1. The petitioner was recruited as an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police in June, 1947, and was confirmed as such after three years. He was promoted to the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police in 1963 and was posted as Station House Officer, Sardar Panipat, district Karnal. In January, 1966, the petitioner was posted at the Police Station, Rajaund. One Shri Ram Saran son of Munshi Jat of village Rehra, who is serving in the Army, made an application through Military authorities against one Bhundu son of Mangal harijan of that village alleging that he had misappropriated Rupees 1500/- which had been advanced to him by his father. This application was sent to the Police Station, Rajaund, for necessary action and report. In order to investigate that complaint, the petitioner called Bhundu to the Police Station, and it is stated by the petitioner that the matter was compromised on the intervention of the members of the brotherhood of the village and a compromise-deed was executed. Bundu, however, filled a complaint under Sections 342, 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code against the petitioner and Ram Nath (Constable) on the allegation that his thumb-mark had been obtained by Ram Nath (Constable) forcibly after giving him a beating in the Police Station. This complaint was filed in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Kaithal, on February 11, 1965, The petitioner was summoned in that complaint by the learned Judicial Magistrate for March 12, 1965. On that day, the complainant, Shri Bhundu, was not, present and the petitioner was acquitted under Section 247 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Shri Bhundu sent a complaint direct to the Home Minister in February, 1965, which was sent to the Deputy Inspector General of Police by the Home Minister with a direction to make enquiries in the matter and report the result thereof. The Deputy Inspector General of Police forwarded the said complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Karnal, for enquiry and report, On March 12, 1965, the petitioner was summoned by the Superintendent of Police, Karnal, at the Rest House, Jaholi, for the purpose of the enquiry. The complainant and the witnesses did not turn up and the Superintendent of Police adjourned th enquiry to April 9, 1965, on which day he recorded the statements of Bhundu, Ratia and Phula. Thereafter, in June, 1965, the Superintendent of Police wrote to the District Magistrate, Karnal, for orders being passed under Rule 16. 38 (1) of the Punjab Police Rules (hereinafter called the Rules) as to whether a departmental enquiry should be made or whether the petitioner should be placed for trial in a Court of law. On June 16, 1965, the District Magistrate directed that the matter should be investigated by a Police Officer to be nominated by the Superintendent of Police, Karnal. On receipt of this order, the Superintendent of Police appointed Shri Rambail Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kaithal, to hold an enquiry. The said officer held the enquiry, and submitted his report on July 15, 1965, to the Superintendent of Police who, forwarded the same to the District magistrate, Karnal, for obtaining orders under Rule 16. 38 (2) of the Rules. On July 30, 1965, the District Magistrate passed orders that a departmental enquiry be held against the petitioner. The Superintendent of Police, appointed Shri Prem Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, to hold the departmental enquiry. The Inquiry Officer found the petitioner guilty of the charge levelled against him in his report dated October 15, 1965. After receipt of the enquiry report, the Superintendent of Police issued a notice to the petitioner on October 19, 1965, asking him to show cause why the penalty of reduction in rank be not imposed of him. The petitioner filed the present writ petition challenging the said show cause notice. This petitioner was filed on November 2, 1965, and was admitted on November 4, 1965, and the passing of the final order was stayed. The written statement has been filed by the Superintendent of Police Shri Brijinder Singh, who had issued the notice in which the objections of the petitioner against the show cause notice and the enquiry held against him have been controverted. At the hearing of the writ petition, however, it has been admitted by the learned counsel for both the parties that Rule 16. 3, and not Rule 16. 38, applied to the facts of this case because the petitioner had been tried and acquitted in a Court of law at the instance of Bhundu complainant. The proceedings under Rule 16. 38 for obtaining the sanction of the District Magistrate and holding an enquiry in pursuance of that sanction were thus uncalled for. Under Rule 16. 3 (2) departmental proceedings, if admissible under sub-rule (1) of Rule 16. 3, could be taken against the petitioner with the sanction of the Deputy Inspector General of Police. It has been stated in para 12 of the written statement as under:-
'The enquiry referred to in para No. 10 of the writ petitioner revealed that the petitioner was acquitted by the Court on 12-3-1965 under Section 247, Criminal P. C. purely on technical considerations which could not be taken as honourable acquittal. The acquittal of this kind did not bar the institution of departmental proceedings against the petitioner vide P. P. Rule 16. 3 (1) read with Clause (a) of the same rule. As P. P. R. 16. 3, Clause (2) required the prior sanction of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, before initiating departmental proceedings against an Upper Subordinate like the petitioner, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ambala Range was moved, vide this office memo, No. 52/C dated 11-5-1965, to accord the required sanction, which was received vide Dy. Inspector General of Police A/R's D. O. No. 7005 dated 22-5-1965 and the District Magistrate, Karnal, was then moved vide this office memorandum No. 1440/PII dated 9-6-65 for sanction under P. P. R. 16. 38 (1).
