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Constable Lal Singh Vs. State of Punjab and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLPA No. 491 of 1993
Judge
Reported in2003(2)SLJ194(P& H)
ActsPunjab Police Rules, 1934 - Rules 12.21, 13.8A and 16(1A)
AppellantConstable Lal Singh
RespondentState of Punjab and ors.
Appellant Advocate Nirmaljit Kaur, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAddl. Adv. General
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredKulwant Singh Gill v. The State of Punjab
Excerpt:
.....of rent has to be regarded as basic rent within the meaning of section 4(2)(b) of the act in the process of fixing fair rent irrespective of the fact whether the lease period stipulated in a lease deed has expired......he was not permitted to take the same. he was told that he was not eligible on the ground that a major punishment had been given to him within a period of three years preceding the first day of january, 1992. confronted with a major hurdle in his service career of not being deputed to the lower school course, the petitioner filed writ petition, giving rise to the present letters patent appeal, with the result already indicated above.3. the cause of the petitioner was contested and in the written statement filed by the respondents, it was, inter alia, pleaded that petitioner was not eligible to appear in b-i test according to standing order framed under rule 13.20 of the punjab police rules inasmuch as a major punishment has since been given to him within a period of three years.....
Judgment:

V.K. Bali, J.

1. Constable Lal Singh, appellant herein, was visited with the order dated 14.2.1989 forfeiting his two years approved service on temporary basis. He challenged this order by filing Civil Writ Petition bearing No. 3709 of 1992. As he remained unsuccessful in his endeavour in challenging the order aforesaid, he has filed this appeal under Clause X of the Letters Patent against the order of learned Single Judge dated 20.4.1993.

Appellant (hereinafter to be referred as 'the petitioner') was recruited on 4.8.1981. It appears that under the provisions of Rule 12.21 of the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, petitioner was discharged from service vide order dated 19.1.1984. He preferred appeal against the aforesaid order, which was accepted on 28.5.1985 (Annexure P-2). However, for the incident, for which he was discharged, he was charge sheeted on 20.5.1987. The charge framed against him was that he alongwith certain other persons was deputed for duty in District Jalandhar in connection with Dushehra festival and was put on guard duty. Under the influence of liquor, he started creating rowdyism and threatened the public with weapon, which he had officially been provided. In the resultant enquiry on the charge aforesaid, charge of rowdyism or threat to public with weapon could not be substantiated. However, he was held guilty of having liquor while on duty. The finding aforesaid resulted into order dated 14.2.1989, vide which two years of his approved service was forfeited on temporary basis. As a result of this order, increments, which were due to him on 1.8.1989 and 1.8.1990, were not released to him. These increments were, however, released with effect from 1.8.1991 vide order Annexure P-4.

2. On 28.2.1992, a test, as contemplated under Rule 13.7 of the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, was held to select Constables for being brought on List-B as also for being deputed the said Constables for Lower School Course. Even though petitioner qualified written test but when he appeared for parade test on 5.3.1992, he was not permitted to take the same. He was told that he was not eligible on the ground that a major punishment had been given to him within a period of three years preceding the first day of January, 1992. Confronted with a major hurdle in his service career of not being deputed to the Lower School Course, the petitioner filed writ petition, giving rise to the present Letters Patent Appeal, with the result already indicated above.

3. The cause of the petitioner was contested and in the written statement filed by the respondents, it was, inter alia, pleaded that petitioner was not eligible to appear in B-I test according to Standing Order framed under Rule 13.20 of the Punjab Police Rules inasmuch as a major punishment has since been given to him within a period of three years preceding the first day of January, 1992 and that forfeiture of approved service or withholding of increments amounts to a major punishment in view of provisions of Rule 16.1 -A (3) of the Punjab Police Rules, 1934. On facts, it was pleaded that in view of Lok Sabha/Vidhan Sabha elections held in January, 1992, the test, which was to be held in January, 1992, was postponed and actually conducted in the month of February, 1992, under the orders of the Director General of Police, Punjab.

