1. This is a petition by an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police against the order, dated the 18th August, 1952, of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Orissa dismissing him from the Police Force of Orissa.
2. On or about the 31st August 1949 the Deputy Superintendent of Police framed charges against the petitioner for dishonestly misappropriating certain articles kept in charge of Rayaghada Government Railway Police Station where the petitioner wag then working. In the charge he was asked to show cause 'why he should not be dismissed from the Police Force' for that offence. The petitioner showed cause. There was then a departmental enquiry by the Subordinate Police officers and definite findings were arrived at, to the effect that the petitioner was guilty of the charge. Thereupon, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police who is presumably the authority competent to dismiss the petitioner, issued the following notice to him :
' Office of the inspector-General of Police,
A. S. I. K. Rajagopal Rao of G.R.P.
A copy of the finding in proceeding No. 22 dated 29-8-49 against you is hereby issued to you.
You are called upon to show cause within a fortnight from the date of receipt of this order why the proposed penalty of dismissal, removal or reduction, should not be inflicted upon you'.
Sd. N.N. Roy,
A.I.G. of Police, Orissa.'
This notice was undoubtedly issued in purported compliance with Article 311(2) of the Constitution. The petitioner did not show cause against the proposed punishment, and then the Assistant Inspector-General of Police passed an order of dismissal. On appeal the dismissal order was slightly modified so far as the date from which it was to take effect was concerned, but that does not affect the constitutional question raised on behalf of the petitioner before this Court.
3. Mr. Murty on behalf of the petitioner rightly contended that a notice under Article 311(2) must contain a clear statement about the exact punishment which the competent authority tentatively considers to be necessary so that the delinquent public servant may get an opportunity to show cause against that proposed punishment. If, however, the notice refers to three alternative forms of punishment, the delinquent public servant cannot know which punishment has been tentatively decided upon and he will not be able to show cause effectively.
4. In the notice dated the 21st July, 1951three forms of punishment have been proposed,namely (1) dismissal, (2) removal, and (3) reduction. The notice does not say which of theaforesaid three punishments was tentatively decided upon. It is impossible for the delinquentpublic servant to show cause against all the threeproposed punishments. The petitioner may,therefore reasonably urge that he could notshow any cause effectively inasmuch as he wasnot sure as to what exactly was the punishmentwhich the competent authority proposed to passon him.
5. In the well-known High Commissioner for India v. I.M. Lall's case, A. I. R. 1948 P.C. 121 (A) their Lordships of the Privy Council while construing analogous provisions in the Government of India Act 1935 pointed out that as soon as the competent authority comes to a definite conclusion as to the charges, it should provisionally determine the actual punishment to follow, and then give notice to the delinquent public servant to show cause against that punishment.
That punishment must be one of thosedescribed in Rule 49 of the Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules and cannot be a combination of two or three punishments as described in that Rule.
6. I would therefore hold that there was failure to comply with the provisions of Article 311(2) of the Constitution and that the order of dismissal is invalid and inoperative. The departmental proceedings against the petitioner are restored to the stage at which they were on the 21st July, 1951, prior to the issue of the notice under Article 311(2). The appropriate authority may dispose of the case according to law.
7. The petition is allowed with costs. Hearing fee is assessed at Rs. 100/- (Rupees one hundred only).
8. I agree.