2. It has not been disclosed in this written statement why the sanction of the District Magistrate under Rule 16. 38 was required. The fact remains that the enquiry was held by the Superintendent of Police through Shri Prem Kumar in pursuance of the orders of the District Magistrate, which was not required.
3. The important question that has to be determined in this case is whether the acquittal of the petitioner under Section 247 of the Code of Criminal Procedure bars the institution of the departmental proceedings against him. It is admitted that the charge and the evidence in support thereof in the departmental enquiry were the same as in the complaint of Shri Bhundu which was dismissed in default and led to the acquittal of the petitioner has argued that an acquittal under Section 247 of the code of Criminal Procedure because of the absence of the complainant on the date of the hearing, amounts to the accused having been tried and acquitted and has relied on the judgment of Mehar Singh, J. (as my Lord the Chief Justice then was) in Haveli Ram v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi, AIR 1966 Punj 82, but the mere fact that the acquittal of the petitioner amounted to his trial and acquittal does not bar the institution of departmental proceedings, if the case is Governed by one of the five exceptions given in Rule 16. 3 (1). These exception are that:-
'(a) the criminal charge has failed on technical grounds; or
(b) in the opinion of the Court or of the Superintendent of Police, the prosecution witnesses have been won over; or
(c) the Court has held in its judgment that an offence was actually committed and that suspicion rests upon the Police Officer concerned; or
(d) the evidence cited in the criminal case discloses facts unconnected with the charge before the Court which justify departmental proceedings on a different charge;. or
(e) additional evidence admissible under Rule 16. 25 (1) in departmental proceedings is available. '
4. On behalf of respondent 2 reliance is placed on exception (a), that is, the criminal charge failed on technical ground in the criminal Court. In the case cited above, Mehar Singh, J. , took the view that in the case of acquittal under Section 247 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the accused person could not be tried against for the same charge as a re-trial is prohibited under Section 403 of the said Code but it cannot be said that in this case the criminal charge had not failed on technical grounds. The petitioner had been summoned for March 12, 1965, on which dated he appeared in Court but the complainant did not appear. As a result of the absence of the complainant the order of acquittal had to be passed under Section 247 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It was, thus, a case where the criminal charge failed on a technical ground that is, the absence of the complainant on the date of the hearing and not because the charge had been enquired into but had not been substantiated. The fact, that another trial could be held in a criminal Court against the petitioner on the same charge because of his acquittal under Section 247 of the Code of the Criminal Procedure will not bar the departmental proceedings being taken against him in respect of the same charge and on the same evidence. I am therefore, of the opinion that Superintendent of Police rightly decided to hold departmental proceedings against the petitioner and obtained the sanction of the District Magistrate under Rule 16. 38 (1) and (2) were unnecessary and can be treated as useless surplusages. The Inquiry Officer could be appointed by the Superintendent of Police also obtained the sanction of the District Magistrate did not, in my opinion, vitiate the appointment of the Inquiry Officer by him and the enquiry held by that Inquiry Office. The petitioner has not challenged the proceedings of the enquiry before the Inquiry Officer, Shri Prem Kumar, in the writ petition and for this reason no fault can be found with the show-cause notice issued to the petitioner by the Superintendent of Police on October 19, 1965.
5. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the Superintendent of Police could not issue the show-cause notice to him nor could he order the departmental enquiry against him because he was not his appointing authority. There is no force in this submission Rule 12. 1 of the Rules makes it clear that the Superintendent of Police is one of the appointment authorities of Sub-Inspectors and Assistant Sub-Inspectors. He is also one of the authorities competent to order reduction. In rank of a Sub-Inspector or Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police under R. 161 of the Rules. The show-cause notice proposed the petitioner's reduction in rank and, therefore, the Superintendent of Police could issue that notice and consider, after receiving his explanation, whether the proposed punishment should be inflicted on him or not. There is, thus, no merit in this writ petition, which is dismissed but without any order as to costs.
6. Petition dismissed.