Inder Dev Dua, J.
1. The petitioners who are brothers have approached this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution for an appropriate writ, direction or order directing the respondents to remove the names of the petitioners from Register No. 10, Police Act, on the following allegations.
2. The father of the petitioners Dr. Faqir Singh was a retired Surgeon from Government service. The petitioners are joint and are also living together whereas their three other brothers are separate from them. S. Harcharanjit Singh elder brother of the petitioners is educated upto B. A. standard and is a member of the Gram Panchayat as also of Block Samiti. Another brother of theirs S. Narinjdarpal Singh is a Hawaldar in the Indian Army. The petitioners and their brothers own about 70 acres of land and another area of about 40 acres is mortgaged with them with possession. The two petitioners were liquor licensees up to 31-3-1962, having held such licences for nearly six years. Last year they paid a sum of Rs. 35,000/- by way of licence fee. In 1057-58 they held three liquor licences at three different places. From 1-4-1962, the petitioners have started transport business, having given up the liquor shop. Now, they own two motor trucks which are being plied as public carriers. They own a jeep car for their own use. Kuldip Singh petitioner also claims to be a gun-licensee for the last about seven years. One of the petitioners' cousin brothers by name S. Gurcharan Singh is a Colonel in the Indian Army and their brother-in-law S, Surjan Singh a Captain. S. Harnam Singh, a paternal uncle of theirs, is a retired Divisional Personnel Officer in the Indian Railways and his son S. Raghbir Singh is in the Indian Administrative Service. The petitioners thus claim to belong to a fairly respectable family.
3. S. Shamsher Singh, Station House Officer of Police Station village Khamanon, Tehsil Samrala, District Ludhiana, respondent No. 2, was transferred to the said police station in 1960. At that time, the petitioners were running a shop of licensed liquor in village Sanghol within the jurisdiction of Khamanon Police Station. The Station House Officer used to send for liquor off and on from the petitioners' shop through various messengers without paying for the same. The petitioners for about 3 or 4 months did4 not ask for the price of the liquor supplied to the Station House Officer but thereafter realising that he had no intention of paying the price, the petitioners declined to supply the same to him. This naturally made respondent No. 2 inimical towards, the petitioners. On 5-3-1961, respondent No. 2 raided the petitioners' house as also those of the petitioners' brothers including that of S. Harcharanjit Singh who is the petitioner's elder brother. Respondent No. 2 did so acting on the complaint of one Ram Murti who is against the petitioners and belongs to the opposite faction. But nothing incriminating was found during the search.
S. Harcharanjit Singh thereupon served a notice under Section 80, Civil Procedure Code, on S. Shamsher Singh, respondent No, 2, and the Punjab Government for damages to the tune of Rs. 5,000./.- on account of mala fide action of the former. This was done on 28-3-1961. Respondent No. 2 being the Station House Officer thereafter sent for Tarlochan Singh, petitioner on 3-4-1961 and threatened him with grave consequences for the service of the notice by his brother. Kuldip Singh petitioner thereupon sent an application to the Chief Minister, Punjab on 6-4-1961 complaining against the conduct of respondent No. 2. An attempt was also made by respondent No. 2 in 1961 ' to involve the petitioners' brother S. Harcbaranjit Singh in a case under the Excise Act for the alleged recovery of crushed poppy-heads from a khola near his house. Respondent No. 2 tried to implicate the petitioners' brother but it so happened that the Inspector of Police himself came to the spot for verifying the investigation and in the result he directed cancellation of the case because of want of material.
Respondent No. 2 then got a complaint under Section 506, Indian Penal Code, lodged against the petitioners by Hardowari Lal son of the aforesaid Ram Murti and also recommended cancellation of Kuldip Singh's gun-licence which was actually suspended on 19-4-1962. On a representation having been made by the petitioner to the Additional District Magistrate, however, the gun-licence was restored on 3-7-1961. On 7-7-1962, respondent No. 2 again managed recovery of some crushed poppy heads from the same khola near the petitioner's house, as mentioned above, and openly declared that if he could get about two witnesses he would implicate the petitioners in the matter. According to the writ petition, up to September, 1962, when this writ petition was presented in this Court no witness had come forward to depose against the petitioners. Kuldip Singh, it is averred, sent another application to the Chief Minister complaining about Shamsher Singh's action. In July or August, 1961, Kesar Singh, Chand Singh, Sarwan Singh and other committed lurking house trespass by night in the petitioners' liquor shop in respect of which a case was got registered under Sections 458-459, Indian Penal Code. Kuldip Singh petitioner had also been inflicted incised wounds by the said accused persons as a result of which he was admitted in a hospital.
