Skip to content


Kishanchand Korumal and ors. Vs. Inspector-general of Police, (imdadali) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Application Nos. 824 and 967 of 1962 and 61 of 1963
Judge
Reported in(1966)0GLR1065; (1966)IILLJ768Guj
ActsBombay Police Act. 1951 - Sections 25 and 27; Constitution of India - Article 311
AppellantKishanchand Korumal and ors.
Respondentinspector-general of Police, (imdadali)
Cases ReferredRajaram Narayan Tendulkar v. N. M. Kamte
Excerpt:
labour and industrial - revisional power - sections 5, 25 and 27 of bombay police act, 1951, rules 17 and 18 of bombay police (punishments and appeals) rules, 1956 and section 311 of constitution of india - scope of revisional powers of inspector general of police - petitioners punished by being reverted to junior cadre for period stated in orders - thereafter petitioners reinstated in their original post - respondent issued show cause notice requiring petitioners to show cause why punishment not be enhanced to dismissal as earlier punishment was inadequate - respondent authority competent to exercise powers conferred by virtue of sections 5 (b) and 25 (2) (c) - conditions mentioned in rule 17 (1) clearly satisfied and respondent entitled to invoke revisional jurisdiction by calling.....mehta, j.1. these three special civil applications filed under arts. 226 and 227 of the constitution raise the same questions as to the scope of the revisional powers of the inspector-general of police under the bombay police (punishments and appeals) rules, 1956, hereinafter referred to as the rules, and as to the validity of these rules. we have, therefore, heard all these applications together and are disposing them of by this common judgment. 2. all the three petitioners were, at the relevant time, serving as head constables in the kaira district. disciplinary proceedings had been instituted against them. they were chargesheeted and after a proper inquiry and the show-cause notice which had been issued, they were punished by the order of the district superintendent of police at kaira.....
Judgment:

Mehta, J.

1. These three special civil applications filed under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution raise the same questions as to the scope of the revisional powers of the Inspector-General of Police under the Bombay police (Punishments and Appeals) Rules, 1956, hereinafter referred to as the rules, and as to the validity of these rules. We have, therefore, heard all these applications together and are disposing them of by this common judgment.

2. All the three petitioners were, at the relevant time, serving as head constables in the Kaira district. Disciplinary proceedings had been instituted against them. They were chargesheeted and after a proper inquiry and the show-cause notice which had been issued, they were punished by the order of the District Superintendent of Police at Kaira and were reverted to the post of a constable for the period stated in the orders passed against them for the misconduct proved against them in their respective charges. Against the said order, the petitioner in the first petition, Special Civil Application No. 824 of 1962, had appealed to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Baroda, who had confirmed the order of punishment and had dismissed the appeal. The other two petitioners in the other two special Civil Applications Nos. 967 of 1962 and 61 of 1963 had not filed any appeal against the order of punishment inflicted by the District Superintendent or Police at Kaira. All the three petitioners had undergone the punishment inflicted by the orders passed against them and had been thereafter reinstated in their original post on completion of the period of reversion ordered against them. Thereafter, the Inspector-General of Police, who is the respondent in all these three petitions, had issued a show-cause notice against each petitioner requiring him to show cause why the punishment should not be enhanced to one of dismissal on the ground that the same was inadequate. The three petitioners have, therefore, filed the present special civil applications to challenge the impugned show cause notice issued by the Inspector-General of Police. The petitioners have contended :

(1) that such a show-cause notice issued by Inspector-General of Police was not covered by rule 17 conferring revisional powers on the Inspector-General of Police;

(2) that rule 17 was in any case ultra vires being inconsistent with Ss. 5, 25 and 27 of the Bombay Police Act. 1951, hereinafter referred to as the Act;

(3) that the said rule which conferred revisional powers on the Inspector-General of police as well as the show-cause notice issued by him violated. Art. 20 of the Constitution by seeking to inflict double punishment on the petitioners;

(4) that the said rule conferring revisional powers was arbitrary and illegal as no time-limit was prescribed for taking fresh action.

