1. In this writ petition under Art, 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner prays that this Court may be pleased to call up the records of the case ending with the order of respondent 1, No. Pun./C (1) 383/61, dated 3 December, 1962, where under he set aside the order of the Deputy Commissioner, Chickmagalur in No. J. 1/MAG/666/1960-61 and dismissed the petitioner from service and quash the aforementioned order of respondent 1 and further to issue a direction to the respondents to restore him back to service without any break.
2. The petitioner was a constable working in Chickmagalur district. As per his proceedings No. Pun. C. (1) 37/60, the Superintendent of Police, Chickmagalur, framed charges against him, held an enquiry against him and dismissed him from service on 3 January, 1961. Aggrieved by that order, the petitioner went up in appeal to the Deputy Commissioner, Chickmagalur, under S. 27 of the Mysore Police Act. The Deputy Commissioner was pleased to accept his appeal and set aside the order of the Superintendent of Police on 30 September, 1961. The Deputy Commissioner was of the view that no case was made out against the petitioner. Several months thereafter, respondent 1, purporting to act under rule 181 of the Mysore Police Manual, Vol. I, called up the records of the case and, after giving the petitioner an opportunity to make his submissions, set aside the order of the Deputy Commissioner and restored that of the Superintendent of Police. The order in question gives no reason whatsoever in its support. In the order after setting out the facts of the case this is what he stated :
'I have once again gone through the connected departmental enquiry records together with the explanation now submitted by the above show-cause notice and I find that the police constable has not advanced any fresh points for consideration. The Deputy Commissioner, while setting aside the orders of the Superintendent of Police, has not pointed out any evidence to disprove the prosecution, but has believed the defence story put forth by the delinquent. I, therefore, entirely disagree with his conclusion, in not holding the delinquent quality of the charges but agreeing with the findings of the enquiry officer, I am satisfied that the delinquent should be held guilty of the charges. I, therefore, set aside the order of reinstatement of the Deputy Commissioner passed in his proceedings under reference and confirm the punishment proposed to be inflicted in the show-cause notice and pass the following order.'
3. From the observations quoted above, it is quite clear that respondent 1 was of the opinion that the appellate authority had no competence to rely on the defence evidence in judging the merits of the case. There is no support in law for this view. Respondent 1 nowhere says that the findings reached by the Deputy Commissioner are unsupported by evidence, nor did he give any reason why he prefers the prosecution evidence to that of the defence. He appears to be of the view that it is for the delinquent officer to prove that he is not guilty and not for the department to prove that he is guilty. We are constrained to say that even elementary principles of jurisprudence were lost sight of by respondent 1 in assessing the merits of the case.
4. That apart, we do not think that respondent 1 had any competence to revise the order of the Deputy Commissioner, Chickmagalur. No provision in the Police Act or in the rules framed thereunder was brought to our notice conferring such a power on him. Rule 181 of the Mysore Police Manual, Vol. I, on which respondent 1 appears to have relied on for exercising that power, reads as follows :
'181. (1) Superintendent or the Assistant Superintendents shall include in their monthly forms of returns all the punishments inflicted on their subordinates. In reviewing the returns the Inspector-General may call for and examine the papers in any case of punishment where an officer appears to have been improperly dealt with.
(2) In any case in which he considers the punishment inflicted to be either excessive or uncalled for, the Inspector-General may refer the case to the appellate authority, or may himself treat it as a case of appeal.
(3) Such appellate authority shall thereupon take cognizance of the reference as if it were an appeal and may, after making due enquiry, confirm, reduce or cancel the punishment inflicted.
(4) In any case in which the Inspector-General considers the punishment inadequate, he may enhance the punishment, provided that the officer affected has had an opportunity to explain why the punishment should not be enhanced.'
5. Sub-rule (1) of rule 181 empowers the Inspector-General of Police to interfere with the orders of his subordinates mentioned therein. It does not empower him to revise the order of the appellate authority. The Deputy Commissioner is not a subordinate of the Inspector-General of Police. Therefore, that rule does not empower the Inspector-General of Police to interfere with or revise the orders of the Deputy Commissioner made under S. 27(2) of the Mysore Police Act.
6. Sub-rules (2) and (3) of rule 181 do not bear on the point under consideration. No reference to the appellate authority was made in this case.
7. Now, coming to sub-rule (4), that merely empowers the Inspector-General of Police to consider whether the punishment imposed on a delinquent officer is adequate or inadequate. It by no means empowers him to sit as a Court of appeal against the orders of the appellate authority. It also does not empower him to reverse an order of acquittal into an order of conviction.
8. For the reasons mentioned above, the order impugned must not only be held to suffer from an error of law apparent on the face of records but must also be held to have been made without jurisdiction. It is accordingly quashed. Respondent shall pay the costs of the petitioner. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.