/2013 dated 22nd of July, 2013, passed by the respondents of the RPF, is quashed, ordered the judge.

The invalidation of the RPF order, shall not however entitle Mushtaq to claim any salary, remuneration or wages during the period he had been “illegally thrown” out of service.

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