The Madras High Court recently rejected the plea of a police inspector who was facing dacoity and robbery charges, and was suspended for the same from department.
His plea was to let him present his case for departmental inquiry through an advocate before the inquiry officer.
Contending that the inquiry officer was a law graduate, he had approached the Superintendent of Police to permit him to engage a lawyer for cross-examination of the witnesses, which was rejected, and the petitioner sought to challenge that order before the high court in S.Gopinathpandian v. The Inquiry Officer/Additional Superintendent of Police, Dindigul District.
It was contended on behalf of the petitioner that as the charges levelled were of serious nature, the assistance of an advocate was needed to defend him in the domestic inquiry.
A list of Supreme Court judgments was cited for the same in which delinquent employees facing an inquiry before a retired high court judge and a legally trained person were allowed to be represented through an advocate. However, Justice S Vaidyanathan decided not to rely on the judgments cited and observed that the presenting officer in this case was not a legally-trained man and the stance that the inquiry officer was a law graduate was held to be invalid and hence, facts of the present and the cited cases were quite different from each other.
The judge, instead, decided to rely on another judgment of the apex court in which it was held that if it is found that the facts of the cited judgment of the higher forum totally differs with the one on hand, then there is no compulsion for the subordinate courts to blindly rely on the same to arrive at a conclusion as one additional or different fact may make a world of difference between conclusions in two cases. The court dismissed the petition, saying, ‘This court is of the view that the judgments relied on by the learned counsel for the petitioner had no relevancy to the facts of the present case of the petitioner.’
Read the order here.
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