"Services of both policemen could not have been dispensed with by a summary dismissal order as sought to be done by the respondent (Thane SP) and also because it was ex-facie contrary to the Constitution of India", said a MAT bench headed by Chairman Justice S Radhakrishnan.
The MAT bench said the duo ought to have been given a proper chargesheet in a disciplinary proceeding and also should have been given an opportunity to defend themselves.
Merely because a criminal case is filed against a Police Head Constable or a Police Naik cannot be a ground for summary dismissal, the bench said in a recent order.
The orders of the Superintendent of Police dismissing Head Constable Sanjay Pachange and Police Naik Hiraman Thakare are patently violative of provisions of article 311 (2) of the Constitution, ruled the bench.
However, setting aside their dismissal, the bench said that the respondent (SP) was at liberty to adopt appropriate disciplinary proceedings against the applicants (constables) strictly in accordance with law.
On January 23 this year, both policemen were having drinks in a restaurant at Nalasopara in nearby Thane district around 10 pm. A lady and her male friend were also having dinner at the same place. A scuffle broke out between the cops and the other two people after which both policemen allegedly misbehaved with the woman.
The aggrieved lady complained to police and a case was registered against the two policemen for various offences under IPC such as outraging modesty of woman, insulting woman in public, assault, intimidation, voluntarily causing hurt and uttering obscene words against a woman.
Both were arrested and subsequently released on bail by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Vasai. Within four days of the incident, both policemen were dismissed from service by the Superintendent of police.