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Bhaya Ram Ex-constable Vs. Union of India and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 844 of 1971
Judge
Reported in15(1979)DLT265; 1979LabIC863
ActsPolice Act, 1861 - Sections 7
AppellantBhaya Ram Ex-constable
RespondentUnion of India and ors.
Cases ReferredBhopal Singh v. U.O.I.
Excerpt:
.....sangh - it was held that a meeting organized by a political party to support defendants of police force did not constituted to an action of aiding a political movement since attending meeting did not amount to being associated with it - thereforee, the petitioners did not contravene any rules - - no doubt to the extent there is a general betterment of the conditions of the -service of the police personnel, the petitioner like any other individual will benefit. it is well known that one of most serious cancerous evil that we have in our body politic is the undesirable and demoralising interference of political influence in service matters. the rules in fact serve a wholesome object and are a reminder to the government servants not to solicit political and outside help to better..........committee of non-gazetted police karamchari sangh which was stated to be not a recognised body of delhi police force without permission from any senior officer. he was thus said to have contravened (1) punjab police rules 14.27(2) provision of section 3(1)(b) of the police force (restriction of rights) act, 1966 and (3) section 20 of the central civil services (conduct) rules, 1964. the petitioner denied the allegations and maintained that he had not attended the meeting. the respondents however found that the petitioner had participated in the meeting in as much as he had attended the same. there was no finding that he spoke at the meeting nor that he played any other part in arranging the meeting. his presence at the meeting was however considered sufficient by the dismissing.....
Judgment:

Rajinder Sachar, J.

(1) This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution challenging the order of dismissal of the petitioner a constable, passed by the Superintedent of police by his order of 14th November, 1969, and the further appellate order passed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Range) Delhi on 26.3.1971 by which the petitioner's appeal was dismissed excepting dismissal was converted into that of removal.

(2) On 30th April, 1969, the petitioner was charged under Section 7 of the Police Act with grave misconduct by attending, associating and taking active part in a meeting held on 2nd May, 1968 at New Delhi Municipal Committee, Town Hall from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M. which was said to have been sponsored by the Central defense Committee of Non-Gazetted Police Karamchari Sangh which was stated to be not a recognised Body of Delhi Police Force without permission from any senior officer. He was thus said to have contravened (1) Punjab Police Rules 14.27(2) provision of Section 3(1)(b) of the Police Force (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966 and (3) Section 20 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964. The petitioner denied the allegations and maintained that he had not attended the meeting. The Respondents however found that the petitioner had participated in the meeting in as much as he had attended the same. There was no finding that he spoke at the meeting nor that he played any other part in arranging the meeting. His presence at the meeting was however considered sufficient by the dismissing authority to have contravened the said rules and that is why an order of dismissal was passed. The appellate authority agreed with the order of the Superintendent of Police and affirmed its finding but converted the punishment of dismissal from service to that of a removal. The petitioner being aggrieved has come to this court in writ petition.

(3) Mr. Dhar wanted to urge that the petitioner did not attend a meeting and that there was no legal evidence to that effect. But this was a futile effort as I cannot reopen this finding being one of fact. For the purposes of this petition it must be accepted that the petitioner did attend a meeting held on 2.5.1968 in New Delhi, M.C. Town Hall. But the crucial question still is whether he has thereby contravened the rules with which he has been charged. Now Punjab Police Rule 14.27 and Rule 20 of the Ccs (Conduct) Rules, 1964 deal more or less with the same matter. They prohibit soliciting of extra departmental influence or canvassing of non-official or other outside influence. Rule 14.27 of P.P.R. (so far as relevant) reads as Police Officers of all ranks are forbidden to approach officials of other departments or non-official gentlemen for support in pressing individual claims in the matter of promotions, transfers, punishments and appeals etc. Rule 20 C.C.S. is as follows :-

'NOGovernment servant shall bring or attempt to bring any political or other outside influence to bear upon any superior authority to further his interests in respect of matters pertaining to his service under (he Government.'

take it that the petitioner was charged apparently because the authorities must have assumed that attending a public meeting addressed by public leaders of all shades and opinion in support of the demands for improvenment of service conditions of the police force in general amounts to soliciting outside help and influence to further petitioner's claim or interest in service. Now this is a complete misreading and misinterprettiiig of the rules. Rule 14.27 Punjab Police Rules and Rule 20 of C.C.S. Rules prohibits Police Officers in seeking help from the political or other outsiders to infiuence decision in his own individual case in the matter of promotion or other matters pertaining to service. No doubt to the extent there is a general betterment of the conditions of the -service of the police personnel, the petitioner like any other individual will benefit. But it is a complete misreading and a perversion of the rules to read it as if the pettioner by passively attending a public meeting held by outside organisers to voice their support to the general demands of the thousand of police personnel was soliciting political and outside influence for his individual service carrier. The purpose of these rules is very different. Rules have the healthy object of preventing the pollution and maintaining objectivity of Government servants by prohibiting them by soliciting outside political or other influence to advance their service career. It is well known that one of most serious cancerous evil that we have in our body politic is the undesirable and demoralising interference of political influence in service matters. Thus it is common knowledge how political influence is individually brought on in the matter of transfer and promotion of government servants in various services. Somehow the impressions seems to have gone around that if there is no political godfather, a person's improvement in service would suffer. Whether the impression is justified or not is beside the point, th3 fact that such impression exists and is widely accepted is itself a matter which should cause concern to the leaders of public opinion who have the welfare of the country and the effectiveness of the services at heart. Indeed condition precedent to free services from the undesirable pulls from outside calls for an exercise in self renunciation by those who are in position to exert most influence namely those in position to power and political influence. That is not to say that Rule 20 of C.C.S. Rules and 14.27 P.P. Rules are not necessary. The rules in fact serve a wholesome object and are a reminder to the government servants not to solicit political and outside help to better their service career on pain of being proceeded with departmentally. But these rules encompass a case of individual dereliction by a government servant. The rules forbid a government servant to take outside help for his individual case. But it is a far cry to say that the petitioner had contravened the rules by attending a public meeting in support of the whole police personnel. Here was a situation where thousands of policemen in Delhi were off work, thousands had been suspended, hundred had been arrested. Political parties, trade unions and other organisations were naturally concerned and were holding public meeting to land their support to the general demands and well being of the police force as a whole. There was no individual demand of the petitioner either for transfer, promotion or for punishment or any particular demand of his for which meeting was being held. The meeting in support of the whole of police personnel.

