1. Petitioner, a graduate was selected as a sub-inspector (Civil Police) cadet for training in, and joined, the Police Training College, Moradabad, in April 1962, Principal of the College, who is a Deputy Inspector-General, expelled him from the college on December 15, 1962, for misconduct. As long as that order is there, he cannot complete the training; and until he completes the training, he is ineligible for appointment as a sub-inspector. So he has filed this petition to remove the order from his way.
2. The petition was initially heard by a single Judge. He has referred it to a larger Bench, Hence the petition has come before us. It appears to us from the referring order that the whole case has been referred to us for decision.
3. There was a scuffle between the petitioner and two other cadets. S.N. Misra and O.P. Sharma, in the barrack on December 13, 1962. The petitioner is expelled on account of disorderly conduct in the scuffle. His grievance is that he has been expelled without fair hearing.
4. The case against the petitioner was investigated by B.M. Sharma, Senior Professor of the College There is some dispute between the parties about the exact course of the procedure followed by B.M. Sharma during the enquiry. But two essential facts are clear beyond any doubt; one, the petitioner and the other two cadets were asked by B.M. Sharma to write out their version of the incident, and they did tender their version forthwith; two, the petitioner did not get any opportunity to cross-examine them as well as two other cadets. Y. Singh and P. Singh, whose statements were recorded sometime later behind his back.
5. The record before us does not disclose that a written charge-sheet was given to the petitioner before he was asked by B M. Sharma to state in writing his version of the incident. Presumably B. M. Sharma had orally apprised him of the misconduct of which he was accused. At all events the enquiry had followed in the wake of the incident and the whole thing was then so fresh and vivid in his mind that the want of a charge-sheet could cause little prejudice to him in his defence. Indeed that is not his real grievance.
6. The sting of his grievance is in the fact that he has been expelled on the untested testimony of the four cadets in contravention of the principles of natural justice. The right of cross-examination is anchored by him to Rule 23 of the U. P. Police Training College Manual, Part III.
7. Respondents counter the argument in two ways: (1) that Rule 23 is not law but only a departmental instruction; and (2) that if it is law, it does not provide for a hearing.
8. Re-- (1): The Manual does not disclose its pedigree. But it also does not profess to bea set of departmental instructions. Section 8 of the Police Act, 1861, provides that
'the entire police-establishment under a Stale Government ...... shall consist of such numberof officers and men, and shall be constituted in such manner, as shall from time to time be ordered by the State Government.'
Clause (c) of Sub-section (2) of Section 46 of that Act enables the State Government to make rules for giving effect to the provisions of the Act. By virtue of that provision the State Government may make rules regulating the manner of constituting the police establishment. Prima facie it seems to us that the rules in the Manual including Rule 23 could be made under Section 46(2)(c). But we do not propose to decide the question, for we think that our answer to the second argument of the respondents is determinative of the case.
9. Re.-- (2): Aside of Rule 23 the petitioner cannot and has not claimed the right of cross-examination. So we turn to Rule 23, assuming it to be of statutory effect. Rule 23 pertinently reads:
'(ii) Cadets guilty of disobedience of orders, misconduct subversive of discipline or remissness or negligence in the performance of their duties shall be liable to any or all of the following punishments:
(a) Suspension and expulsion from the college by the principal in anticipation of confirmatory orders from the Inspector-General to whom a full report shall be submitted without delay.
This punishment shall be reserved for gross misconduct of flagrant and repeated breaches of discipline.
(b) Removal from the college with the prior sanction of the Inspector-General.
This punishment should ordinarily be awarded to a cadet who in the judgment of the principal is unlikely to become an efficient sub-inspector of police.
(c) Reduction of rank (in the ease of Section Commanders).
(d) Stoppage of leave concessions
(e) Extra Parades.
(iii) Promoted cadets shall be liable, in addition to the above punishments, to the punishments, defined in Sections 7 and 29 of Act V of 1861.
10. It may at once be noticed that Rule 33 does not expressly include or exclude cross-examination of adversary witnesses. It is a question of construction whether the right of cross-examination 11 implicit in the rule.
11. As in all questions of statutory construction, the scheme and context of Rule 23 will have to be examined. The Manual consists of six chapters. Ch. I deals with objects, classes of cadets, their selection and admission to the college and their pay, allowances and outfit. Rules 1 and 2 of this chapter are material. Rule 1 declares the objects motivating the institution of the college. The rule declares that the Manual contains rules governing the nomination and admission to the college of candidates for sub-inspectorship in the Civil Police, called cadets. It also contains rules for the training, education and examination of cadets in the college. The rule then goes on to elucidate that the course of training is not designed to turn out 'fully qualified' investigating officers.
