Observing the “nation was still bleeding” years after the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the Delhi High Court on Monday granted liberty to the competent authority to issue an “appropriate order of punishment” to a retired city police officer who allegedly failed to deploy adequate force, make preventive detentions and take action to break up mobs during the violence.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, while setting aside the orders passed by the disciplinary authority and the Central Administrative Tribunal against the then station house officer of Kingsway Camp police station, said innocent lives were lost in the riots and the police officer “cannot get away” on account of his advanced age of 79 years.
“He may be 100 (years old). Kindly see the misconduct. Innocent people lost their lives. The nation is still bleeding. On that ground, you cannot get away. Age will not help,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad.
The disciplinary authority, without recommending any punitive action, held him guilty of misconduct during the anti-Sikh riots.
He had challenged that order before the CAT which was rejected, after which he moved to the high court in appeal.
The petitioner assailed the orders before the high court on the ground that he was only granted a “post-decisional hearing” in the matter. Post-decisional hearing is a hearing by the adjudicating authority subsequent to having made a decision or choice.
Setting aside the orders, the court said that the charges against the petitioner were serious and granted liberty to the disciplinary authority to issue a “fresh note of disagreement” and asked the petitioner to respond to it within four weeks.
“Thereafter the disciplinary authority will be free to pass an appropriate order in accordance with the law. The petitioner has obtained the age of superannuation and therefore the competent authority shall be free to pass appropriate order of punishment keeping in view the date of retirement and pension rules,” the court said.
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