(4) With a general support given by public bodies to the general conditions of the police force cannot b3 said to be seeking outside help in the matter of service condition of the petitioner. These two rules were thereforee clearly inapplicable to the type of meeting held in a Town Hall which was attended not only by the policemen but admittedly by a large number of persons outside the police force.

(5) It may also be mentioned that in the charge-sheet it has been alleged that the meeting had been sponsored by Central defense Committee of Non-Gazetted Police Karamchari Sangh. Evidently the charge sheet did not even correctly reflect the fact of sponsors of the meeting because the document annexed with this charge sheet itself showed that the meeting was sponsored by Delhi Confederation of the Central Goveroment Employees and Workers which has been held to be admittedly neither a political party nor an organisation dealing with polices but rather a body recognised by the government as meant for the welfare of the government servants in Ajit Singh v Kirpal Singh D.I.G. and others 1972 S.LR. 768 where also police constable who had attended this very public meeting held in the same New Delhi Municipal Committee, Town Hall, was held not to have contravened either Rule 5(1) of the C.C.S. or the 14.27 P.P. Rules. It may also note that in the charge sheet it has been mentioned that the Central defense Committee of the Non-Gazetted Police Karamchari Sangh is not a recognised body. This also is against record. Apparently, the authorities have not taken into account the letter of the Joint Secretary of the Government of India to the Lt. Governor Delhi dated 12.1.1966 (annexure C to the petition) where the Government's sanction was given for non-gazetted police force being members of the Sangh under Section 3(1) of the Police Force (Restriction of Rights) Actil966. So, even if the meeting was held and sponsored by the Central defense Committee of the Karamchari Sangh it could not be said that this was held by a body which was not recognised body of Delhi Police force. In view of the fact that Delhi Police Non-Gazetted Karamchari Sangh had been recognised of which members of the Delhi Police Force could be members the question of contravention of Section 3(l)(b) of the Police Force (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966 cannot arise because that only prohibits to be a member or associated in any way, with an organisation that is not recognised as part of the force of which he is a member. But as the Central Government itself has given recognition to Delhi Police Non-Gazetted Karmchari Sangh, being a member of that could not even be objectionable much less would it be so, by merely attending a public meeting sponsored by it (though in the present case even the meeting was not sponsored by the Sangh). Attending a meeting does not amount to being associated with it. The appellate authority, however, chose to find the petitioner guilty by invoking sec. 3(2) of 1966 Act which prohibits a member of a police force from participating or addressing or taking part in any demonstration organized by anybody for any political purpose or such other purpose as may be preiscribed. I have already held in Bhopal Singh v. U.O.I., C.W. 214/70, decoded on 3.11.1978 that presence at a meeting organized even by a political party to support the demands of the police force does not make the action as aiding a political movement or being associated for political purposes. The charge under Section 3(l)(b) is not thereforee established. Reliance on Rule 3 which forbids participation in a meeting for the purpose of protesting against any disciplinary action taken against any member of police or any purpose connected with the condition of service is equally of no avail. This would not apply to case of the petitioner on the facts of the present case because the prohibition is again relatable to any protest action against disciplinary action taken against any member of a police force. Again the emphasis is on the individual cases being protected against. In the present case situation was totally different. Meeting was held in support of larger question of the general conditions of service for the police force as a whole. There was no individual disciplinary action against which the meeting was held, rather the whole emphasis was on a general question and the welfare and well being of the police force taken as a whole. Moreover, petitioner only attended as a passive participant and no question of protest arose. That a part, as the petitioner had been specifically charged under Section 3(l)(b) of the Act of 1966, the appellate authority could not have invoked Section 3(2) of the Act or Rule 3 without first amending the charge and giving a fresh opportunity to the petitioner. This was admittedly not done. Thus the appellate authority could not have proceeded to hold the petitioner guilty by invoking Section 3(2) of the Act of 1966 when he was not charged for having contravened this provision. Thus, all the charges with which the petitioner was charged are not established.

(6) As a result the petition is allowed. The impugned orders passed against him are set aside. The petition is allowed with costs. 7, In the petition Mr. Dhar as usaal has raised a number of points against the legality of the impugned orders of the respondent but as the petition is being allowed on this point I have not thought it necessary to hear him on these other points.


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