3. It may be noted that the petitioners had also challenged the impugned notice on the ground of violation of Art. 311 of the Constitution but the said ground has not been pressed at the hearing. As the impugned notice had not mentioned the rule in pursuance of which it was issued, the petitioners had mentioned in the petitions the old rule 18, according to which the petitioners believed that the notice in question had been issued. That rule corresponds to the present rule 17, and Sri Desai has contended that he was questioning actually rule 17. In the affidavit-in-reply which had been filed by the respondent, the proposed action has been stated to be in accordance with the provisions of the Act and rule 17 conferring the revisional powers. The respondent has denied that the rule in question was ultra vires the Act or the Constitution.

4. At the hearing Sri Desai had argued the aforesaid four grounds. We had also heard the other advocates including Sri Nanavati, who were interested in supplementing the arguments in these petitions as they were interested in other allied pending matters.

5. Before taking up the rival contentions, at the outset, we would set out the scheme of the relevant provisions of the Act and the rules in this connexion. Under the definition clause in S. 2, Clause (16), 'subordinate rank' has been defined as members of the police force below the rank of the inspector. Under S. 2(14) the 'rules' are defined as rules made under the Act. In Chap. II dealing with the superintendence, appeal and organization of the police force, under S. 4, the superintendence of the police force throughout the State is vested in and is exercisable by the state and any control, direction or supervision which is exercisable by any officer over any member of the police force is exercisable subject to such superintendence. Section 5, Clause (b), which is material for out purpose, provides as under :

'Subject to the provisions of this Act, -

* * *

(b) the recruitment, pay, allowances and all other conditions of service of the police force shall be such as from time to time be determined by the Government by the general or special order.'

6. The first proviso enacts that the rules and orders governing the recruitment, pay, allowances and conditions of service of the members of the police force constituted under any of the Acts mentioned in Part I or II of Sch. I and deemed to be the members of the police force under S. 3 shall continue in force until altered or cancelled under Clause (b). Thereafter Chap. III further deals with regulation, control and discipline of the police force and makes the following provision as regards the disciplinary action in Ss. 25 to 27. Section 25, in so far as it is material for our purpose, runs as under :

'(1) The State Government or any officer authorized by Sub-section (2) in that behalf may, suspend, reduce, dismiss or remove an inspector or any member of subordinate ranks of the police force whom he shall think cruel, perverse, remiss or negligent in the discharge of his duty or unfit for the same, and may fine to an amount not exceeding one month's pay, any member of the subordinate ranks of the police force, who is guilty of any breach of discipline or misconduct or any act rendering him unfit for the discharge of his duty which does not require his suspension or dismissal.

(2)(a) The Inspector-General, the Commissioner and the Deputy Inspector-General shall have authority to punish an inspector or any member of the subordinate ranks under Sub-section (1). A District Superintendent shall have the like authority in respect of any police officer subordinate to him below the grade of inspector .....

* * *

(c) The exercise of any power conferred by this sub-section shall be subject always to such rules and orders as may be made by the State Government in that behalf.

(3) Nothing in these Sub-secs. (1) and (2) -

(a) shall affect any police officer's liability to a criminal prosecution for any offence with which he may be charged; or

(b) shall entitle any authority sub-ordinate to that by which the police officer was appointed to dismiss or remove him.'

Section 26 provides for procedure to be observed in awarding punishment. It runs as under :

'When any officer passes an order for fining, suspending, reducing, removing or dismissing a police officer, he shall record such order or cause the same to be recorded, together with the reasons therefore and a note of the inquiry made in writing, under his signature :

Provided that no order for reducing, removing or dismissing a police officer shall be passed without giving him a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken against him except in cases referred to in the proviso (a) to Clause (2) of Art. 311 of the Constitution.'