4. Learned Single Judge, on the controversy projected before him, opined that there was no explanation for inordinate delay for challenging the impugned order and on this short ground alone, challenge to the order dated 14.2.1989 deserved to be rejected. It may be recalled that as per admitted position, the impugned order came to be passed on 14.2.1989 and petitioner filed writ petition in 1993 when he was not permitted to take parade test even though he had qualified the written test for being sent to Lower School Course. Learned Single Judge despite having held that petition was belated and deserved to be dismissed on that ground, examined the controversy on merits and found no substance in the contentions raised on behalf of petitioner in his endeavour to show that impugned order could not sustain.

5. Ms. Nirmaljit Kaur, learned Counsel representing the petitioner, has raised three fold contentions in her effort to show that the impugned order passed by the concerned authorities as also the one passed by the learned Single Judge cannot sustain. It is first contended by her that forfeiture of two years approved service, which is a temporary one, cannot be termed as a major punishment inasmuch as Rule 16.1-A (c) of the Punjab Police Rules, in which major punishments have been mentioned, describes forfeiture of approved service as a major punishment and in the present case, forfeiture of approved service is a temporary one. We find no merit in the contention of the learned Counsel, noted above, Major punishments as per Rule 16.1-A (3) shall be any authorised punishments like reduction, withholding of increments, forfeiture of approved service, dismissal and every judicial conviction on a criminal charge. It is true that every approved punishment, which does not find mention in Rule 16.1-A (3), is minor punishment but the fact remains that even withholding of increments is a major punishment. That apart, every other authorised punishments, which would naturally be minor punishments, do not include forfeiture of approved service or withholding of increments. The other authorised punishments are entry of censure, confinement to quarters for a period not exceeding 15 days, extra guard, fatigue or other duty, punishment drill not exceeding 15 days, punishment drill not exceeding 10 days, punishment drill not exceeding 6 days and punishment drill not exceeding 3 days. Another facet of the same contention of the learned Counsel is that in any case, there is a mention of withholding of increments in the major punishments but there is no mention that the same would be with or without cumulative effect. It is only withholding of increments with cumulative effect that would amount to major punishment, further contends the learned Counsel. We find this contention of learned Counsel also to be devoid of any merit. There is no distinction made in the Punjab Police Rules with regard to stoppage of increments with cumulative effect or otherwise and, therefore, once withholding of increments has been mentioned to be major punishment, it will make the least difference whether the same is with or without cumulative effect. Learned Counsel, however, relies upon a judgment of the Supreme Court in Kulwant Singh Gill v. The State of Punjab, 1990(6) SLR 73 = 1990(3) SLJ 135 (SC), in support of her contention, as noted above. The case aforesaid emanates from the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970. It has been held by the Supreme Court in Kulwant Singh Gill's case (supra) that since the effect of stoppage of increments with cumulative effect is that the employee is reduced in his time scale by a number of steps for which the increments are withheld and it is in perpetuity during the rest of his tenure, it falls within Rule 5(v) and is considered to be a major penalty. As per Rule 5(iv) of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970, minor penalties include withholding of increments of pay. Sub-rule (v) of Rule 5 further postulates reduction to a lower stage in the time scale of pay for a specified period with further directions as to whether or not the Government employee shall earn increments of pay during the period of such reductions and whether on the expiry of such period, the reduction will or will not have the effect of postponing the future increments of his pay. It is one of the major penalties. The Hon'ble Supreme Court was examining as to whether stoppage of two increments with cumulative effect would fall within the meaning of Rule 5(v) of the Rules, which, as mentioned, is reduction to a lower stage in the time scale of pay for a specified period with further directions as to whether or not the Government employee shall earn increments of pay during the period of such reductions and whether on the expiry of such period, the reduction will or will not have the effect of postponing the future increments of his pay. It is in the context of the rules, as detailed above, that it has been held that withholding of increments of pay simpliciter undoubtedly is a minor penalty within the meaning of Rule 5(iv). But Sub-rule (v) of Rule 5 postulates reduction to a lower stage in the time scale of pay. It is an independent head of penalty and it could be imposed as punishment in an appropriate case. It is one of the major penalties. We are of the firm view that the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, as are applicable in the present case have no parity with the rules involved in Kulwant Singh Gill's case (supra).

