The Meghalaya High Court has today dismissed the writ petition filed by a State police inspector challenging the disciplinary action taken by the Police Department against him.
It may be noted that the Director General of Police vide memorandum dated 6th December, 2017 has initiated the departmental proceedings against inspector Basant Kumar Mishra who was then posted as Officer in Charge of Madanriting police station.
The case was related to the FIR lodged at the Madanriting police station on January 12, 2017 by one Lapynkupbor Umsong and Korishon Umsong, the brother and uncle respectively of one victim girl against Aitimon Umsong and Shngain Nongrum for the alleged rape committed by Shngain Nongrum on the victim girl with the assistance of Aitimon Umsong.
The complaint was narrated directly to Mishra by the complainant in the presence of subordinate lady police officer P Wahlang. But the complaint was not registered at that point of time, nor was it reduced to writing by Mishra.
On September 5, 2017, a second FIR was lodged by the same persons with regard to the same offence reported earlier in January 2017, with a further request that the persons responsible and also the police be prosecuted under the POCSO Act.
Thereafter, a case was registered being Madanriting PS Case No. 84 (9) 17 under Section 366 A IPC read with Section 5(i) (ii)/l/q/6/17 of POCSO Act, and an enquiry was directed to be conducted into the matter by the Superintendent of Police by order dated September 13, 2017.
On submission of the enquiry report, the East Khasi Hills district police proposed that action as may be deemed fit, be taken up against Mishra. Accordingly the Director General of Police vide memorandum dated 6th December, 2017 initiated the departmental proceedings against Mishra.
Being aggrieved with the initiation of the departmental proceedings, Mishra moved the High Court through a writ petition.
However, today the High Court bench of Justice Hamarsan Singh Thangkhiew dismissed the writ petition as “being devoid of merit”. The court also directed that the records of the Departmental Proceeding No. 1 of 2018, should be transmitted back forthwith to the Police Department and to conclude the proceedings at the earliest.
“I have perused the enquiry report, and the article of charges framed against the petitioner which reveal that materials exist, to warrant the initiation of the disciplinary proceedings, more so, when the integrity, devotion to duty are in question, apart from the allegation of failure to perform his legal duties as a Controlling Officer. More importantly, this is not a case where the petitioner is seeking a review or challenging the findings of a disciplinary proceedings but has come at a stage of initiation of the proceedings itself,” Justice Thangkhiew observed.
“The instant case not coming within the scope of such situations, in my considered view, no interference is called for by this Court and the proceedings should be allowed to reach its logical conclusion, inasmuch as, the petitioner will undoubtedly be given adequate opportunity to defend himself in the proceedings,” the judge added.
With regard to the aspect of discrimination as alleged, the High Court said that it is not inclined to interfere with the decision of the Police Department in not drawing up proceedings against the woman police sub-inspector P Wahlang, as from the records of the articles of charge specifically Article IV, it has been recorded that she is only an attached officer and not the controlling or decision making officer of the police station, and that it was up to the Officer in Charge (Mishra) to give her advice and directions, which was not done so by him.