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LALLO SINGH versus STATE OF U.P. AND OTHERS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Lallo Singh v. State Of U.P. And Others - WRIT - A No. - 28429 of 2006 [2007] RD-AH 17343 (2 November 2007)

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice of Joint Registrar(Copying).

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD

Reserved

Court No.26

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 28429 of 2006

Lalloo Singh

Vs.

State of U.P.& others

Hon.Shishir Kumar, J.

By means of the present writ petition the petitioner has approached this court for a writ of certiorari quashing the order dated 8.5.2006 (Annexure 1 to the writ petition) passed by respondent No.2. Further a writ in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondents from interfering with the peaceful functioning of the petitioner as Constable.

The petitioner was selected in the year 1998 on the post of Constable. After completion of training he was posted at different places. When the petitioner was posted at Kotwali, Farrukhabad, an incident took place on 30.4.1996 in which cross F.I.R.'s were lodged by the Superintendent of Police and Inspector Kotwali. It was stated in the F.I.R. that an incident has taken place on 2nd May, 2006, when the Superintendent of Police was sitting in his office and one Sri Nar Singh Pal Singh, Inspector, Kotwali along with Anand Kumar Singh and Rajesh Singh, Sub-Inspector Kotwali, Farrukhabad along with two constables, entered into the office and attacked the Superintendent of Police. It was also stated in the F.I.R. lodged by the Superintendent of Police that he was threatened by the police officials. Another F.I.R. was also lodged by Nar Singh Pal Singh, Inspector Kotwali which states that no such incident has taken place. On the basis of the aforesaid F.I.R. it appears that the Superintendent of Police had passed an order dispensing the services of the petitioner by invoking Rule 8(2)(b) of the U.P. Police Officers of Subordinate Ranks (Punishment and Appeal) Rule, 1991 (here-in-after referred to as the Rules of 1991). Rule 8 is being reproduced below:-

"8. Dismissal and removal- (1) No police officer shall be dismissed or removed from service by an authority subordinate to the appointing authority.

(2) No Police Officer shall be dismissed, removed or reduced in rank except after proper inquiry and disciplinary proceedings as contemplated by these Rules:

Provided that this rule shall not apply-

(a) Where a person is dismissed or removed or reduced in rank on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge : or

(b) Where the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such enquiry : or

( c) Where the Government is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State it is not expedient to hold such enquiry."

Petitioner aggrieved by the aforesaid order of dismissal has approached this Court. It has been submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioner that Rule 8(2) (b) clearly indicates that no police officer shall be dismissed, removed or reduced in rank except after proper enquiry and disciplinary proceedings, as contemplated by the Rules, provided that this rule will not apply where an order of dismissal or removal was passed on the ground of conduct, which has led to conviction on a criminal charge or where the authority empowered to pass an order is satisfied that for some reasons, to be recorded in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such enquiry or where the State Government is satisfied that in the interest of security of the State, it is not expedient to hold such an enquiry. The bare perusal of the order dated 8.5.2006 would clearly indicate that the conditions mentioned in the aforesaid rule has not at all been complied with. The impugned order further indicate that some preliminary enquiry was conducted by the Superintendent of Police, Kannauj and on the basis of some information received from eye witnesses, he has submitted a report that Superintendent of Police Sri Rahul Asthana was assaulted by some police officials.

While passing the order impugned, the competent authority has not recorded a finding to this effect that it is not practicable to hold the regular enquiry. The condition precedent of Rule 8(2)(b) is over stayed rule can be invoked only when the authority who is empowered to pass the order is satisfied that holding of enquiry is not practicable. Once a finding has been recorded in the impugned order that there was some eye witness and on the basis of the information received, it was found that the Superintendent of Police was assaulted, then there is no justification for not conducting the enquiry while dispensing with the services of the petitioner. The rule clearly indicates that no police officer should be dismissed or removed from service by an authority except after proper enquiry and disciplinary proceedings, as contemplated under the Rule. The only exception in Rule 8(2)(b) provides that while passing the impugned order a satisfaction to that effect has to be recorded. As the disciplinary authority has not recorded satisfaction in respect of employment and the practicability of holding an enquiry, as such, the order is liable to be quashed. The respondents have erred in dismissing the services of the petitioner without holding any enquiry and without affording him an opportunity of hearing. But the preliminary enquiry alleged to have been done was behind the back of the petitioner. In view of the aforesaid fact, the learned counsel for the petitioner submits that order is liable to be quashed.