Section 27 provides for appeals from orders of punishment and runs as under :

'An appeal against any order passed against a police officer under S. 25 or the rules or orders thereunder shall lie to the State Government itself or to such officer as the State Government may by general or special order specify.'

7. In exercise of the power conferred by S. 25(2)(c) read with S. 5(b) of the Act, the Government of Bombay had framed the rules regulating punishments of police

Authority inflicting punishment

(1) Inspector-General of Police ...

(2) Deputy Inspector-General of Police ...

(3) District Superintendent of Police ...

(4) Assistant Superintendent of Police or Deputy Superintendent of Police.

Rules 8 to 16 provide for procedure of appeals. Rule 15, in particular, provides that the appellate authority shall consider.

(a) Whether the facts on which the order was based have been established,

(b) whether the facts established afford sufficient ground for inflicting punishment, and

(c) whether the penalty is excessive, adequate or inadequate,

officers of and below the rank of the inspector of police and for appeals therefrom. Rule 2 provides that no police officer specified above shall be departmentally punished otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of these rules. Rule 3(1) prescribed various punishments which can be imposed upon a police officer which can be imposed upon a police officer which includes at item (i) reduction in rank. Rule 3(2) provides for certain minor punishments. Rule 4 provides that major punishments mentioned in rule 3(1) shall not be imposed unless a departmental enquiry into the conduct of a police officer was held and a note of inquiry with the reasons for passing the order imposing the said punishment was made in writing under his signature. Rule 5 provides that the officers specified in Col. (1) of the schedule shall have power to inflict the punishment mentioned in Col. (3) thereof Rules 6 and 7 provide for appeals against the order of punishment. Rule 6 provides that a police officer against whom punishment specified in rule 3(1) and in certain clauses or rule 3(2) is inflicted shall have the right to appeal to the authority specified in rule 9. The proviso, however, specifically provides that no second appeal shall lie under this rule. Rule 7 provides that no appeal shall lie against the order inflicting any of the punishments specified in Cls. (i) to (ii) of sub-rule (2) of rule 3. The appellate authorities have been specified in Sch. II under rule 6 which, in case of a district, are as under :

Appellate authority

The State Government. Inspector-General. Deputy Inspector-General of Police. Superintendent of Police.

and, if it thinks necessary, may require the authority passing the order to make further inquiry on any point or points specified and shall then pass such orders as it thinks just and proper including the enhancement of any punishment given or the awarding of a more sever punishment. The proviso enacts that a punishment shall not be enhanced, or a more severe punishment awarded, in appeal, unless notice to show cause against such enhancement, or as the case may be more severe punishment, has been given and any cause shown thereon considered. Rule 16 provides that the authority from whose order an appeal is made under these rules shall give effect to any order by the appellate authority. Then there are three material rule which provide for revisional powers. Rule 17(1), which is material for our consideration, runs as under :

'(1) The Inspector-General of Police may, of his own motion or otherwise, call for and examine the record of any case in which an order has been made by an authority subordinate to him in the exercise of any power conferred on such authority by these rules and in which an appeal lies or any case arising under these rules in which an order of acquittal (whether an original order, order in appeal or order in revision) has been made by such authority and may

(a) confirm, modify or reverse the order, or

(b) direct that further enquiry be held in the case, or

(c) reduce or enhance the punishment inflicted by the order, or

(d) make such other order in the case as he may deem fit :

Provided that where it is proposed to enhance the punishment inflicted by any such order or to impose (sic), the police officer concerned shall be given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the proposed enhancement or punishment.

(2) Every application for revision shall be made within two months of the date on which the applicant was informed of the order complained against. The Inspector-General may, in his discretion, for good cause shown, relax that period.'

8. Rule 18 provides for similar revisional powers of the State Government but without any restriction as to whether an appeal lies or not. Rule 19 provides for the revisional powers to be exercised by the immediate superior officer against an order of punishment inflicted by any competent authority but in cases where no appeal lies. This power is not available against an acquittal order. It is the scope and validity of rule 17 which is to be considered in the present case.

