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DB quashes dismissal of BSF Constable, holds appellant entitled to reinstatement with all consequential benefits

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: In a significant Judgment, a Division Bench of High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh at Jammu comprising Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Puneet Gupta has allowed an appeal filed by Sunil Kumar-a BSF Constable, who had been dismissed from service on May 5, 2001 and whose writ petition was also dismissed by a Single Judge of the High Court of J&K vide it’s Judgment dated November 2, 2019. While allowing appeal, the Division Bench quashed the order of dismissal and held that appellant shall be deemed to have been reinstated in service with effect from the date he was dismissed from service with all consequential benefits. After hearing Advocate Muzzaffar Ali Shah appearing for appellant Sunil Kumar- a BSF Constable, whereas Central Government Standing Counsel Sandeep Gupta appearing for BSF, the Division Bench headed by Justice Sanjeev Kumar further held, “It shall, however, remain open to BSF Authorities to proceed with and conclude the trial by the Summary Security Force Court de novo within two months. The disbursement of consequential benefits shall be dependent upon the outcome of de novo trial by SSFC.”
During the course of arguments, Adv Muzzaffar Ali Shah submitted that plea of ‘guilty’ has been recorded on a cyclostyle/type sheet with blanks which have been filled-up later during recording of the plea. The questions asked to the writ petitioner-Constable are in English language without making it clear whether the questions were also translated in the manner the charge sheet is said to have been translated and read over to the writ petitioner.
The Division Bench after persual of the record of the proceedings further observed, “It is crystal clear that is a pre-typed page where the particulars of the writ petitioner have been filled in with questions as to whether you plead “guilty” or “not guilty” to the charges. Below the questions, there are answer using singular word “guilty” and in the last paragraph, compliance to Rule 142 of the Rules is indicated by borrowing the language used in Rule 142 itself. As already noted, the plea of “guilty” is neither signed by the writ petitioner nor by Dy Commandant D S Samyal, who acted as friend of the writ petitioner in the trial.” After considering rival contentions and going through the record of proceedings, the Division Bench came to a conclusion that the appellant had either not pleaded guilty to any of the Charge as is recorded by the Court or same was not voluntarily in nature. The Division Bench of High Court further observed that the right of the appellant to have a fair trial before SSFC has been violated and he has been condemned unheard. With these observations, the Division Bench, while setting aside the Judgment of the Single Judge, allowed the appeal and quashed dismissal of the appellant and held him entitled to reinstatement with effect from the date of dismissal.

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