Mere External Examination Insufficient to Hold Someone Guilty of Consuming Alcohol: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court has observed that mere external examination of a person is not sufficient proof to establish that he or she is in an intoxicated condition.

The court was hearing a plea by police constable Jai Mangal Ram who was dismissed for alleged inappropriate behaviour while intoxicated on duty.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh and Justice Anish Kumar Gupta ordered to reinstate the constable in service.

The court emphasized the need for blood and urine tests to conclusively determine intoxication.

“In the instant case, the petitioner herein was taken to the medical officer who only externally examined the petitioner and having found the smell of alcohol concluded that the petitioner herein had consumed alcohol. Therefore, mere external examination is not sufficient proof to hold a person guilty of consuming alcohol and it cannot be concluded that he was in intoxicated condition,” the bench said.

The petitioner was working as a constable in the Police Lines, Varanasi. The allegation against him was that he misbehaved with his senior officer, being in an intoxicated condition for which the complaint was made against him and he was placed under suspension and later dismissed from service.

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After going through the entire departmental enquiry, the court said in its order passed on December 8, “We are of the considered opinion that no charge of misbehaviour with seniors/colleagues due to intoxication was proved against the petitioner during enquiry as no urine or blood test of the petitioner herein was conducted. Since the punishment order had been passed in violation of the statutory rules and the principles of natural justice, it is rendered null and void.”

The court allowed the writ petition and said, “The petitioner herein shall be reinstated in service with continuity in service along with 50% back wages for the period he was out of service. The respondents are directed to reinstate the petitioner in service forthwith and shall make payment of his back wages, as above, within two months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order.”

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