In spite of the seriousness of the offence respondent No. 2 did not care to complete the investigation and put in the challan for nearly eight or nine months, with the result that the material witnesses were won over by the accused persons and the chances of success became remote. Actuated by malice, as would be obvious from the details given above, respondent No. 2 so proceeds the writ petition, has now placed the petitioners in the list of bad characters maintained under Section 10 of the Police Act and their history-sheets have been opened in the police station.
Respondent No. 2 has, as a result, directed the Lambardars and Chowkidars of village Sanghol to watch the petitioners' movements and call them out every night, with the result that their movements are watched and they are constantly shadowed by the police. This, according to the petitioners' allegation, has been done in order to harass the petitioners. A representation has also been sent by respectable people of the village and of surrounding villages to the Chief Minister and the Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana on 26-8-1962 bringing to the notice the status and respectable position of the petitioners in the society and the conduct of respondent No. 2, but so far no relief has been given to them.
4. In reply we have only the affidavit of respondent No. 2, the Superintendent of Police, respondent No. 1, having not cared to file any written statement. In reply it is admitted that Harcharanjit Singh a member of the village Panchayat and also of the Block Samiti and that the petitioners were liquor licensees up to 31-3-1962. Respondent No. 2 has, however, denied knowledge about the assertion that the petitioners are now plying two motor trucks as public carriers and that they own a jeep car for their own use. It has, however, been admitted that Kuldip Singh petitioner is a gun-licensee but the other assertions made about various other relatives of the petitioners holding respectable positions in life have not been admitted on the plea of want of knowledge. In reply to the assertion that the petitioners had never been suspected or accused of any offence up-to-date respondent No. -2 has averred that the petitioners were arrested along with some others in the case relating to F. I. R. No. 2 dated 2-1-1955 under Sections 376/363/366, Indian Penal Code, Police Station, Khamanon but they were both discharged because the abducted girl had been found to be a major.
The petitioners were again arrested on 28-11-1962 in the case initiated by F. I, R. No. 50 dated 7-7-1962 under Sections 971/78. This case, according to the reply, is still pending investigation. In the course of the investigation of this case, according to the reply, 59 1/2 bags of poppy heads were recovered. It may here be mentioned that this arrest was obviously effected after the admission of this writ petition on 29th October, 1962. Respondent No. 2 has denied the assertion that he was posted at Police Station Khamanon in 1960 and has asserted that he was posted there only in January, 1961. He has also denied the allegations about his having sent for liquor from the petitioners' shop and has claimed to be a teetotaler. In reply to the allegation regarding the raid on 5-3-1961, it has been pleaded that respondent No. 2 had received credible information against the petitioners and on registering F. I. R. No. 10, dated 25-3-1961 raided the petitioners' 1 houses. It has, however, been admitted that nothing. incriminating was recovered as a result of the search and also that in consequence no action was taken. Action on the complaint of Ram Murti has, however, been described to be incorrect.
To be understood to read as Section 9 of the Opium Act, 1878 (1 of 1878) -- Ed.
Service of notice under Section 80, Civil Procedure Code, has been admitted but it has been denied that the respondent called Tarlochan Singh petitioner at the police station and threatened him with dire consequences. Kuldip Singh's complaint to the Chief Minister has also been admitted. Attempt to falsely implicate Harcharanjit Singh in an excise case has been denied and it has been asserted that secret information had been received against Harcharanjit Singh and others which resulted in registration of the case F. I. R. No. 10, but since evidence was insufficient, no arrest was made. It has been admitted that he (respondent No. 2) moved for the cancellation of Kuldip Singh's gun-licence and also that after its suspension it was restored by the Additional District Magistrate. In, regard to the case under Sections 458-459, Indian Penal Code, the investigation has been described to be very lengthy, but the case, according to the reply is now pending in Court. It has been denied that delay in completing the investigation was the result of malice against the petitioners.
