Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Bombay HC directs Police Cop to compensate an NDA Professor for a false probe against him for alleged fake disabilty certificate

Court: Bombay High Court

Bench: Hon'ble Justice Nitin W. Sambre & Hon'ble Justice R.N. Laddha

Case No. – Writ Petition No. 1124 of 2018 

Case Title – Dr. Kamal Chandra Tiwari v. State of Maharashtra & Anr.

Date of Judgement: 04 Aug 2023

Cited as: 2023:BHC-AS:29209-DB

Case brief:

Slamming a police officer for falsely implicating a disabled professsor of the National Defence Academy (NDA) by carrying out a false investigation for a genuine disability certificate, a division bench of the Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside the FIR and consequential proceedings against the staffer and ordered compensation of Rs. 25,000 to be paid to one Dr. Kamal Chandra Tiwari, an Assistant Professor at the National Defence Academy, Pune falsely prosecuted for producing fake disability certificates.

The court ordered a compensation of Rs 25,000 to be paid to the employee, to be recovered from the salary of the investigation officer. The officer had ignored communication from the hospital verifying the employee's disability certificate. The employee's advocate stated that the officer's actions were vindictive.

“Such an act of the investigating officer (IO)... can be termed as causing mental agony, lowering down dignity and ill-treating the petitioner, an academician (sic),” said Justices Nitin Sambre and R N Laddha in the August 4 order released on Thursday.

They awarded compensation of Rs 25,000 to Kamal Tiwari and directed it to be paid to the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority within six months. The state will recover the amount from the salary of the IO, Anand Pagare, who is currently posted as inspector at Police Training Centre, Daund.

The NDA had sent Tiwari’s 41% disability certificate issued by Sassoon Hospital, Pune, on December 1, 2012, to the facility for verification. The hospital said it couldn’t trace the original record, prompting the NDA to lodge a police complaint in May 2016 that Tiwari, who had joined as assistant professor (sociology), had produced a forged certificate. Tiwari was booked under Sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the IPC.

In September 2016, the hospital wrote to the IO Pagare that the original record had been traced.  The investigating officer Pagare intentionally and deliberately overlooked the same and purely with an intention to initiate malafide prosecution has charge-sheeted the petitioner in July 2017. 

In June, the judges issued a contempt notice to IO Pagare after he “intentionally” ignored their query on whether he had looked into the record. In his reply, Pagare said he had recorded the statements of two doctors who denied signing the certificate. He said it was his first posting. The judges said he was expected to verify the certificate’s genuineness.

Tiwari’s advocate Jagdish Reddy said he suffered because of Pagare’s vindictive attitude. Pagare’s advocate Satyavrat Joshi said he regrets the bonafide mistake and tenders his unconditional apology to the court and to Tiwari.

"Such act of the Investigating Officer, in our opinion, can be termed as causing mental agony, lowering down dignity and ill-treating the petitioner, an academician. The prosecution initiated by the said officer can be termed as malicious which has not only caused harassment to the petitioner but also immeasurable anguish. The fact that the petitioner, a handicap person is an academician having good repute an employee of National Defence Academy, Pune and the acts done with clandestine manner by the Investigating Officer, in our opinion, warrant award of compensation as has been prayed by him. Counsel for the petitioner magnanimously stated that he is not interested in the amount of compensation which can be made over to the Legal Services Authority, however, the Investigating Officer should realize his mistake which should be pinching for bias and malafide criminal prosecution against the petitioner. In the backdrop of aforesaid observations, we deem it appropriate to award compensation of Rs.25,000/- by Mr.Anand Pagare, Investigating Officer to be paid to the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority within period of six months from today." observed the bench.

The bench discharged the contempt notice with the following obervations:

"As far as contempt notice is concerned, we hereby warn the investigating officer Mr Anand Pagare, Police Inspector presently attached to Police Training Centre, Nanvij Daud, Pune to be more diligent in carrying out his duty as a police officer. With above warning, we discharge the contempt notice."

Read the Order:

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