A.P. Srivastava, J.
1. This is an appeal on behalf of Brij Raj Singh and Vindhyachal Rai against an order of Mr. Justice Mehrotra dated the 28th of September, 1956 by which he dismissed their petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution.
2. The two appellants were employed as constables in the Police Department and were posted at Khudaipura Outpost, Police Station Kotwali, district Ghazipur, in October 1954. They were alleged to have beaten Head Constable Bacha Ram at the Outpost while he was performing his duty as a Head Constable. They were also alleged to be guilty of indiscipline as they had submitted applications direct to the Deputy Inspector General of Police and not through the proper channel. On these facts two charges: were framed against them under Section 7 of the Police Act.
They were tried and both the charges were found established against them by the Superintendent of Police. He directed their dismissal. They went up in appeal to the Deputy Inspector General of Police and then in revision to the Inspector General of Police but without success. They therefore, filed the writ petition out of which this appeal has arisen and challenged the order of their dismissal mainly on the ground that the provisions of sub-para I of the paragraph 486 of the Police Regulations had not been followed in their case as was obligatory and that on that account their trial under Section 7 of the Police Act stood vitiated.
The learned Judge who heard the petition rejected the contention as he was of opinion that action against the appellants had been taken under sub-para III of para 486 of the Police Regulations which was an independent sub-para and was not restricted by sub-para 1 of that para. Against the order of the dismissal of their petition, the appellants have now come up in appeal.
3. It is contended by the learned counsel for the appellants that the view which Mr. justice Mehrotra took in respect of the two Sub-Paragraphs of Para 486 of the Police Regulations is not in conformity with the two subsequent Division Bench decisions of this Court - the first reported in Mohammad Umar v. Inspector General of Police, U.P. (S) : (1957)IILLJ470All and the other in Babu Ram v. U.P. Government : AIR1958All584 and that the decision under appeal is, therefore, liable to be set aside on account of the later rulings. Learned counsel for the respondents, however, put forward three grounds in support of his contention that the appeal should fail.
4. He has, in the first place, urged that a joint petition on behalf of both the appellants was not permissible and referred in support of this contention to Uma Shankar Rai v. Divisional Superintendent Northern Railway : AIR1960All366 .
5. His second contention was that the view taken by the learned Judge in respect of para 486 of the Police Regulations was correct and that] the two Division Bench cases on which the appellants relied needed reconsideration as they had omitted to take into consideration the fact that the servants of the Government held their offices at the pleasure of the Government and could lie dismissed at any time in the exercise of that pleasure. Para 486 of the Police Regulations was not mandatory and its breach could not give any right to the appellants to have recourse to this Court.
6. The third contention urged by the learned counsel was that, in any case, there were two charges framed against the appellants. So far as the second charge is concerned, no question of the breach of Para 486 could arise. The fact that their charge was established could not be disputed. It was open to the Police authorities to dismiss the appellants on the basis of that charge alone. The omission to observe the provisions of para 486 in respect of the first charge, therefore, became immaterial.
7. We have carefully heard the learned counsel for the respondents in support of his contentions and are unable to accept them.
8. So far as the first contention is concerned, it is true that as has been laid down in : AIR1960All366 the general rule is that two or more persons cannot join in a single writ petition as petitioners, but before that rule can be strictly applied to any case, the facts of that particular case will have to be taken into account. The facts of Uma Shankar's case, 1959 All LJ 864 : AIR 1960 All 368 do not appear from the reported decision but so far as the present case is concerned, we cannot overlook the facts that both the appellants were charged with offences which had been committed in a single transaction, both the appellants had been tried together under Section 7 of the Police Act and both of them had been dismissed by a single order-dated the 19th of April, 1955.
At the time when their1 petition was filed on the 22nd of June, 1956, there was no definite authority one way or the other on the question of maintainability of a joint petition. Even now there is no unanimity between the High Courts on the point. The objection to the maintainability of the petition on the ground that it had been made joint by two persons was taken, for the first time today. A counter affidavit was tiled in July, 1958, but this plea was not raised in that counter-affidavit. Under the circumstances, we feel that we will not be justified in allowing the point to be raised at this stage.
If election is directed now and the petition is treated as on behalf of only one of the two petitioners the other petitioner is likely to be seriously prejudiced as it may not be open to him to file a fresh petition after a lapse of more than four years. We, therefore, think that the petition should not be rejected in the circumstances of the present case on the ground that it was a joint petition and that two separate petitions were not filed.
