P. Chandra Reddi, J.
1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing an order of the Government compulsorily retiring the petitioner, who, at the relevant time, was an inspector of police.
2. The delinquent officer was a circle inspector of police from 11 September 1953 to 16 December 1954 at Nuzvid. While there, there were some charges against him of having received illegal gratification in connexion with a case of arson against some individuals. It appears that a panchayat board office was set fire to on 15 December 1953. In connexion with this crime, twelve persons were taken into custody by the head constable of Tiruvur police station, three of them, viz.,
(i) Ramisetti China Lakshmayya,
(ii) Ramleetti Narasayya, and
(iii) Katigala Galayya,
were put under arrest and kept on remand. Four witnesses were examined by the concerned magistrate, under Section 164, Criminal Procedure Code. Thereafter, the sub-inspector in charge of the station, who was examined as P.W. 7 in these proceedings, had taken over the investigation from the head constable and prepared a draft chargesheet, Ex. P. 35, on 1 January 1954. The accused on remand filed an application for releasing them on bail. The sub-inspector endorsed on the bail application that he was opposing bail, since the offence was punishable with transportation for life. But before these Remarks could be forwarded, the accused Officer came on the scene and induced the sub-inspector to strike off those remarks and to write a fresh endorsement that he was consenting to release three persons on ball. Later on, the case was reported as undetectable. But on perusal of the records, the Deputy Superintendent of Police directed 4be filing of chargesheet against the persons apprehended. As the case was not properly conducted, the accused were discharged by the Judicial Second Class Magistrate in P.R.C. No. 3 of 1954 on 30 November 1954.
3. It was the case of the department that the delinquent officer having entered into an agreement with one Narasayya to get the persons accused of the crime 'freed from trouble ' in consideration of his being paid a sum of Rs. 150 by way of bribe, prevailed upon the sub-inspector by undue influence to withdraw his opposition to the bail application and to report the case as undetectable. It is alleged that the petitioner had actually received Rs. 150. On receipt of information, the Government had the matter investigated by the X Branch, O.I.D. On the report of the X Branch, which showed that there was a prima facie case against the petitioner, the matter was referred to the Tribunal for Disciplinary Proceedings.
4. The tribunal framed two charges against the petitioner and we are here concerned only with charge (I), the other charge being unnecessary for the present enquiry. Charge (I) is in these words:
Charge (I)(a):-In connexion with the burning of panchayat board office at Arlapadu in investigation of Crime No. 115 of 1953 under Section 436, Indian Penal Code, of Tiruvur police station, Sri K Venkateswarlu, head constable No. 1058, of that police station, arrested Sri Ramisetti China Lakshmayya, Arlapadu village, Sri Ramisetti Narasayya, Arlapadu, and Sri Katigala Galayya of Arlapadu village and sent thorn for remand, subsequently on or about 17 December 1953. Shortly afterwards, on behalf of those three persons, Sri Miriyala Narasayya turned up before you and urged that those three persons were innocent and requested you to let them off. You promised to help them on condition of your being paid a bribe of Rs. 150. Thereby (you), in gross abuse of your position and actuated by corrupt motives, demanded the bribe and made Sri Miriyala Narasayya alias Naraslmham, Tiruvur, agree to pay the sum.
Charge (I)(a):-In pursuance of your demand from and settlement of bribe with Sri Miriyala Narasayya alias Narasimham mentioned in charge I (a) above, on 6 January 1954, you, in gross dereliction of your duty and with dishonest and improper motives when you visited Tiruvur, you exercised undue influence on the sub-inspector of police. Tiruvur, and thereby induced and compelled him to write a reply to the taluk magistrate that he had no objection to release (on bail) of the accused who were in remand in Crime No. 115 of 1953 (i.e., Sri Ramisetti China Lakshmayya, Sri Ramisetti Narasayya and Sri Katigala Galayya) and who had applied before the magistrate for ball. But for your inducement and undue influence, the sub-Inspector would have sent his original report which he had written already, viz., ' the offence is punishable up to transportation for life, hence will raise objection for the bail.'
