We are of the view that the high court was far too liberal in reducing the penalty of dismissal to that of stoppage of three increments, the bench said.
The Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a BSF constable from service for assaulting and injuring his superior officer, observing that assault on a superior officer should attract severe penalty.
A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta set aside a Delhi High Court judgment that had altered the punishment of dismissal from service to stoppage of three increments and ordered his reinstatement.
The charge against the constable was that he hit his senior officer with his rifle on his left shoulder and also on his eye, ear and hand. The division bench of the high court had noted the contradiction in witness testimony as to who first started the fight. The Union of India preferred an appeal against the reduction of punishment by the high court.
The bench said: “In view of the serious nature of injuries and the fact that the respondent belongs to a disciplined force, we are of the view that the High Court was far too liberal in reducing the penalty of dismissal to that of stoppage of three increments.”
The bench accepted the ASG’s contention who had placed reliance on Hombe Gowda Educational Trust and Another v State of Karnataka, which was about a superior officer who had been assaulted with a chappal. The court in that case had opined that an assault on a superior officer should attract severe penalty.
The bench observed that the said case was with regard to incident in a school and not in a disciplined force and said: “We are in agreement with the view expressed, more particularly in a case as the present, where the respondent belonged to a disciplined force and used the butt of the rifle for injuring a superior officer very seriously.”
The court then restored the departmental punishment of dismissal from service on the constable.