A sacked DIG of the CRPF, who was found guilty of sending sexually explicit material to a woman on her mobile phone, has failed to get any relief from the Delhi High Court, which said a senior public servant should maintain a higher standard of "rectitude".
The Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the paramilitary force was removed from service in July, after it was proved in a departmental inquiry that his act had tarnished the image of the organisation and he had failed to maintain an absolute devotion to his duty.
A bench of justices S Muralidhar and Sanjeev Narula dismissed the petition of Sandeep Yadav, also an awardee of the President's Police Medal for meritorious service in 2010, in which he had challenged the penalty awarded to him by the disciplinary authority -- the Director General -- removing him from service.
"The court can only observe that the higher the position held by a public servant, the greater the standard of rectitude that has to be maintained," the bench said in an order passed earlier in November.
It said, "Serving as a DIG in the CRPF, a paramilitary force, the petitioner was not expected to indulge in the kind of conduct which has been proved against him in the inquiry. The court, in the circumstances, does not consider the penalty awarded to the petitioner to be disproportionate to the gravity of his conduct."
In 2014, Yadav was serving as the DIG, GC, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Delhi.
A complaint was filed against the officer by the woman's husband before the authorities concerned, in which it was alleged that he had been sending nude pictures of himself and sexually explicit material from his mobile phone to the woman's mobile phone.
It was also alleged that between May 6 and June 1, 2014, he had made 395 calls to the woman from his mobile phone, mostly during office hours, and had also indulged in immoral conversations with her.
It was stated that he had acted in a manner which was unbecoming of a government servant and violated the rules.
Yadav had contended before the investigating officer (IO) that government servants were very much entitled to a private life and what he did in his private time (after office or duty hours) was his business and the government had no control over it.
The IO, in his report, had stated that Yadav was found to have made numerous calls to the woman "during normal office hours".
"Government servants, especially from the armed forces, because of their training and specific role, are subjected to public scrutiny and expected to maintain higher standards," the IO had stated.
The court noted that the IO had held that the officer's act of sending his nude photographs to a married woman and making immoral conversations with her stood clearly proved.
The decision to remove him from service was taken after the disciplinary authority consulted the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
The UPSC had said the ends of justice would be met with the penalty of removing him from service, which would not be a disqualification for future employment under the government.
The court noted that the woman was cross-examined but was unable to be discredited and the officer was unable to demonstrate that she was either untruthful or unreliable.
"Most importantly, the petitioner was unable to show that there was any oblique motive for the woman to falsely accuse him of such conduct," it said.
The court added that it was not sitting in appeal over the IO's report and it found that the procedure followed by the IO was just and fair and fully consistent with the requirements of natural justice.
It said the officer was given full opportunity to defend himself against the charge and challenge the authenticity of the evidence presented against him.
"This was not a criminal trial. The standard of proof in a departmental inquiry is not as high as that in a criminal trial. This is also not an instance where the IO has relied on any irrelevant material in order to come to the conclusions against the petitioner," the court said.
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