Replying to the allegations relating to the entry of the petitioners' name in the list of bad characters maintained under Section 10 of the Police Act, it has been pleaded that 'the history sheets of the petitioners have been opened under the Orders of a G. O. of Police.' It has also been admitted that an application signed by respectable persons of the neighbouring villages was received by the respondents and that after making his report thereon he had sent it back to the authorities concerned. In para 17 of the reply again it has been repeated that 'history sheets of the petitioners have been opened under the orders of a G. O. of Police and have been opened without any malice towards the petitioners and are intra vires and the reasons given by the petitioners are also false and incorrect.
5. This case came up for hearing before us in the end of January but feeling dissatisfied with the reply,, we desired the respondents' counsel to give us fuller information about the circumstances in which the petitioners' names were directed to be entered in Register No. 10 because the plea that the history sheets of the petitioners have been opened 'under the orders of a G. O. of Police' did not create a happy impression on us. Today, the learned Counsel for the respondents has produced a copy of the document which, according to him, constitutes the basis for the impugned order placing the petitioners' name on the list of bad characters maintained under Section 10 of the Police Act. From this document, it appears that on 22-7-1962 S. Shamsher Singh, Station House Officer, respondent No. 2, reported that Tarlochan Singh son of Faqir Singh was a smuggler of poppy and opium bringing the same from U.P. for sale. The following instances of smuggling were then recorded and it was suggested that in the circumstances of the case it was necessary to keep a watch on him, and that, therefore, his history sheet should be kept and his name be entered in 'Basta Alif':
1. Case file No. 10 dated 25-3-1961 under Sections 9/1/78. This case, according to the not? failed because the recovery was from the adjoining house.
File No. 50 dated 7-7-1962 tinder Sections. 9/1/78 in connection with which 59 1/2 bags of poppy were recovered but there were no eye-witnesses and the case was still under investigation.
3. In three cases, according to this report, the accused persons had stated to have purchased, from the petitioners opium and poppy.
4. In 1951, the petitioner was arrested in a case under Sections 363/366, Indian Penal Code, but was discharged as a result of collusion with, the complainant.
On this report, there is a note dated 30-7-1962 'Discuss it when you come to H. Q.' bearing the initials 'G. S'. On 2-8-1962, there appears a further note under the signatures of Shri G. S. Bhullar recommending opening of history in bundle A. this is again .followed by the following, note dated 16-8-1962 under these signatures of Shri Harjit Singh S. P.: 'H. S. to be opened and placed in Bundle A.
6. Now, on the present record we do not know who is Shri G. S. Bhullar, though presumably he is D. S. P. of the area concerned, but the written statement filed by respondent No. 2, which is the only document constituting the return, does not clearly reveal it. No affidavit from Shri G. S. Bhullar has been produced before us nor have we any written statement or affidavit from the Superintendent of Police who is actually impleaded ass respondent No. x. Even the written statement filed by Shri Shamsher Singh, Station House Officer, respondent No. 2, does not disclose to this Court under which officer's orders he entered the petitioners' name on the register under Section 10, for, it may be recalled, he has merely stated in a most unsatisfactory and vague manner that the petitioners' history-sheet was opened under the orders of 'a G. O. of Police' : see paras 13 and 17 of his written statement.
7. Again, in the written statement the case under Sections 376/363/366, Indian Penal Code, has been stated to be based on F. I. R. No. 2 dated 2-1-1955 whereas in the report dated 22-7-1962 produced before us, which is attested on 30-1-1963 to be a true copy by a Magistrate 1st class, this case is stated to be of 2nd January, 1951 (four years prior to 1955). In that case, the-accused was admittedly discharged. The order of discharge has not been produced in this Court. Respondent No. 2, however, states in his written statement that the discharge was due to the fact that the girl was found to be major, but his state (sic) report of July, 1962, to his superior officers he appears to have represented that this was due to collusion with the complainant. This material not only does not give us a true picture of that case but the circumstances thereof which occurred in 1951, or even if it be presumed to have occurred in 1955, could not, in my view, constitute a valuable or even a very relevant piece of evidence or material which can justifiably serve as a basis for the impugned action in 1962. At any rate, it is not sufficient to establish the bona fides of respondent No. 3. Attempt to utilise this incident does seem to reflect mala fides on the part of respondent No, 2, who is indisputably the prime mover in the case.
