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The Additional Chief Secretary To … vs S.Sivaraman on 7 April, 2021

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W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021

BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT

DATED: 07.04.2021

CORAM:

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE T.S.SIVAGNANAM
AND
THE HONOURABLE MRS.JUSTICE S.ANANTHI

W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021
and
C.M.P.(MD)No.3640 of 2021

The Additional Chief Secretary to the
Government of Tamil Nadu,
Home (Police 2) Department,
Secretariat,
Chennai – 600 009. : Appellant
Vs.

S.Sivaraman : Respondent

PRAYER: Writ Appeal filed under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent,

praying to set aside the order dated 25.11.2019 made in W.P.(MD)No.

12551 of 2018.

For Appellant : Mr.K.P.Krishnadass
Special Government Pleader
For Respondent : Mr.Ganapathi Subramaniam

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W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021

JUDGMENT

***************
[Judgment of the Court was delivered by T.S.SIVAGNANAM, J.]

Heard Mr.K.P.Krishnadass, learned Special Government Pleader,

appearing for the appellant and Mr.Ganapathi Subramaniam, learned

Counsel appearing for the respondent.

2.The learned Single Bench by the impugned order has set aside

the order of punishment passed on the respondent, whereby his

punishment of stoppage of increment for a period of three [3] years with

cumulative effect was imposed. Along with the respondent / writ

petitioner, there was a co-delinquent Mr.K.Kannan, who was the Inspector

of Police and a common charge was framed against both of them. The

charge proceedings against Mr.K.Kannan, who was the then Inspector of

Police and presently the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ambattur, was

quashed in W.P.(MD)No.23644 of 2018 dated 28.08.2019. Against which,

the Government filed an appeal before the Hon’ble Division Bench of this

Court in W.A.(MD)No.23 of 2021 and by judgment dated 20.01.2021, the

appeal was dismissed. The operative portion of the judgment reads as

follows:

“4.What is evident from the recording above
is that several of the prosecution witnesses
corroborated the writ petitioner-s version that the

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W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021

writ petitioner was not present at the police station in
the evening of May 23, 2009. In the light of such
evidence, there ought to have been positive material
referred to by the disciplinary authority to discard the
oral testimony of the several witnesses ? prosecution
witnesses, no less ? and affirmatively establish that
the writ petitioner was, indeed, present at the place
of occurrence. What the disciplinary authority
resorted to was the stale testimony of Mahalakshmi,
Sasikala, Saroja, Padma and Thangaponnu rendered
before the Revenue Divisional Officer. It is nobody-s
case that such persons deposed in course of the
disciplinary proceedings that the writ petitioner was
present at the place of occurrence. If such persons
had made such statement in course of the disciplinary
proceedings, the writ petitioner would have had a
chance to cross~examine them and, if upon such
cross~examination it was one set of words against
another, the Enquiry Officer first and the disciplinary
authority later, would have been required to give
cogent reasons to prefer one version over the other.

In the present case, those who testified to the effect
that the writ petitioner was present at the place of
occurrence were not made available for
cross~examination by the writ petitioner in course of
the disciplinary proceedings. In any event, the
disciplinary authority does not indicate in the order of
punishment impugned in the writ petition as to why
he chose the statements of those named witnesses in
preference to the uniform statement made by several

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W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021

of the prosecution witnesses corroborating the stand
taken by the writ petitioner.

5.While the quality and quantity of the
evidence is a matter of assessment of the
adjudicating authority, in any judicial or
quasi~judicial proceedings, when one version is
preferred to another, the reasons that impel the
authority to make the choice must be evident. The
impugned order of punishment is singularly lacking in
such aspect. In dealing with the principal ground
urged in the writ petition, the Court of the first
instance has taken relevant considerations into
account and has appropriately pointed out that the
statements made by the named persons before the
Revenue Divisional Officer had no evidentiary value
and, in any event, there was no affirmative material
indicated in the order of punishment to justify the
disciplinary authority choosing one statement over
another. Further, the alleged dying declaration of
Ponnammal was not even produced by the appellant
herein as part of its counter~affidavit before the Writ
Court.

6.The second aspect that weighed with the
learned Single Bench was that Ponnammal had an axe
to grind against the writ petitioner and the family of
Ponnammal would, naturally, be unfavourably
disposed towards the writ petitioner. It appears that
a charge of rape was brought by Ponnammal against

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W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021

the writ petitioner sometime prior to the incident of
May 23, 2009. Such matter was apparently looked
into by the State Human Rights Commission and no
substance was found in the complaint.

7.At any rate, a charge of abetting suicide is
something which is difficult to establish. While
egregious conduct of cruelty may be established in
certain cases, particularly in a scenario under
Section
498A of the Penal Code, when it comes to the
everyday case of suicide, a charge of abetment may
only be seen to be established when the act
complained of is so wild so as to unfailingly drive the
victim to the most injudicious act to end his or her
life. The charge in this case was of a police officer
having used abusive language against the victim. The
nature of the language is not indicated in the charge
and what is abusive differs from one man-s
perception to another-s. Merely because someone is
abused may not entail in the person abused
committing suicide. The charge~sheet does not
indicate any grievous insult inflicted on the deceased
by the perceived delinquent.

8.For the reasons aforesaid, the judgment
and order impugned cannot be touched. The Court of
the first instance quite appropriately found that in the
light of the perceived delinquent-s statement being
corroborated by several prosecution witnesses that
he was not present at the place of occurrence, no

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W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021

affirmative material had been brought out to
demonstrate to the contrary. Since the very presence
of the perceived delinquent is the basis of the charge
as he could not have abused Ponnammal if he had not
been present at the relevant point of time, the
consequence of the lack of clarity as to the writ
petitioner-s presence was that the order of
punishment had to be set aside.

The appeal is without basis and W.A.No.23
of 2021 is dismissed. The appellant is spared the
costs despite the needless appeal. Consequently,
C.M.P.No.344 of 2021 is closed.”

3.Since, the charge proceedings against the co-delinquent has

already been quashed and confirmed by the Hon’ble Division Bench of

this Court, we find no ground to interfere with the impugned order.

4.Accordingly, the Writ Appeal stands dismissed. However, there

shall be no order as to costs. Consequently, the connected miscellaneous

petition is closed.

[T.S.S., J.] [S.A.I., J.]
07.04.2021
Index : Yes / No
Internet : Yes / No
MR

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W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021

T.S.SIVAGNANAM, J.

AND
S.ANANTHI, J.

MR

JUDGMENT MADE IN
W.A.(MD)No.818 of 2021

07.04.2021

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