R. Chandra, J.
1. This is a defendant's appeal, and arises out of a suit for declaration.
2. Kama Kant Shukla filed the suit alleging that on 20th July 1954, he was posted as a constable at police station Gur Buxganj, district Rae Barcili and was charged by the District Superintendent of Police, that he between 5th and 7th September. 1953 assisted S. O Agya Ram Tewari in extorting a bribe of Rs. 660 from nine persons, in the murder case of Sheo Ram Lodh. As a result of the departmental trial held under Section 7 of the Police Ad. the Superintendent of Police on 10-11-1954, recommended for his reduction to the lowest grade for three years. The Deputy Inspector General issued notice to show cause why the punishment be not enhanced to dismissal. Thereupon he (the plaintiff) submitted his explanation, but the same was rejected, and he was dismissed from service on 21-5-1955 He also filed an appeal to the Inspector General of Police but it was dismissed on 9-9-1955. It was said that serious illegalities and irregularities were committed in conducting the trial, and the entire proceedings were vitiated On these grounds, a decree for declaration wasclaimed that his dismissal was illegal and ultra vires ab initio
3. The suit was contested by the Government, on a variety of grounds. On the pleadings of the parties the learned Munsif framed the following issues
1. Whether the dismissal of plaintiff is illegal and ultra vires on the grounds alleged in the plaint?
2. Whether plaintiff is entitled to declaration alone?
3. To what relief, if any, is plaintiff entitled?
4. The Munsif found that the dismissal of the plaintiff was neither illegal nor ultra vires. No finding was recorded on issue No. 2. In this view, he refused to grant any relief to the plaintiff. Being aggrieved with that order, the plaintiff went up in appeal. The learned Civil Judge disagreed with the findings of the Munsif. He found that the departmental proceedings conducted against the plaintiff were in contravention of the mandatory provisions of Paragraph 486 of the Police Regulations, and for that reason his dismissal was illegal and ultra vires. On these findings, he decreed the plaintiff's suit for declaration. Against that order, the present appeal is directed.
5. The only submission made on behalf of the appellant is, that there was no bar in conducting the departmental trial under Section 7 of the Police Act, even before the acceptance of the final report, and the only essential was, that the punishment could be awarded after such acceptance.
6. There appears to be no dispute about the facts The D I. G. ordered investigation into the charges of extortion levelled against Ram Agya Tewari S. O., and Rama Kant Shukla (plaintiff-respondent) As a result of that investigation, charge-sheet was submitted against both, to the Superintendent of Police. He forwarded it to the D. I. G. On 10th June. 1954, he ordered that the charge-sheet be cancelled, and a final report be submitted. He also directed that departmental proceedings be taken against Rama Kant Shukla. On 20th July, 1954, departmental charge-sheet was served on him (Rama Kant Shukla) The charge against him was that he helped the Station Officer in extorting a bribe of Rs. 660. As a result of the departmental proceedings the findings were recorded by the Superintendent of Police on 10-11-1954. He made a recommendation that Rama Kant Shukla be reduced to the lowest scale of pay in the time scale for constables, for a period of three years. The final report was actually submitted on 11-11-1954, and was accepted on 12-11-1954. The final order about the reduction to the lowest rank was passed on 13-11-1954 after giving an opportunity to Shukla to show cause against the recommendation Eventually, the punishment was enhanced to dismissal by the D I. G . after service of the show cause notice The order of dismissal was actually passed on 21st May. 1955 The primary question for consideration in the present appeal is whether the departmental proceedings which started on 20th July 1954 and were conducted till 10-11-1954, were vitiated on the ground that the final report was accepted only on 12-11-1954. According to the lower appellate court, the departmental proceedings could be started only after the final report had been accepted.