8. The case of-March, 1961, is stated to have failed for want of recovery of any incriminating material: vide para 7 of the written statement. If this is so, then registration of this case, which, according to the petitioners, was dues entirely to the inimical and hostile attitude of respondent No. 2 towards them, seem to me also to be wholly insufficient to establish the respondents' bona fides. In the report of July, 1962 it was urged by respondent No. 2 that poppy heads had been recovered from a house adjoining that of the petitioners. It is not understood how this circumstance, without more, can constitute relevant material for the impugned action. To include this incident in the report in support of the proposed step also suggests mala fides of respondent No. 2.
9. Regarding the case of July, 1962, also, poppy-heads according to the report dated 22-7-1962, were recovered from a house adjacent to that of the petitioners, though respondent No. 2 thought that they belonged to the petitioners. There were, however, no eye-witnesses available and the matter was stated to be under investigation. In the written statement full facts have not been candidly disclosed because it is not stated, as would appear from the report of 22-7-1962, that poppy-heads had been recovered from the adjoining house, though believed by the Sub-Inspector to belong to the petitioners. The reply is apparently misleading and does not disclose an honest, full and true picture of the whole affair, for, it merely states that a case F. I. R. No. 50 under Sections 9/1/78 was registered and 59 1/2 bags of poppy heads recovered. On this record, in my opinion, the written statement suffers from the vice of want of uberrima fides. Another noteworthy feature of the above mentioned F. I. R. case is that pending this petition in this Court the petitioners were arrested on 28-11-1962. The petitioners' position is that this case has been revived because of the present proceedings. I need, however, say nothing on this allegation because, in my opinion, in the written statement full, fair and true disclosure of all the, relevant facts has not been made and the bona fides of the respondents have not been established. On the other hand, there seems to be a reasonable enough indication of the impugned action being mala fide.
10. It thus follows that the material placed before this Court by respondents does not appear to be relevant and adequate for justifying the impugned action, which must, therefore, be held to be mala fide.
11. The hostility and inimical attitude of respondent No, 2 towards the petitioners has also been suggested in the petition, by reference to the inordinate and deliberate delay in completing the case under Sections 458/459, Indian Penal Code, in which the petitioners were the aggrieved party. In the written statement, the investigation of the case has been described to be lawful and respondent No. 2 has disowned any deliberate undue delay on his pArticle No further illuminating information about the nature of the lengthy investigation and the reasons therefore have been disclosed in the written statement. Eight or nine months which admittedly seem to have passed apparently would show a delay which requires some convincing explanation. On the facts and circumstances of this case it was expected of respondent No. 2 to place more material for us to determine as to whether this delay was normal and in due course or attributable to respondent No. 2 as alleged in the petition.
12. But be that as it may, even if respondent No, 2 has not deliberately and for collateral or extraneous and personal reasons delayed the completion of this investigation, his mala fides appears to us to be satisfactorily established on the present record. I may mention here that the power of this Court to interfere in the present proceedings if the mala fides of the order is established has not been disputed or challenged.
13. Before parting with the case, I am constrained to point out that faith and confidence in the honesty and integrity of the police force in discharging their official duties and performing their official functions completely uninfluenced by personal likes or dislikes is indispensable and per-haps an essential prerequisite in all civilized countries adopting a democratic pattern of government and social order. It has often been stressed that the status of a country's civilization, is reflected by the efficiency, honesty, integrity and straightforwardness of its police force, and, in my opinion, it represents the correct criterion. In our Republic which has the rule of law for its basic and fundamental principle running throughout the fabric of our Constitution, this aspect is of still greater value. Keeping in view the past unfavorable heritage of the police force of this country in inspiring the confidence of the common man, it is all the more important that after independence and establishment of full democratic pattern of government the higher police officials should keep a close vigilance on the manner in which the subordinate ranks of this force discharge their duties and deal with the people, for, the future of this Republic will be determined by the extent to which its police force adapts itself to the democratic way of life and the pace at which this is done.
14. Without pursuing the matter any further, in my opinion, the impugned action has been inspired by collateral and extraneous motives and is, therefore, mala fide which must be quashed, and we order accordingly. There would, however, be no order as to costs of these proceedings.
Mehar Singh, J.
15. I agree.