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While taking a sympathetic view of a policeman facing multiple disciplinary proceedings in the police department, the Madras high court had said that the policeman should undergo the consequences of only some of his misconduct, not all. Justice S Srimathy, who gave the judgement, cited karma theory, in which human beings need not suffer all their bad karmas, to support her view. This approach has drawn much comment in legal circles. Justice K Chandru, retired judge of the Madras high court, told inmathi.com that a judge should not bring personal beliefs into judgements and rule against well established procedures of transfer in the police force that needs to be highly disciplined.
R Srimurugan joined the Tamil Nadu police as constable in 2003, had a head injury in 2011, and therefore has a history of medical problems. But he started getting punished and his service record started going for a toss as early as 2008. Since then he has absented himself without permission, not reported for duty, deserted his post, did not report at his designated bandobust station, or went on long leave without reason but later obtained limited medical leave so he didn’t have to appear before the medical board. This has happened more than 15 times and he has been punished 13 times by the police department largely by having his salary increments postponed by several years each time.
Srimurugan went to the high court against these punishments which ruled that if the punishments were to be implemented one after the other they would last beyond his retirement age. So the court asked that the punishments be dealt on him concurrently. But the police department hasn’t quite implemented that court ruling.
Justice S Srimathy, who gave the judgement, cited karma theory, in which human beings need not suffer all their bad karmas, to support her view. This approach has drawn much comment in legal circles
Meanwhile, Srimurugan has been transferred some four times in 18 months, largely as punishments. The last one was a transfer to Thoothukudi from Madurai, ordered in August of this year. He went to court and said that because of all the punishments his monthly salary had reduced to less than Rs 10,000 while his colleagues of similar seniority were drawing more than Rs 50,000. So it would be impossible for him to move to Thoothukudi accepting the punishment transfer. He asked that he be transferred and posted in the traffic department in Madurai.
The police department submitted that Srimurugan actively works against his senior officers, refuses to follow orders, for instance in writing down complaints while serving as writer. He brags with other junior officers about his defiance and creates discord in the department. He is indifferent to SHOs and undermines the inspectors of police stations where he is posted. He uses RTIs to ferret out information that he uses to defy his superior officers. There is also an allegation that he had forged some transfer orders.
The high court, while noting the past history, however, took a critical view of punishment transfers. It said the charges of disobeying or being indifferent to superior officers were “bald”, “vague”, “not specific” allegations. It said the forgery accusation was false and accepted the evidence against it that Srimurugan’s lawyer had submitted. The court noted that the financial misery Srimurugan was facing already was bad enough. Justice S Srimathy ordered that the policeman be transferred and posted as traffic constable within Madurai.
In support of her judgment, Justice Srimathy invoked the principle of karma that is part of Hindu belief. The theory of karma holds that there are several types of karmas. Sanchita karma is the accumulated karma we carry over from many past lifetimes. These are the sum total of our past deeds and the consequences of those deeds that we need to face, good or bad, at some point or the other.
Prarabdha karma is what we have to face in this lifetime and is therefore unavoidable, but the rest of sanchita karma can potentially be offset by our actions this life. In other words, we have to face the consequences of the prarabdha karma, which is a part of our sanchita karma, but not the entire sanchita karma.
Indian jurisprudence does not include any religious scripture nor does it refer to karma or any other ancient code. Justice K Chandru, retired judge of the Madras high court, took a critical view of the judgement
Justice Srimathy ruled that Srimurugan is facing the punishment of financial misery and that is his prarabdha karma. He needs to suffer only that but can be excused from the transfer in the interest of justice. Srimurugan can instead serve in the traffic department but was ordered not to put RTIs.
Indian jurisprudence does not include any religious scripture nor is it inspired or refer to karma or any other ancient code. Justice K Chandru, retired judge of the Madras high court, took a critical view of the judgement. He said a judge cannot quote from her personal beliefs and experiences. This has been clarified in Meerut development authority case by the Supreme Court. “It is unfortunate a judge of the Madurai bench has to discuss prarabdha karma while granting relief to a rogue policeman, that too in the matter of transfer,” he said.
Chandru opined that transfer in police force can never be interfered with in a light manner since the police are a disciplined force. The concerned person has several instances of misconduct which warranted his transfer to Thoothukudi from Madurai. To set aside that order and direct him to be retained in Traffic in Madurai is unheard of in legal circles. To undertake such a course by quoting karma is rather devious, he said.
“This kind of exercise by judges to interfere in service matters against well laid principles will set in demoralisation of the concerned authorities. It is high time the police department went on appeal and got the order set aside. That will be the prarabdha karma of the bench,” he said.
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