9. The first information report lodged by the Head Constable Bacha Ram in respect of the incident which was the subject-matter of the first charge against the appellants is before us. On the allegation made in it, it cannot be-seriously disputed that the offence with which the appellants were charged was one punishable under Section 332 IPC. That offence is a cognizable offence. The question is what procedure should have been followed before the appellants could be tried for that charge under Section 7 of the Police Act.
Paragraph 486 of the Police Regulations has three Sub-paras. What is to be done if information is received about a cognizable offence having been committed is dealt with in Sub-para. I of the Paragraph. Sub-para. III empowers the Superintendent of Police in the circumstances mentioned in that Sub-para to take-action under Section 7 of the Police Act. The contention that has been pressed on behalf of the respondents is that the three sub-paras of para 486 are independent of each other and one does-not control the other.
This contention found favour with Mr. Justice Mehrotra. It was on that account that he dismissed the appellant's petition. The question what procedure to be followed when an allegation about a cognizable offence having been committed is made against a police officer was considered by a Division Bench of this Court in (S) : (1957)IILLJ470All . It was laid down in that connection:
Now the facts which constitute an offence under Section 7, may also constitute a cognizable offence. In that event unless the first proviso to sub-para. I is applied a case under the appropriate section must be registered in a police-station under that sub-para and dealt with under Ch. XIV of the Code. The offender may not., however, be brought to trial, for investigation may be refused under Section 157(1)(b) of the Code or a prosecution may not be instituted on the ground that the evidence is insufficient. In either of these cases we see no reason why the Superintendent of Police cannot proceed depart-mentally against the Officer concerned under sub-para. III provided of course that in a case in which a criminal prosecution is not instituted owing to lack of evidence the final report under Section 173 of the Code has been accepted by the District Magistrate. (P. 796)
9-A. The question again came up for consideration in : AIR1958All584 . In that case the charge was under Section 409, IPC a cognizable offence and as the necessary police investigation had not been done before the trial under Section 7 of the Police Act was started, it was held that the whole proceedings stood vitiated. It was argued that the rules laid down in the Police Regulations were only for the guidance of the authorities and their breach could not, therefore, vitiate the proceedings. The contention was not accepted and it was pointed out:
Para 486 finds a place in Ch. XXXII of the Police Regulations and para 477 with which the Chapter starts indicates that the rules in Chapter XXXII have been made under Section 7 of the Police Act and apply only to officers appointed under Section 2 of the Police Act (Act No. V of 1861). In view of the indication given in para 477 of the Police Regulations the rules embodied in Ch. XXXII have been framed under Section 7 of the Police Act and have the force of law and are not only directory or administrative (pp. 412-443 (of All LJ)) : (at p. 586 of AIR).
10. The argument that the three sub-paras of Para 486 of the Police Regulations are independent of each other has not impressed us at all. The whole paragraph has to be read together and the third Sub-paragraph has to be interpreted keeping in view the other two sub-paras. It cannot, therefore, be said that it was open to the Superintendent of Police in the present case to start proceedings under sub-para III without having any regard to the provisions of sub-para I.
If the offence which the appellants were alleged to have committed wag a cognizable offence, sub-para I of the rule was attracted and without following its provisions, it was, in our opinion, not open to the Superintendent of Police in the present case to start proceedings under sub-para III of the rule against the appellants. We have, therefore, no doubt that the provisions of Para 486 (I) of the Police Regulations were not observed in the present case and as has been held in Babu Ram Upadhya's case : AIR1958All584 , on that account the proceedings against the appellants stood vitiated.
11. Learned counsel for the respondents has, however, urged that the appellants held their offices at the pleasure of the Governor of the State and irrespective of what was laid down in the Police Regulations, it: was open- to the authorities to dismiss them on account of undesirable actions of theirs. The only limitation which was there on this power of dismissal was to be found in Article 311 of the Constitution. No other limitation could be put on that power.
11. In fee present case it has not been found that any breach of Article 311 was committed. The mere fact that some provisions in the Police Regulations were not followed cannot, therefore, entitle the appellants to question their dismissal. In support of this contention learned counsel for the respondents placed reliance on some observations made in a case of the Bombay High Court reported in S. Framji v. Union of India AIR 1960 Bom 14 and also in a decision of this Court to be found in Krishna Lal Dalela v. The Director of Education : (1960)ILLJ286All .
We have given our careful consideration to this argument and are of opinion that the observations relied upon are not applicable to the present case. Even if it be conceded that the appellants held their offices at the pleasure of the Governor, it is clear in the present case that they have not been dismissed in the exercise of the power vested in the authority on that ground. Here the appellants were officers of the Police Force appointed under Section 2 of the Police Act.