The learned counsel for the petitioner has placed reliance upon a judgement reported in 2005(2) ESC, Allahabad, 1229 Ravindra Raghav Vs. State of U.P. and others and reliance has been placed upon paras 8 and 9 of the said judgement. The same are being quoted below:-

"8. In the present case, the order of Superintendent of Police, dismissing the petitioner from service, after invoking the powers under Rule 8(2) (b) of the Rules, has been given any reason as to why it is not reasonably practicable to hold an enquiry. The order notes the incident, dated 19th October, 2000, in which allegation against the petitioner was made that he along with other Constables had realised Rs.50/- each from drivers of Combine Machines and when Incharge Kotwali reached on the spot, then he misbehaved with Incharge in presence of public. Observation has been made in paragraph 3 of the order that by the misconduct of the petitioner, the faith of public is losing in police and by the above act of petitioner, there is strong possibility of encouragement of indiscipline in the force. After noticing the above facts, the Superintendent of Police held that he is satisfied that it is not reasonably practicable to hold enquiry against the petitioner. It was further observed that in case petitioner remain in the force, he may repeat the incident in future, and taking advantage of he being in police, he may make efforts to save himself from his deeds and in-continuing the petitioner in Department, there will be possibility of increase of indiscipline in the employees. No reason in the order has been recorded as to why it is not reasonably practicable to hold disciplinary enquiry against the petitioner. It has been observed by the Apex Court in Union of India v. Tulsiram Patel, (1985) 3 SCC 398 that disciplinary authority is not expected to dispense with a disciplinary enquiry lightly, or arbitrarily. In the counter affidavit, which has been filed by the respondents also, there is no reason given for not holding disciplinary enquiry against the petitioner. No facts have been mentioned in the order, or referred to, on the basis of which satisfaction has been recorded for dispensing/holding of disciplinary enquiry against the petitioner. The observation that in the event petitioner is allowed to remain in the Department, there is possibility of increase of indiscipline in the Department, cannot be held to be germane for dispensing/holding of disciplinary enquiry. The appellate authority, while dismissing the appeal has observed that there was possibility of petitioner threatening the complainant and witnesses, was an observation, which does not find place in the order of Superintendent of Police, who invoked the power under Rule 8 (2) (b) of the Rules. Neither any reasons have been recorded in the order of Superintendent of Police for dispensing/holding of disciplinary enquiry, nor other observations made in the order to the effect that continuance of the petitioner in the police force,would have encouraged indiscipline in the Department were relevant for dispensing /holding of disciplinary enquiry. The key words in Rule 8(2) (b) are "not reasonably practicable". The Rules contemplate exercise of power under Rule 8(2) (b) for dispensing/holding of disciplinary enquiry, when it is not reasonably practicable to hold such enquiry. The reasons, thus, which can satisfy the requirement of Rule 8(2) (b) has to be referable to "not reasonably practicable", to hold an enquiry. No reasons have been given in the order, which can be said to fulfil the requirement of not reasonably practicable to hold enquiry. The statutory requirement of exercising the power is absent in the present case. As observed above, no reasons have also been given in the counter affidavit, bringing on the record the reasons on the basis of which such satisfaction was recorded by Superintendent of Police, the Court is at last to find out the basis for invoking the power under Rule 8(2) (b) of the Rules.

9. In above view of the facts, it is clear that power has been exercised by Superintendent of Police, under Rule 8 (2)(b) contrary to the requirement as laid down in Rule 8(2)(b). The order of Superintendent of Police, cannot be sustained. The appellate order, which confirms the said order, also cannot survive, and both the orders are consequently quashed. It is, however, open to the respondents to hold disciplinary enquiry against the petitioner, in accordance with law."

As the counter and rejoinder affidavits have already been exchanged, therefore, with the consent of the parties the present writ petition is being disposed of finally.

In paragraph 4 of the counter affidavit, it has been submitted by the learned Chief Standing Counsel that petitioner in the year 2002, was punished for seven days, in the year 2003, for 14 days again in the year 2005 for seven days. On 2.5.2006, when the Superintendent of Police Farrukhabad was holding a meeting in his camp office, one Station House Officer Police station Kotwali along with three others entered in the office, abused by filthy languages and started beating to the Superintendent of Police, who sustained serious injuries on his stomach, chest, ears and eyes. This incident occurred on account of collusion with four police officers against the Superintendent of Police in order to create terror in Police Department. An F.I.R. was lodged and the case was registered as Case Crime No.611/2006 under Sections 147, 148, 149, 452, 307, 323, 504 and 506 I.P.C. read with Section 7 of the Criminal Act. The Station House Officer Kotwali has also lodged F.I.R. only to safe his skin and only by way of peshbandi and for the purposes of create a defence. The Superintendent of Police, Kannauj was requested to hold an enquiry of the incident which took place in the office of the Superintendent of Police, Farrukhabad. The enquiry officer after affording full and ample opportunity of hearing to all concerned who were involved in the incident holding full fledged enquiry as required under the provisions of U.P. Police Officers of Subordinate Ranks (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1991 and after that the authority concerned has exercised the powers conferred under Rule 8(2)(b) of the Rules. The said action has been taken only for the purposes of maintaining the balance in the administration. It was necessary in the interest of administration, discipline in police force and also to maintain balance in administration, the power has rightly been exercised by the concerned authority. The rule clearly provides that if the authority concerned is satisfied that for some reason to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such enquiry in that contingency the order of dismissal may be passed, even without holding enquiry as required under the Rules.