9. Sri Desai first argued that the present cases on a proper construction of rule 17 would not fall within its scope. Revisional power of Inspector-General of Police under rule 17 can be invoked on an application or even on his own motion. He can call for and examine the record of any case.

(1) in which an order has been made by the authority subordinate to him in the exercise of any power conferred on such authority by the rules, and

(2) in which an appeal lies.

10. We are not concerned in the present petition with the revisional powers of the Inspector-General of Police against the order of acquittal. The four Cls. (a), (b), (c) and (d), which enumerate the various orders which could be passed in the case under consideration or against the impugned order, show that the powers are to be exercised in the case called by him and against the impugned order. The two conditions which such case must fulfil are :

(1) in which the impugned order has been made by any subordinate authority in exercise of any power conferred on such authority by the rules, and

(2) in which an appeal lies.

11. So far as the second and the third petitions are concerned, as no appeal had been filed against the order of the District Superintendent of Police and as the revisional power is sought to be exercised against the original order of revision, which was clearly appealable under rule 6, Sri Desai cannot contend that the two conditions mentioned in rule 17 are not fulfilled in those two cases. Sri Desai, however, contended that so far as the first petition is concerned, as the petitioner has already filed an appeal and the appellate order was passed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in his case, as second appeal could lie in that case and, therefore, the Inspector-General of Police could not invoke the jurisdiction under rule 17 as the second requisite condition was not complied with. Sri Sompura, the learned Assistant Government Pleader, however, contended that both these conditions were merely descriptive of the word, 'case' which must be taken as 'the original case' and if the original order was appealable, both the conditions would be clearly satisfied. It is true that the proviso to rule 6 and rule 7 provides a double restriction so far as an appeal is concerned. Under rule 7 an appeal is prohibited against minor orders of punishments falling under rule 3, Clause (2), Sub-cls. (i), (ii) and (iii), while the proviso to rule 6 bars a second appeal in all cases. Sri Desai, therefore, argued that the expression, 'case in which an appeal lies' must satisfy a double test and must not be hit by any of the restrictions in proviso to rule 6 or in rule 7. In the case of petitioner 1 as it was an order passed by the appellate authority, second appeal was clearly barred under the proviso to rule 6. These two conditions, being conditions precedent for invoking the revisional jurisdiction, Sri Desai contended that they must be strictly fulfilled. Sri Desai would have been right in this contention as the expression 'case in which an appeal lies' would have to be strictly construed and could not be loosely construed in a descriptive sense as urged by Sri Sompura so as to mean that an appealable order was passed in the original case, in which event the expression should have been 'case in which an appeal lay', Sri Desai, however, misses one important qualification which is mentioned in the proviso to rule 6. The said proviso is as under :

'Provided that no second appeal shall lie under these rules.'

12. Thus, the second appeal or any further appeal is prohibited only under the rules. If, therefore, a further appeal was provided in the statute, this argument could not help Sri Desai. When we turn to S. 27 of the Act, it in terms provides that an appeal against any order passed against a police officer under S. 25 or the rules or orders made under the said section shall lie to the State Government itself or to such officer as the State Government may by general or special order specify. It is true that so far as the rules are concerned, there is no provision for second appeal under the rules and so there can be no authority to hear any further appeal after the appellate order has imposed punishment on the delinquent officer. In such cases, in view of the express terms of S. 27 of the Act, the appeal against any order passed against a police officer under these rules even in the exercise of the appellate power would clearly lie to the State Government itself, it having not specified any other authority by any general or special order for that purpose. In view of this clear statutory provision in S. 27 of the Act, it could not be urged that no appeal lies in a case where the appellate order of punishment has been passed under the rules. The rules which are made in exercise of the powers under S. 5(b) or 25(2)(c) have to be in consonance with the Act and those rules could not be interpreted so as to take away the statutory right of appeal created by S. 27. It is, therefore, clear that in all these three cases, both these conditions mentioned in rule 17(1) were clearly satisfied and the Inspector-General of Police was entitled to invoke revisional jurisdiction by calling the record of the case irrespective of the fact whether it was the original order or the appellate order of punishment.

