‘Acquittal on benefit of doubt not grounds for dismissal’

Gandhinagar, July 9 (Calcutta Tube) The Gujarat High Court Friday ruled that the acquittal of an individual on benefit of doubt cannot be the ground for his dismissal from government service.

The ruling came from a division bench of Justice Bhagwati Prasad and Justice S.R. Brahmbhatt, hearing the petition of Himmatsinh Vankar, who contended that a case registered against an individual cannot be a ground for dismissal from service.

The court observed that acquittal by a court even on benefit of doubt is an acquittal and authorities cannot deny an individual the right to rejoin society merely on the ground that he was acquitted on benefit of doubt.

The Godhra taluka police had charged Vankar in 2006 with cruelty to his wife – leading to her suicide – and abetting suicide under sections 306 and 498 of the Indian Penal Code.

The trial court, in July 2006, had acquitted him on benefit of doubt. Following the acquittal, he applied for a post in the state’s reserve police force, was selected and had joined service.

However, in a letter dated July 28, 2008 Vankar was informed that his services stood terminated as the court acquitted him on benefit of doubt and did not find him innocent.

Vankar challenged the dismissal order in the high court. The division bench opined that the approach of the respondents was not appropriate and asked them to verify the details.

The next hearing of the case will be on Monday.

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