'The aim of the course is to educate cadets in the duties and responsibilities of a police officer, to give them a grounding in criminal law and police administration, to inculcate habits of discipline, initiative and self-reliance and to foster in them a sense of espirit de corps, loyalty and duty.' Rule 2 provides for three classes of cadets;
1. Public cadets selected directly from the public;
2. Promoted cadets selected from the police force;
3. Foreign cadets. Ch. II deals with the admission of foreign cadets to the college Ch. III deals with residence, internal economy and discipline. We have already read Rule 23 of this chapter Rule 21 charges the Principal with the duty of maintaining discipline. Chapters IV and V are not relevant. Ch. VI deals with posting of cadets to and training in districts and their confirmation. R 40 provides that a public cadet posted for practical training in a district holds no substantive appointment. At the end of his practical training a cadet is appointed as a probationary sub-inspector.
12. We are unable to discern in the language of Rule 23 a silhouette of the right of cross-examination. The words 'guilty' and 'punishments are neutral expressions. That punishment may be imposed by an objective standard for misconduct or inefficiency does not carry the matter any further Radheyshyam, v. State of M.P : 1SCR1440 . Do we not often find people guilty and punish them without permitting cross-examination of the adversary witness? The law permits the master to dismiss his servant for fault without any hearing The Prime Minister may dismiss his cabinet colleague for fault without hearing. In these instances the dismissal may blast the career of the servant or the minister and assassinate their character. Courts often hold men guilty and punish them on the uncross-examined evidence of experts.
13. Rule 23 lumps together several kinds of punishments. Only two of them, expulsion and removal, are severe; the rest are trivial. It is difficult to believe that the rule-making authority intended to apply the trial-like procedure of hearing in those cases. The mix-up of severe and trivial punishments would discount the idea of cross-examination.
14. The word 'cadet in the rule and Rule to suggest that a person in training is not a Government servant. He has no right to receive training in the college. Government selects him for sub-inspectorship and sends him for training to the college not for his benefit but primarily in the public interest (see Rule 1). So he is proffered a mere privilege to receive training in the college And a privilege may generally be withdrawn with out a full-fledged trial.
15. Unlike Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U. P. Allahabad v. Ghanshyam Das Gupta : AIR1962SC1110 the cadet's expulsion from the college does not blast his career. A public cadet misses the chance of becoming a sub-inspector, but all other avenues remain open tohim. A promoted cadet retains his substantive post in the police force. A foreign cadet may not even lose the chance of being a sub-inspector if his State Government is disposed to send him to another State's college; at any rate all other avenues remain open to him.
16. So far we have been examining the object and context. They do not yield the right of cross examination by implication.
17. A cadet is posted for practical training in a district after he has qualified from the college. On the completion of his training he is appointed as a sub-inspector on probation. Rule 537 of the Police Regulations provides that a Deputy Inspector-General of Police may discharge or revert him to his substantive rank in the police-force if he considers the probationer unfit for permanent appointment as a sub-inspector. The only procedure for discharge or reversion is that he should question the probationer and record his statement. If a probationary sub-inspector can be discharged or reverted for unfitness so summarily, a fortiori a cadet may be expelled from the college in like manner.
18. In the end, it is to be remembered that we are dealing with a problem concerning the police force. The rule of cross-examination is not prima facie suited to its soil. The training traditions, exigencies and history of the police-force, tike those of the army, appear to us to be inhibitory of the transplantation of the rule there by a sidewind.
19. We have been referred to a large number of decided cases. It is not necessary to mention all of them because we feel that decisions concerning areas other than the police-force and domestic tribunals other than Principal of the Police Training College may not be a safe guide in the present case Natural justice is not an uncompromising virtue. In some adjudicatory areas and in some cases it may be observed with all its attributes; Kesoram Cotton Mills Ltd. v. Gangadhar, Civil Appeals Nos : (1963)IILLJ371SC in some others, partially; State of Mysore v Shivabasappa Shivappa : (1964)ILLJ24SC and in yet others not at all. Dr. N.B. Khare v. State of Delhi : 1SCR519 .
20. Reference must, however, be made to two decisions: Ghanshyam Das Gupta's case : AIR1962SC1110 and Ridge's case, Ridge v. Baldwin, (1963) 2 WLR 935, for they are the coping-stone of the petitioner's arguments.
21. Both of them are distinguishable from the present case. In both of them there was no hearing whatsoever, while in the present case the petitioner submitted his case in writing. In the first case : AIR1962SC1110 the right to education was directly affected; the right to livelihood and the right to reputation were consequentially involved. It is needless to say that the right to education is a basic right in a democracy. In the present case a mere privilege is directly withdrawn. And the privilege is not inter-twined with the right to livelihood and the right to reputation. Unlike Rule 23, the regulation there was confined to grave punishments. Some other differences have already been discussed earlier. In the second case, (1963)2 WLR 935, Ridge could not be dismissed from service except for misconduct. The context of regulations in that case is wanting here. His right to pension was also involved. Thus a substantial interest was at stake there. Neither case is therefore helpful to the petitioner.
22. For the reasons already stated we are of opinion that Rule 23 does not envisage a trial-type of hearing. The denial of cross-examination does not render illegal the order of expulsion. The petition is accordingly dismissed with costs.