Charge I (c):-In view of your having exercised undue influence on the sub-inspector of police. Tiruvur, the taluk magistrate released Sri Ramisetti China Lakshmayya, Sri Ramasetti Narasayya and Sri Katigala Galayya on bail. For having got this act done, you received the bribe of Rs. 150 from Sri Ramisetti Narasayya on or about 6 January 1954, as already bargained for and settled by you with Sri Mlriyala Narasayya alias Narasimham as mentioned is charge I (a), Sri Ramisetti Narasayya paid that bribe to you in the presence of Sri Miriyala Narasayya alias Narasimham. When receiving the bribe you assured Sri Miriyala Narasayya that you would do all in your power to help the accused to escape punishment; in the case and directed them to go to the sub-inspector, Tiruvur, to whom you had already given instructions to help the accused.
Charge I (d):-As a result of your undue influence on the sub-inspector, Tiruvur, and your instructions to him, he improperly referred the case as undetectable on 30 January 1954 and also reported to you that he had referred it as false with a view to please you. Thus, you instigated and abetted the sub-inspector of police, Tiruvur, in the above improper and illegal act.
5. The tribunal after holding the enquiry as contemplated by Rule 8 of the Andhra Civil Services (Disciplinary Proceedings Tribunal) Rules, 1953, sent its findings to the Government of Andhra Pradesh finding the accused officer guilty of charge while acquitting him of the second charge. The Government of Andhra Pradesh in their Memorandum No. 47/56/1 dated 14 December 1956, Home (S.C.), called upon the petitioner to show cause why in view of the findings of the tribunal, he should not be compulsorily retired from service on proportionate pension. Thereupon, the petitioner submitted his explanation. After considering his explanation, the State Government passed orders compulsorily retiring the petitioner from service. It is to quash this order that the present writ petition is filed.
6. The argument pressed upon us by Sri Dhanurbhanudu in support of this petition is that the tribunal was not justified in acting on the statements of P.Ws. 3 to 6 recorded by the X Branch department, who went back upon them and deposed before the tribunal that no illegal gratification was paid to the delinquent officer. It is maintained by him that Rule 8 of the Andhra Civil Service (Disciplinary Proceedings Tribunal) Rules, 1953, provides that such statements could only be used for contradicting witnesses and not as substantive evidence. In support of this petition, reliance is also placed on the observation of a Bench of this Court in Joga Rao v. State of Madras A.W.R. (II) 978 that statements before the C.I.D. officers could only be used for cross-examining witnesses and they could not be relied upon as substantive evidence. The learned Judges made this passing observation while rejecting the contention of the petitioner therein that prejudice was (?) caused to him by such statements having been used as substantive evidence, in the view that no such use was made by the tribunal. It is unnecessary for us to express any final opinion on this question. We are convinced that, even if they are excluded, the evidence of the sub-inspector taken in conjunction with the attendant circumstances, could lead to the conclusion that the officer was guilty of the charge framed against him. Further, the rules of evidence are not applicable to inquiries conducted by the Tribunal for Disciplinary Proceedings, Such tribunals are required to follow only rules of natural justice in the conduct of inquiries. It could not be said that the principles of natural justice have been violated by calling in aid statements made by these witnesses at the earliest opportunity.
7. Therefore, we do not find any justification to quash the order based on the report of the tribunal on the ground that it is vitiated as inadmissible evidence was let in. It has not resulted in any failure of justice.
8. Another branch of the argument of Sri Dhanurbhanudu was that the statements recorded by the X Branch were hit at by Section 162, Criminal Procedure Code. This contention is utterly devoid of substance, for, Section 162, Criminal Procedure Code, has no application to departmental enquiries. It cannot be said that the X Branch was holding an investigation into any crime or offence. This contention, therefore, does not merit any farther consideration.
9. Further, it is not denied that the petitioner had been afforded every opportunity and there has been no violation of Article 311 of the Constitution at all. If the petitioner is aggrieved that the order compulsorily retiring him from service was a wrongful one, it is open to him to pursue other remedies that are available to him to vindicate his rights. This is not a proper case for the exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.
10. We may also dispose of another submission of Sri Dhanurbhanudu, namely, that the Government ought to have furnished the petitioner with a copy of the letter of the Inspector-General of Police referred to in the final order of the Government compulsorily retiring the petitioner. We do not think that this argument is admissible. We are now told that the letter referred to is the one sent by the Inspector-General forwarding confidential sheets relating to the officer's service to Government as desired by them. That does not throw any light on the guilt or otherwise of the officer. We are unable to see how this letter would have helped him in his defence. For all these reasons, we see no justification to interfere with the order in question.
11. In these circumstances, the petition is dismissed with costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 150.