The Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered the promotion of a woman constable of Gurugram and fined state authorities for not considering her for promotion for showing “exemplary bravery” during the arrest of a wanted criminal in 2013.
The woman constable, Aruna Kumari was part of the team in October 2013, that nabbed Vicky Kadian, then wanted in 59 criminal cases. Kadian had fired at the party, but the raiding party overpowered him and came out unhurt. She put up iron barricades in front of the car along with other cops and surrounded the car from all four sides, while Kadian was firing from his revolver.
The raiding party members, including the woman constable, were awarded appreciation letters of first class and four male members were recommended by the then deputy commissioner for promotion against B-1 bravery seats and were promoted in 2015.
In a fresh round of litigation in 2020, the woman had stated in her plea that though she was the sole female member, risked her life along with other cops. But only male cops were recommended for promotion. She alleged that this was gender discrimination and that Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution had been violated.
The then deputy commissioner had maintained that the woman did not fulfil the eligibility criteria for selection on list B-1 of 2014 for bravery as she had not completed five years of minimum service required.
The bench of justice MSR Rao and justice Sukhvinder Kaur observed that the court failed to see how a promotion for exhibiting bravery would have any connection with the minimum period of service required for promotion. “ If the respondents (state authorities) can consider bringing on list B-1 after completion of mere 2 years’ of service, persons who have won medals in International sports events like the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and similar International sports events, why they should deprive a person, that too a woman constable, who had exhibited exceptional bravery from such benefit on the ground of non-completion of minimum 5 years of service,” it remarked adding that after perusal of the record, the woman was also running the risk for her life from the shots fired by the criminal and had exhibited bravery.
“In this country where there is a need to maintain law and order, women constables like the petitioner, who are also made to face dangers of policing while apprehending hardened criminals, have to be rewarded for exceptional bravery shown by them while assisting the male constables. They cannot be discriminated against by the respondents,” the bench said adding that “fearless” police constables like the petitioner ought to have been promoted. The state’s stand that the recommendation for bravery was made on merit and was not on gender discrimination as contended by the respondents cannot be accepted in the light of evidence placed on record by the woman which is not controverted by the respondents, it added.
Now it has directed that her name be recommended for promotion list under bravery quota and be promoted from the date others were given promotion. The state authorities have also been fined with ₹25,000 to be paid to the woman constable within four weeks.