The learned Chief Standing Counsel has submitted that this proviso has been dealt with by the Apex Court in a case of Union of India and another Vs. Tulsi Ram Patel reported in A.I.R. 1985 (2) S.L.R, 576. Reliance has been placed upon paras 61, 62, and 64 of the said judgement. The same are being reproduced below:-

"61. The language of the second proviso is plain and unambiguous. The keywords in the second proviso are, "this clause shall not apply". By "this clause" is meant clasue (2). As clause (2) requires an inquiry to be held against a government servant, the only meaning attributable to these words is that this inquiry shall not be held. There is no scope for any ambiguity in these words and there is no reason to give them any meaning different from the plain and ordinary meaning which they bear. The resultant effect of these words is that when a situation envisaged in any of the three clauses of the proviso arises and that clause becomes applicable, the safeguard provided to a government servant by clause by clause (2) is taken away. As pointed out earlier, this provision is as much in public interest and for public good and a matter of public policy as the pleasure doctrine and the safeguards with respect to security of tenure contained in clauses (1) and (2) of Article 311.

62. Before, however, any clause of the second proviso can come into play the condition laid down in it must be satisfied. The condition for the application of each of these clauses is different. In the case of clause (a) a government servant must be guilty of conduct deserving the penalty of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank which conduct has led to him being convicted on a criminal charge. In the case of clause (b) the disciplinary authority must be satisfied that it is not reasonably practicable to hold an inquiry. In the case of the clause (c) the President or the Governor of State, as the case may be, must be satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to hold an inquiry. When these conditions can be said to be fulfilled will be discussed later while dealing separately with each of the three clauses. The paramount thing, however, to bear in mind is that the second proviso will apply only where the conduct of a government servant such as he deserves the punishment of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank. If the conduct is such as to deserve a punishment different from those mentioned above, the second proviso cannot come into play at all, because Article 311(2) is itself confined only to these three penalties. Therefore, before denying government servant his constitutional right to inquiry, the first consideration would be whether the conduct of the concerned government servant is such as justifies the penalty of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank. Once that conclusion is reached an the condition specified in the relevant clause of the second proviso is satisfied, that proviso becomes applicable and the government servant is not entitled to an inquiry. The extent to which a government servant can be denied his right to an inquiry formed the subject matter of considerable debate at the Bar and we, therefore, now turn to the question whether under the second proviso to Article 311(2) even though the inquiry is dispensed with, some opportunity at least should not be afforded to the government servant so that he is not left wholly without protection. As most of the arguments on his part of the case were common to al the three clauses of the second proviso, it will be convenient at this stage to deal at one place with all the arguments on this part of the case, leaving aside to be separately dealt with the other arguments pertaining only to a particular clause of the second proviso.

64. So far as Article 311 (2) was concerned, it was said that the language of the second proviso did not negative every single opportunity which could be afforded to a government servant under different situations though the nature of such opportunity may be different depending upon the circumstances of the case. It was further submitted that the object of Article 311(2) was that no government servant should be condemned unheard and dismissed or removed or reduced in rank without affording him at least some chance of either showing his innocence or convincing the disciplinary authority that the proposed penalty was too drastic and was uncalled for in his case and a lesser penalty should, therefore, be imposed upon him. These arguments, though attractive at the first blush, do not bear scrutiny."

In view of the aforesaid fact, the learned counsel for the respondents submits that the writ petition is liable to be dismissed.