They have been dismissed as a result of a trial under Section 7 of the Police Act because they have been found guilty of remissness of duty and unfitness for the same within the terms of Section 7 of that Act. As pointed out in Babu Ram Upadhya's case : AIR1958All584 all the rules in Ch. XXXII of the Police Regulations including the one in para 486 have been framed under Section 7 of the Police Act and have the same force as that Statute.
Thus the appellants were dismissed by the Police authorities not in exercise of any general power but in the exercise of powers vested in them under the Police Act. The dismissal should, therefore, have been confirmed to the requirements of the Act and the rules framed thereunder. If the dismissal was not in conformity with the requirements of the Act or the rules, it must be held to be bad and cannot be allowed to stand.
Whether outside the provisions of the Police Act the authorities had any power to dismiss the appellants is not for us to consider in the present case because even if there is any such power it has not been exercised against the appellants. The authorities in the present case have not even purported to act in exercise of any such power. Neither of the two cases relied on arose with reference to the Police Act or the rules framed under that Act.
The observations made in those cases cannot, therefore, be of any help to the respondent in this case. In this view of the matter, it is not necessary for us to discuss in detail the two decisions on which the learned counsel for the respondents placed great reliance. As in the present case a breach was committed in respect of sub-para (1) of Para 486 of the Police Regulations, the appellants' trial under Section 7 of the Police Act became without jurisdiction and ought to have been quashed on that ground.
12. The third contention of the learned counsel was that there were two charges against the appellants and it was not contended on their behalf that any breach was committed in respect of any rule so far as the second charge was concerned. If that charge was established, the order dismissal could be passed on that basis. Learned counsel read out to us in extenso the order of the Inspector-General of Police dismissing the revision application filed by the appellants and said that the main allegation which he took into consideration was the charge of indiscipline which formed the subject matter of the second charge. He urged that if the appellants were guilty of indiscipline they could be dismissed even if the first charge was held to be not proved. He, therefore, urged that this Court should not exercise its discretion under Article 226 of the Constitution in favour of the appellants.
13. The answer to the argument of the learned counsel is furnished by a decision of this Court in Shri Rameshwar Dayal v. Regional Transport Authority Meerut : AIR1958All573 . In that case the transport permit issued to the appellants Rameshwar Dayal by the Regional Transport Authority was suspended for three months because two charges were held to be established against him. It was, however, found that 0Tle charge was not legally sustainable. The order of suspension was sought to be upheld on the ground that when the other charge was proved and the suspension ordered on the basis of that charge alone, the order could not be questioned on the ground that one of the two charges had not been, proved. Relying on the oft quoted observations of Farwell, L.J. in Rex v. Board of Education, 1910-2 KB 165 at p. 179, this Court observed as follows:
This Court, however, is not sitting in appeal against the decision of the transport authorities and cannot substitute its own view about the punishment for that taken by them. They thought that three months suspension of the appellant's permit would be proper punishment as two charges had been established. No one can say what their conclusion would have been had they been of the view that only one of the charges was established. It is also not known what view they would have taken, about the comparative gravity of the two charges levelled against the appellant. It was certainly in the discretion of the transport authorities to impose on the appellant any punishment under Section 60 of the Motor Vehicles Act which they considered reasonable to impose. In fixing the measure of punishment however they admittedly based their conclusion on the finding that the appellant had been guilty of both the breaches with which he had been charged. When he could not have been held guilty of one of the charges the considerations in respect of that charge became extraneous considerations and if such extraneous considerations were employed in deciding what punishment was to be imposed on the appellant, the entire order imposing the punishment can be held to have become void.
The facts of the present case are exactly similar, Here also two charges were framed against the appellants and both of them were found established. It was on the basis of both the charges that punishment of dismissal was imposed on them. If on account of the breach of the provisions of the Police Regulations the finding about one of the charges is vitiated, can it be said that the same punishment would have been given to the appellants even if only one charge was established against them? The other charge became an extraneous consideration which could not be taken into account at all while determining the measure of punishment to be meted out to the appellants. Under the circumstances, the whole order of the dismissal becomes void and is liable to be quashed.
14. All the three grounds on which the learned counsel for the respondents attempted to uphold the appellants' dismissal are thus untenable. The interpretation put by the learned single Judge on para 486 of the Police Regulations not being correct, we think that the appellants were justified in their contention that the order of their dismissal was void and was liable to be quashed by a writ of certiorari.
15. The appeal, therefore, succeeds. The writ petition filed by the appellants is allowed with costs and the orders sought to be impugned by it are quashed.