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CONST. 2639 JAGANNATH SINGH versus STATE OF U.P. AND OTHERS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Const. 2639 Jagannath Singh v. State Of U.P. And Others - WRIT - A No. 47423 of 2004 [2007] RD-AH 3496 (1 March 2007)

 

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HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

Court No. 25

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 8299 of 2005

Constable-3362 C.P. Samar Pal Singh

Vs.

State of U.P. & others

&

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 47423 of 2004

Constable 2639 Jagannath Singh

Vs.

State of U.P. & others

Hon'ble Sudhir Agarwal, J.

Heard Sri S.P. Pandey for the petitioner and perused the record.

These writ petitions have been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India assailing punishment order dated 12.11.2003 passed by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Kanpur Nagar imposing punishment of placing petitioners at bottom of the pay scale for a period of three years and the appellate and revisional orders dated 16.3.2004 and 4.8.2004 passed by the respondent nos. 3 and 4 respectively under U.P. Police Officers of the Subordinate Ranks (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1991 (in short ''1991 Rules').

The facts as stated in the writ petition are that the petitioners were appointed as Constable in U.P. Police force (Civil Police) on 1.8.1989 and 25.7.1984 respectively. In the year 2003, while posted at Police Outpost Shekhpur, Police Station Maharajpur, District Kanpur Nagar, a charge sheet was issued on 2.6.2003 alleging that on 23.2.2003 while they were posted as constable in the aforesaid Police Outpost, constable Layak Singh and some other persons brought one Shiv Charan along with 10 liters liquor which was seized by them. The aforesaid accused and the illicit liquor was handed over to the constable Jagannath Singh (one of the petitioners), who was also present at the Police Outpost but both the petitioners abused constable Layak Singh and entered in a scuffle. Subsequently, when the matter was brought to the notice of the Circle Officer, Sadar, and In-Charge Police Station Maharajganj, both came to Police Outpost at about 12 P.M. and found petitioners in drunken condition. They were taken to Hospital for medical examination which confirmed consumption of liquor by them. Since they were in highly intoxicated condition, had to be admitted in the Hospital. It was reported to the Circle Officer on 24.2.2003, whereupon the Superintendent of Police, Rural, Kanpur and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Kanpur Nagar issued orders for disciplinary enquiry and also placed petitioners under suspension. Before the Enquiry Officer, petitioners admitted guilt in pursuance whereof, the Enquiry Officer submitted his report on 17.9.2003 holding charges proved, recommending punishment of reduction of one increment in the present pay scale. The Disciplinary authority issued show cause notice wherein though he agreed with the findings recorded by the enquiry officer, but proposed punishment of reduction at the lowest of the pay scale for a period of three years which was subsequently imposed vide order dated 12.11.2003. The appeals filed by the petitioners before Deputy Inspector General of Police were rejected vide orders dated 16.3.2004 and revisions preferred before the respondent no. 2 were rejected vide orders dated 4.8.2004.

Learned counsel for the petitioners contended that their confession was obtained by disciplinary officer by misleading them observing that the charge is very petty and they would not be given any severe punishment and under that impression, they confessed. Subsequently, in appeal they disputed and explained their conduct but the same has not been considered by the appellate and revisional authorities. He further submitted that the confession note is not an evidence and the employees are entitled to explain the same and placed reliance on Delhi Transport Corporation Vs. Shyam Lal, 2004 (8) SCC 88. He further submitted that the enquiry officer recommended a lesser punishment but the disciplinary authority has imposed a heavy punishment which is illegal. He further submitted that in the disciplinary proceedings the enquiry report was relied upon but it was not conveyed to them and, therefore, the entire proceeding is vitiated in law.

I Have heard learned counsel for the parties, but I do not find any force in any of the aforesaid submission. Admittedly, the enquiry officer held the petitioner guilty of the charge and the disciplinary authority relied on the aforesaid finding of fact but so far as the punishment is concerned, jurisdiction to impose it lies upon the disciplinary authority. The procedure for departmental enquiry specified in 1991 Rules provides the manner in which the enquiry officer has to submit his report and reads as under :

"The proceedings shall contain a sufficient record of the evidence and statement of the findings and the ground thereof. The Inquiry Officer may also separately from these proceedings make his own recommendation regarding the punishment to be imposed on the charged police officer."

The disciplinary authority for good and sufficient reasons may award any punishment as prescribed in the Rules. The recommendation, if any, of the enquiry officer in the matter of punishment is neither binding upon him nor it can be said that the disciplinary authority when propose to impose a punishment different then that is recommended by the enquiry officer, that amount to disagreement with respect to the findings recorded by the enquiry officer. The role of enquiry officer is to find out the correctness of the allegations contained in the charge sheet as to whether the delinquent employee is guilty or not. For the purpose of punishment, it is for the authority competent who can impose punishment to apply his own mind considering all aspects of the matter and decide appropriate punishment which is to be imposed upon the delinquent employee. Disciplinary authority has clearly concurred with the findings of the enquiry officer recorded in respect to the charges but thereafter in the matter of punishment, it has taken his own independent view, which cannot be said to be a disagreement with the finding of the enquiry officer in respect to the guilt of the delinquent employee. Moreover, Rule-7 of 1991 rules confers power of punishment upon various authorities but there is no reference of the enquiry officer that he has any role to play in the matter of punishment. Though, in appendix to 1991 Rules, it has been provided that the enquiry officer may separately make his own recommendation regarding punishment to be imposed, but the word ''may' itself suggest that it is only directory and recommendatory with which, if the disciplinary authority disagree, he need not to record his reasons and give an opportunity to the delinquent employee.