6. The next contention of learned Counsel is that Lower School Course had started in February, 1992, whereas the impugned order forfeiting two years approved service of the petitioner came to be passed on 14.2.1989. A period of more than three years had gone by and, therefore, the effect of proviso to Rule 13.7 of the Punjab Police Rules that no Constable who has been awarded a major punishment within a period of three years preceding the first day of January of the year in which selection is made, had out lived its tenure. With a view to appreciate the contention of the learned Counsel, it shall be relevant to reproduce the relevant part of proviso to Rule 13.7(2) of the Punjab Police Rules. The same reads thus :

'No Constable who has been awarded a major punishment within a period of three years preceding the first day of January of the year in which selection is made will be eligible for admission to this list.....'

7. The reading of proviso reproduced above would manifest that major punishment has a continuing effect for a period of three years preceding the first day of January of the year in which the selection is to be made. The emphasis in the rule is on the word 'Year' in which selection is made and if selection was to be made in the year 1992, the effect of proviso to Rule 13.7(2) was surely subsisting. It is relevant to mention here that selections for various courses are yearly based and for that precise reason it appears that it is the year in which selection is made in the rule is made the base. That apart, it may be recalled that test for List-B and deputing Constables to the Lower School Course bad to be postponed because of Lok Sabha/Vidhan Sabha elections by a specific order passed in that behalf by the concerned authorities.

8. The last contention of learned Counsel is that exercising powers under Rule 13.8-A of the Punjab Police Rules, the Superintendent of Police should have waived disqualification of the petitioner for sending him to the Lower School Course. Rule 13.8-A of the Punjab Police Rules reads as follows:-

'13.8-A Disqualification for admission to or retention in Lists A, B or C.- (1) The infliction of any major punishment shall be a bar to admission to or retention in lists A, B or C, provided that (a) for special reasons to be recorded by the Superintendent in each case, and subject to confirmation by the Deputy Inspector General, this disqualification may be waived and (b) after six months' continuous good conduct in the case of censure or confinement to quarters or on expiry of the period of reduction in the case of reduction for a specified period, a constable may be re-admitted at the discretion of the Superintendent.

(2) Gazetted Officers shall look out for, and encourage their Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors to bring to notice, Constables who, by reason of their general character and ability or of special acts, are suited for inclusion in lists A, B or C, and shall, after satisfying themselves by necessary enquiries, make suitable recommendations to the Superintendent.'

9. Learned Counsel raised this contention before the learned Single Judge as well. After examining the matter, learned Single Judge held that no special reason appears to exist in the present case to justify waiver of disqualification. Learned Counsel vehemently contends that there are number of special reasons that could be taken into consideration to extend the benefit of Rule 13.8-A of the Punjab Police Rules to the petitioner. It is stated that the petitioner for the same charge was discharged from service on 19.1.1984. This order was, however, set aside in appeal but for the same very charge, the petitioner was charge-sheeted on 20.5.1987 resulting into punishment of forfeiture of his two years' approved service. In the process, a period of more than five years had gone by. If the concerned authorities, at the first instance, proceeded against petitioner by charge-sheeting him, the valuable period of petitioner would not have been lost and in any case punishment having been inflicted far prior in point of time the petitioner would have been eligible to be sent to the Lower School Course atleast in the year 1992, if not earlier. Further, in any case for no fault on his part petitioner had to go through an agony of charge or enquiry spanned over a period of about five years and still further that in any case he cleared written test and it was only when he was to appear for parade test that he was not allowed to do so. As mentioned above, learned Single Judge held that no special reasons appear to exist that disqualification may be waived. This finding cannot be faulted as no pleadings entailing the order of waiver have been made in the writ petition. Further, a prayer for waiving disqualification has to be made to the concerned authorities. It is only, if such a request is first declined by the Superintendent of Police that a grouse of the same can be made in a Court of Law. Concededly, no such request was made to the Superintendent of Police, who is in his discretion, could waive disqualification.

Finding no merit in this appeal, we dismiss the same. In view of the facts, as have been stated by the learned Counsel, seeking redress under Rule 13.3-A of the Punjab Police Rules, we, however, leave it open to the petitioner to seek waiver of his disqualification incurred by him from the concerned authorities in accordance with law. Parties are, however, left to bear their own costs.


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