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Ajit Singh Vs. Delhi Administration - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 142 of 1972
Judge
Reported in1973RLR87
ActsPunjab Police Rules - Rule 16.38
AppellantAjit Singh
RespondentDelhi Administration
Advocates: B.R. Iyengar,; B.T. Singh and; S.N. Marwah, Advs
Excerpt:
service - penalty - rule 16.38 of punjab police rules - petition challenging award of penalty of forfeiture of two years approved service - petitioner failed to challan trucks found plying on road on which heavy vehicles prohibited - departmental proceedings culminating in impugned order illegal - provisions of rule 16.38 not complied with - impugned order quashed - respondents at liberty to proceed against petitioner according to law. - - they noticed that from the crossing of imperial avenue and university road the petitioner checked four goods public carriers near sir ram institute research on university road but failed to challan them in spite of the traffic restriction. (6) the respondents' case is that the petitioner had failed to challan trucks nos. he submits that the..........approved service on the ground amongst others that the provisions of rule 16.38 (1) of the punjab police rules were not complied with. (2) on 106 1970 the petitioner was posted as assistant sub inspector of traffic. he received a letter from the c.p.w.d. through the d.s.p. traffic which was to the effect that a constable be posted on probyn road since the c.p.w.d. were to carry out the repair of a high deep sewer. the traffic inspector of the circle had directed the petitioner that he should inspect the spot and report if a constable was really needed for duty there. the petitioner being new to the area, since he was posted there on 7.6-1970, asked constable jagir singh to meet him on 11.61970 at chowki shakti nagar. the petitioner met constable jagir singh at 7.45. a.m. and there after.....
Judgment:

V.D. Misra, J.

(1) Ajit Singh prays for a writ of certiorori for quashing the order of the Inspector General of Police, Delhi, awarding the penalty of forfeiture of two years approved service on the ground amongst others that the provisions of Rule 16.38 (1) of the Punjab Police Rules were not complied with.

(2) On 106 1970 the petitioner was posted as Assistant Sub Inspector of Traffic. He received a letter from the C.P.W.D. through the D.S.P. Traffic which was to the effect that a constable be posted on Probyn Road since the C.P.W.D. were to carry out the repair of a high deep sewer. The Traffic Inspector of the Circle had directed the petitioner that he should inspect the spot and report if a constable was really needed for duty there. The petitioner being new to the area, since he was posted there on 7.6-1970, asked constable Jagir Singh to meet him on 11.61970 at Chowki Shakti Nagar. The petitioner met constable Jagir Singh at 7.45. a.m. and there after proceeded to inspect the spot. He came to the conclusion that no constable was required fur duty at that place.

(3) While returning the petitioner noticed that truck No. RS. 9,585.00 had violated traffic restriction inasmuch as that the road was not open to heavy vehicles. The petitioner, who was on a motor cycle, overtook that vehicle and challaned it. He thereafter noticed a Bulk Petroleum Vehicle of the Burmah Shell passing that way. The petitioner stopped and checked it and found that it had necessary permission from the Superintendent of Police Traffic and so let it off. Thereafter, the petitioner went back to the place of his duty.

(4) On that date Kundan Lal and S.S. Kapoor, Inspectors in the Vigilance Branch, had laid an unobtiusive check at various points, including Probyn Road. They noticed that from the crossing of Imperial Avenue and University Road the petitioner checked four goods public carriers near Sir Ram Institute Research on University Road but failed to challan them in spite of the traffic restriction. They duly reported. The petitioner was consequently suspended on 14.9.1970 and a departmental enquiry was ordered against him. After due enquiry the Superintendent of Police (Traffic Branch) awarded a punishment of forfeiture of four years of the petitioner's service permanently entailing reduction in pay from Rs.155.00 per mensem to Rs 135.00 per mensem (Annexure V). His appeal to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Range) Delhi, was dismissed. On revision the Inspector-General of Police reduced the punishment of forfeiture of four years of the petitioner's service to two years permanently (Annexie '2')

(5) The grievance of the petitioner is that he could be proceeded only under the provisions of the Punjab Police Rule 16.38. with the previous permission of the District Magistrate, and so the departmental proceeding are null and void. His further grievance is that during the enquiry he asked for copies of documents but these were not supplied to him. He is also aggrieved that out of the 14 defense witnesses cited by him as many as eight witnesses were not examined.

(6) The respondents' case is that the petitioner had failed to challan trucks Nos. Dlg 6999 Dll 2132, Hra 2703 and Dll 6608 despite the fact that he had stopped them since they were found plying their vehicles on the road on which the heavy vehicles were prohibited. According to the respondents, the provisions of Punjab Police Rule 16.38, are not applicable and so the question of taking any permission from the District Magistrate did not arise. The petitioner was supplied with the copies of all the relevant documents The Enquiry Officer had found that eight witnesses cited by the petitioner were not relevant and so did not summon them. The Enquiry officer had found that he had all the relevant documents. It is also stated that the statement filed by the petitioner on 16.10.1970 (Annexure III) after the conculsion of the enquiry to the supplementary affidavit of Shri I.M. Mahajan, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Administration), Delhi, shows that he did not make any such grievance in respect of the witnesses or the documents.

(7) In order to appreciate the contentions of both the parties, it is necssary to reproduce the relevant provision of Punjab Police Rule 16.38 which is in the following terms :

'16.38.(1) Immediate information shall be given to the District Magistrate of any complaint received by the Superindent of Police which indicates the commission by a police officer of a criminal offence in connection with his official relations with the public. The District Magistrate will decide whether the investigation of the complaint shall be conducted by a police officer, or made over to a selected magistrate having 1st Class powers.'