Coming to the second aspect that the confession was subsequently explained and ought to have been considered by the authorities, I find since during the course of oral enquiry, the petitioners admitted their guilt without any explanation, the enquiry officer submitted report on the basis thereof. The subsequent explanation furnished by the petitioners after receiving show cause notice before the disciplinary authority would not dilute unconditional confession of the petitioners before the enquiry officer and disciplinary authority was well within his right in relying on the earlier unconditional confession instead of accepting the subsequent explanation. The disciplinary authority is the sole judge of facts and if has recorded its finding on some legal evidence, the adequacy or reliability of such evidence cannot be assailed before the Court. The scope of judicial review in such matters is very limited and this has been examined by this Court in its judgment dated 12.3.2007 in Writ Petition No. 15727 of 2004, Babu Ram Vs. State of U.P. & others wherein certain general principles as borne out from various earlier judgments on this aspect were laid down by Division Bench in Sarvesh Kumar Sharma Vs. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., Special Appeal No. 1280 of 2005 and have been reproduced. It would be useful to refer here also :

The Tribunal exercising quasi judicial functions neither bound to follow the procedure prescribed for trial of actions in Courts nor bound by the strict rules of evidence.

(2) They may obtain all information material for the points under enquiry and act upon the same provided it is brought to the notice of the party and fair opportunity is afforded to explain.

(3) The judicial enquiry is to determine whether the authority holding enquiry is competent, and whether the procedure prescribed is in accordance with the principle of natural justice.

(4) There should exist some evidence accepted by the competent authority which may reasonably support the contention about the guilt of the officer. Adequacy or reliability of the evidence can not be looked into by the Court.

(5) The departmental authorities are the sole judges of facts and if there be some legal evidence on which their findings can be based, the adequacy or reliability of that evidence is not a matter which can be permitted to be canvassed before the Court.

(6) There is no allergy to hear-se evidence provided it has reasonable nexus and credibility. All materials which are logically probative for a prudent mind are  permissible.

(7) The essence of a judicial approach is objectivity, exclusion of extraneous materials or considerations and observance of rules of natural justice.

(8) It is not necessary that the Disciplinary authority should discuss material in detail and contest the conclusions of the Inquiry Office.

(9)The judicial review is extended only when there is no evidence or the conclusion or finding be such as no reasonable person would have ever reached on the basis of the material available.  

Even otherwise, I have also considered the reply submitted by the petitioner and in para-2 thereof he has admitted of taking liquor as is evident from the following :

"fnu Hkj dh Fkdku ds ckn izkFkhZ }kjk FkksM+h 'kjkc ih yh Fkh vkSj vius fcLrj ij lks jgk FkkA tc fd {ks=kf/kdkjh egksn; vk;s Fks vkSj izkFkhZ dks ys x;s Fks ;gkWa mYys[kuh; gS fd M~;wVh ij u jgus dh n'kk esa vYi ek=k esa 'kjkc dk lsou djuk u rks dksbZ vijk/k gS vkSj u gh fdlh fu;e ds fo:+) gSaA bl izdkj ml le; 'kjkc dk vYi lsou djus lEcU/kh vkjksi fcYdqy fujk/kkj ,oa fuewZy gS vkSj blds fdlh Hkh fu;e dk mYya?ku ughA"

He also admitted having entered scuffle with Constable Layak Singh as is evident from the following :

"izkFkhZ }kjk [kkuk cukrs le; yk;d flag dk dM+ok rsy lCth Nksadus ds fy;s fcuk muls iwNs ys fy;k Fkk ftl ij og fcxM+ x;k Fkk vkSj ekjus ihVus ij vkeknk gks x;k FkkA fdlh izdkj pkSdh okyksa us 'kkar djk;k"

Since, he also admitted in para-4 of the reply that without any condition he admitted his guilt before the enquiry officer and, therefore, did not allow the department to enter into any further enquiry and record evidence to prove charges, therefore, any subsequent conduct of the petitioner in disputing such admission, if not relied by the respondents, the same cannot be faulted at all. The judgment relied by the learned counsel for the petitioner in Delhi Transport Corporation (supra) instead of helping him support the view I have taken. The Apex Court clearly held that admission is the best piece of evidence against the person making the admission, though it is open to him to show that the admission is not to be acted upon. The petitioner, in the case in hand has not explained the admission but has tried to pursue the disciplinary authority that the admission before the enquiry officer should not be acted upon for the reason that he gave that admission on the representation by the enquiry officer that there is no evidence against him and only minor penalty would be imposed, but there is nothing on record to substantiate the same and, therefore, the disciplinary authority, in my view, did not erred in law in relying and accepting the said admission and passing order of punishment impugned in the writ petition.

The last submission is that the petitioner was not supplied copy of the enquiry report. However, from a bare perusal of the show cause notice, Annexure-2 to the writ petition, it is evident that the copy of the enquiry report was appended therein as is evident from the following averment contained in the show cause notice at page-27 of the paper book :

"izfrfyfi% {ks=kf/kdkjh vuojxat dks nks izfr;ksa esa e; Qkbf.Max lfgr bl funsZ'k ds lkFk Hksth tk jgh gS fd mDr uksfVl dh ,d izfr Qkbf.Max lfgr vkj{kh  dks forfjr djkdj nwljh izfr ij mlds fnukad lfgr gLrk{kj izkIr djds vfHkys[k gsrq okil djsaA"

In the reply submitted by the petitioners in the very opening sentence they have referred to the show cause notice and its enclosures, meaning thereby the copy of the enquiry report was received by them. Even otherwise, in the entire reply dated 24.10.2003, there is no complaint made by the petitioners that copy oft the enquiry report was not served upon them. Therefore, the aforesaid submission is factually incorrect and is rejected.

No other argument has been advanced. In view thereof, I do not find any merit in the writ petition. It is, accordingly, dismissed.  

Dt. 1.3.2007

PS-8299/05


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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