After hearing counsel for the parties and after perusal of the record, Rule 8(2)(b) of the Rules provides that where the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person, is satisfied that for some reason to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not a reasonably practicable to hold such enquiry, the police officer shall be dismissed or removed, without proper enquiry as contemplated in Sub Rule (2) of Rule 8 of the Rules. For invoking the aforesaid rule, the authority empowered to dismiss has to be satisfied for reasons to be recorded in writing that it is not reasonably practicable to hold such enquiry. Thus, the requirement are two fold. Firstly, recording of reason and secondly, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry. It is well settled in law that when power under Rule 8(2)(b) is invoked judicial review is permissible where subjective satisfaction of the authority that it was not reasonably practicable to hold an enquiry not based on objective facts as laid down by the Apex Court in case of Jaswant Singh Vs. State of Punjab and others reported in 1991 (1) SCC 362. In that case, the Apex Court has considered the provisions of Article 311(2) second proviso (b) of the Constitution of India. Rule 8(2)(b) of the Rules is of parimateria with the second proviso (b) of Article 311, sub clause (2) . The Apex Court has laid down two conditions for involving the power under Clause (b) of Rule 8(2) of the Rules . Following was laid down in para 4 of the said judgement:-

"4. ...........................In so far as clause (b) is concerned this Court pointed out that two conditions must be satisfied to sustain any action taken thereunder. These are (i) there must exist a situation which renders holding of any inquiry "not reasonably practicable"; and (ii) the disciplinary authority must record in writing its reasons in support of its satisfaction. Of course the question of practicability would depend on the existing fact situation and other surrounding circumstances, that is to say, that the question of reasonable practicability must be judged in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the date of the passing of the order. Although clause (3) of that article makes the decision of the disciplinary authority in this behalf final such finality can certainly be tested in a Court of law and interfered with if the action is found to be arbitrary of malafide or motivated by extraneous considerations or merely a ruse to dispense with the inquiry. Also see: Satyavir Singh v. Union of India; Shivaji Atmaji Sawani v. State of Maharashtra and Ikrammuddin Ahmed Borah v. Superintendent of Police, Darrang."

The Apex Court has also held that Clause (b) of Second Proviso to Article 311(2) can be invoked only when the authority is satisfied from the material placed before him that it was not reasonably practicable to hold enquiry. Further satisfaction has to be based on certain objective facts and not the out come of whim, or caprice of concerned officer. In Tulsiram Patel's case (supra) it has been observed that "A disciplinary authority is not expected to dispense with a disciplinary inquiry lightly or arbitrarily or out of ulterior motives or merely to avoid the holding of an inquiry or because the department's case against government servant is week and must fail. The decision to dispense with the departmental enquiry cannot, therefore, be rested solely on the ipse dixit of the concerned authority. When the satisfaction of the concerned authority is questioned in a Court of law, it is incumbent on those who support the order to show that the satisfaction is based on certain objective facts and is not the outcome of the whim or caprice of the concerned officer........."

In the present case, the order passed by the competent authority dismissing the petitioner from service, after invoking the powers under Rule 8(2)(b) of the Rules, has not recorded any reason as to why it is not reasonably practicable to hold an enquiry. The order mentioned the date 2.5.2006 in which the allegation has been made against the petitioner that about 10.00 in the night when Superintendent of Police was working in his camp office the petitioner with other police officials have quarrelled and abused the Superintendent of Police and beaten him. An observation has been made in the order that by this misconduct of the petitioner, the discipline in the department is going down and there is strong possibility of encouragement of indiscipline in the force. After noticing this fact, the Superintendent of Police held that he is satisfied that it is not possible to hold an enquiry against the petitioner. It was also observed in the order that in case petitioner remain in post, it will give a bad lesson to others.

No reason in the order has been recorded as why it is not reasonably practicable to hold disciplinary enquiry against the petitioner as observed in Tulsi Ram Patel's case that disciplinary authority is not expected to dispense with a disciplinary enquiry lightly or arbitrarily.

In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents no reasons have been given that what were the circumstances against the petitioner for not holding the disciplinary enquiry. The observations that in the event the petitioner is allowed to remain in service, there is possibility of increase of indiscipline in the department cannot be held to be germane for dispensing /holding of disciplinary enquiry. As observed above, no reasons have been recorded and in the counter affidavit it has also not been mentioned any reason that what was the reason for dispensing of the enquiry. In my opinion the Superintendent of Police has not exercised his powers according to Rules as in the order there is no compliance of Rule 8(2)(b), therefore, in my opinion the order impugned cannot be sustained.

In view of the aforesaid fact, it is clear that the power which has been exercised by the Superintendent of Police under Rule 8(2)(b) contrary to the requirement as laid down in Rule 8(2)(b) .

The writ petition is allowed. The order dated 8.5.2006 (Annexure 1 to the writ petition) passed by the respondent no.2 is hereby quashed. It is, however, open to the respondents to hold disciplinary enquiry against the petitioner in accordance with law.

No order as to costs.

Dt. November 2 , 2007

SKD


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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