MR.Iyengar contends that this rule becomes applicable whenever a police officer commits a criminal offence in connection with his official relations with the public. He submits that the allegations made against the petitioner show that a criminal offence under Section 217, Indian Penal Code, as well as one under Section 7 of the Police Act, stands committed, and, thereforee, the departmental proceedings could only be taken on the decision given by the District Magistrate in terms of the said rule. Mr. S.N.Marwah, learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand contends that it is only in those cases where the public is aggrieved of the conduct of a police official which amounts to an offence that the rule in question becomes applicable. Since no member of the public was aggrieved by the conduct of the petitioner, so there was the necessity of the District Magistrate taking any decision in terms of the said rule. He does not deny that the petitioner on the facts alleged against him could be proceeded against under section 217, Indian Penal Code.

(8) The question to be decided is as to what is the import of the words 'the commission by a police officer of a criminal offence in connection with his official relations with the public' occurring in the said rule. It shows that at the time of the commission of the alleged offence by a police officer he should be (1) discharging his duties as a police officer (2) that the discharge of those duties should bring him in contact with the public in relation to whom the offence is committed. In other words, it is not each and every offence which may come to be committed by a police officer that this rule will become applicable. The word 'offence' has been defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure as meaning 'any act or omission made punishment able by any law for the time being in force.' The same is the definition in Section 3(38) of the General Clauses Act. The alleged conduct of the petitioner in stopping the trucks for checking and not challaning them in the circumstances referred to above, makes out a prima facie case under Section 317 of the Indian Penal Code. However I am not in agreement with Mr. Iyengar that these facts make out and constitute an offence under Section 7 of the Police Act which empowers the various police officials to dismiss, suspend or reduce any police officer of the subordinate ranks whom they shall think remiss or negligent in the discharge of his duties, or unfit for the same. This section does not create any offence nor provides for punishment of any offence, but makes provision for the exercise of disciplinary powers of superior officers in regard to the control of their subordinates.

(8) The facts in the instant case show that the petitioner was performing his duties as a police officer and had, during the performance of those duties, come into contact with the drivers of the trucks which were stopped and not challenged, thus committing a criminal offence under section 217, Indian Penal Code. I do not agree with Mr. Marwah that before Rule 16.38 becomes applicable a member of the public should be aggrieved of the conduct of a police official. A police officer by committing an offence in connection with his official relations with a member of the public may in fact be benefitting that person by not proceeding against him under the law when that person makes himself liable to be proceeded against and so he may not be aggrieved of the conduct of police officer. In my judgment, whenever a police officer in the discharge of his official functions comes to have official relations with the public and commits a criminal offence in connection with those relations, this rule becomes applicable irrespective of the fact whether any member of the public is aggrieved of his conduct or not. Since there is no compliance whatsoever with Rule 16.38 sub-Rule (1), the impugned order has to be set aside as being illegal. (See Won of India v. Ram Kishan, 1972 S.L.R. 11, Delhi Administration v. Chanan Shah, 1969 S.L.R. 217, and Daulat Ram v. Union of India, 1971 S.L.R. 502

(9) As regards the grievance of the petitioner of non-supplying of copies of documents and non-summoning of eight defense witnesses cited by him, I find that the petitioner has no case. In she petition the petitioner made a general grievance in Para (g) of the grounds by stating that the petitioner had not been supplied with the documents as requested by him in his letter dated 1-9-1970. He nowhere stated the nature of documents and their relevance for the purpose of his defense. The respondents in their counter affidavits stated that he was supplied with the copies of all the relevant documents on which the prosecution rely. In Para 10 of the petition a similar statement was made by the petitioner which was similarly denied in the counter affidavit. The petitioner produced a copy of the application in his rejoinder affidavit. It is annexure 'P-l'. I find that most of the documents asked for by the petitioner did not exist and this holds true except for the daily diary entry recorded by the petitioner in respect of his departure. This the petitioner knew himself. He also asked for notification prohibiting the use of that road for plying heavy vehicles. This has had no relevance when admittedly he had himself challaned a vehicle for the same reason. Orders of the Deputy Inspector General of Police for holding the enquiry and appointing the Superintendeat of Police, Traffic, as Enquiry Officer, had no relevance to the enquiry. I;i any view of the matter, the petitioner had made no grievance when ha filed his written statement (Annexure Iii to the further count affidavit) of his not being supplied with any relevant document, or his having been prejudiced because of the non supply of the same.

(10) Similarly, the petitioner made a general grievance in Para 12 of his petition for non-summoning his eight defense witnesses showing their relevancy. The respondents state that all the relevant witnesses were summoned. The list of witnesses summoned by the petitioner was filed by the respondents as Annexure 'I' to their further counter affidavit along with Annexure III. The only relevance sought to be shown was that these witnesses would have shown the time spent by the petitioner. In other worth the petitioner could not have possibly stopped and checked the four trucks in question. First of all the petitioner admittedly was on his motor-cycle and the distance he had to travel was not much. Again, this fact by itself had no relevance whether he could stop them and then let them go scot free. Moreover, no grievance was made in Annexure Iii in spite of the fact that in Para 10 there of mention of the six witnesses examined by him was made. In other words the petitioner submitted to the decision of the Enquiry Officer in not calling the other witnesses and it is only when the decision went against him that the petitioner made a grievance,

(11) The result is that the departmental proceedings culminating in the impugned order of the Inspector General of Police being illegal have to be quashed. A writ of certiorari will issue to that effect. There will be no order as to costs. It is, however, made clear that the respondents Will be at liberty to proceed against the petitioner according to law.


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