7. The relevant portion from Paragraph 486 of the Police Regulations, may be reproduced below:
'I. Every information received by the police relating to the commission of a cognizable offence by a police officer shall be dealt with in the first place under Chapter XIV, Criminal Procedure Code, according to law a case under the appropriate section being registered in the police station concerned provided that-
................................................ (4) on the conclusion of the investigation and before the report required by Section 173, Criminal Procedure Code, is prepared, the question whether the officer charged should or should not be sent for trial shall be decided by the Superintendent of Police, provided that before an officer whose dismissal would require the concurrence of the Deputy Inspector General under paragraph 479 is sent for trial by the Superintendent of Police, the concurrence of the Deputy Inspector General must be obtained;
(5) the charge-sheet or final report under Sections 173, or Section 169. Criminal Procedure Code, as the case may be shall be sent to the District Magistrate; if the Superintendent of Police or the Deputy Inspector General has decided against a prosecution a note by the Superintendent of Police giving the reasons for his decision, shall be endorsed on or attached to the final report;
(6) when the reason for not instituting a prosecution is that the charge is believed to be baseless, no further action will be necessary if the charge is believed to be true and a prosecution is not undertaken owing to the evidence being considered insufficient or for any other reason the Superintendent may when the final report under Section 173, Criminal Procedure Code, has been accepted by the District Magistrate, take departmental action as laid down in paragraph 490 ................................................
8. It is now well settled that the provisions of the Police Regulation are mandatory. In State of Uttar Pradesh v. Babu Ram Upadhya, AIR 1961 SC 751 it was held:
'Para 486 is mandatory and if the investigation has not been held under Chapter XIV of the Criminal Procedure Code, the subsequent inquiry and the order of dismissal are illegal '
On behalf of the appellant, it has been contended that the term 'departmental action' occurring in Paragraph 486 of the Police Regulations simply meant 'the departmental punishment' and not 'the departmental proceedings'. There appears to be no serious dispute that 'departmental action' could be taken only afterthe final report had been accepted by the District Magistrate. In the instant case, as already pointed out earlier the departmental proceedings were actually started before the acceptance of the final report. 'Take departmental action' under Paragraph 486, has been further qualified by the term 'as laid down in para 490'. It simply meant, that after the final report was accepted departmental action could be taken as prescribed under Para 490 of the Police Regulations By no stretch of imagination, it could be said, that 'departmental action' only connoted the last order, namely the punishment Paragraphs 489 and 490 lay down the procedure for departmental trial. Even Paragraph 492 lays down:
'Whenever a police officer has been judicially tried, the Superintendent must await the decision of the judicial appeal, if any before deciding whether further departmental action is necessary '
Till the final report had been accepted by the District Magistrate it could not be said that the prosecution proposed to be launched had been dropped From all this, the intention appears to be that the 'departmental action' as prescribed under Paragraph 490, was to be taken only after the final report had been accepted by the District Magistrate It is difficult to accept that 'departmental action' only meant 'punishment' and not the 'entire departmental proceedings' prescribed under the Police Regulations
9. The lower appellate court in support of its view also relied on the following passage, from Mohd Umar v. I G of Police 1957 All LJ 603=(AIR 1957 All 767):
'After the conclusion of the investigation under Section 157 and before the report required by Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code is prepared the Superintendent of Police has to decide the question whether the Police Officer concerned should or should not be sent for trial At that stage before taking of final decision he has to consult the Deputy Inspector General in case his concurrence is necessary for the dismissal of the officer He has also to send a note to the District Magistrate giving his reasons if he decided not to prosecute the man The final report under Section 173 Cr. P C, has to be accepted by the District Magistrate. After it has been so accepted the question whether departmental proceedings are necessary has to be taken up '
From this decision also, it follows that the question whether the departmental proceedings had to be taken was to be decided after the final report had been accepted In the instant case the departmental proceedings were vitiated as they were actually started before the final report was accepted In the circumstances the view taken by the lower appellate court is perfectly correct
10. No other point was pressed
11. The appeal is devoid of merit, and must fail Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed with costs