13. Sri Desai next argued that in any case, in view of the specific Clause (c) in rule 17(1), the revisional powers could be exercised only for enhancement of the punishment inflicted by the order and not for awarding a different kind of punishment. For this purpose, Sri Desai strongly relied upon rule 15 where it was provided that the appellate authority could pass such orders as it thought just and proper including the enhancement of any punishment given or awarding of a more severe punishment. Merely because in rule 15 the rule-making authority had specifically provided that proper orders could be passed by the appellate authority, including the enhancement of punishment or awarding of more severe punishment, it could not be argued by Sri Desai that the present cases were not those of enhancement of punishment. The punishment which was proposed in all the three impugned notices was one of dismissal as the punishment inflicted which was of reversion to a lower rank for certain period was considered to be inadequate. When revisional authority is conferred the power of enhancement of punishment imposed, it would clearly cover the cases where a punishment of a different category as one of dismissal was proposed from on of reversion in rank. Questions of severity of punishment which are (sic) been specifically mentioned in rule 15, but that would not in any way affect the wide power of enhancement of punishment which may conferred on the revisional authority and which would always cover such cases where such a different punishment like the one of dismissal was sought to be imposed. Finally, in this connexion, Sri Desai argued that in any case rule 17 would not cover a case where the petitioner had already under gone sentence inflicted upon him and was reinstated in his original post. There would be no substance even in this contention of Sri Desai. If rule 17 is held to be valid, there is no such limitation prescribed in rule 17 which would justify any such contention. If no stay was given by the appellate authority, in all cases the punishment would have to be undergone and it might happen that the period of punishment might be over even during the pendency of the appeal. The mere fact that the punishment had been undergone and that the man who was reverted was reinstated in the original post would be totally irrelevant in so far as the revisional authority sought to enhance punishment inflicted. There is, therefore, no substance whatsoever in any of these contentions of Sri Desai that rule 17 could not be invoked in the present cases.

14. The second submission of Sri Desai was that in any case rule 17 was inconsistent with Ss. 5(b), 26 and 27 and was, therefore ultra vires. This contention of Sri Desai proceeded on an assumption that the order of punishment originally inflicted against the petitioner was final under the Act and that it could not be revised. In the absence of any specific statutory provision giving finality to such order, we cannot imply such a restriction and hold the rule providing revision to be inconsistent with the Act. Sri Nanavati further contended that the expression 'subject to the provisions of this Act' in S. 5(b) must be interpreted so as to restrict the rule-making power only to those conditions of service which would exclude disciplinary action for which specific provision was made in Ss. 25 to 27 of the Act. Similarly Clause (c) of S. 25(2) must also be interpreted in a narrow sense as conferring the rule-making power only as regards the manner and method of the exercise of punitive power under S. 25. Finally, it was urged that S. 25(2) gave concurrent authority to the Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner, the Deputy Inspector-General and the District Superintendent of Police to impose punishment mentioned in S. 25(1) and those being statutory authorities of a concurrent jurisdiction they could not be subordinated by the rules by providing appeals and revisions against the order of these authorities. The only subordination of these authorities was the one created by S. 27 by providing an appeal against the orders of those authorities passed against police officers under S. 25 and there could be no further subordination created by any of the rules and if the rules sought to create that position, the rules would be clearly inconsistent with the Act. We are, however, not able to agree with any of these learned arguments. The expression, 'subject to the provisions of this Act' in S. 5(b) would only mean that the rules are always subordinate to the provisions of the Act and they must give way and cannot prevail as against the provisions of the Act. Besides, S. 25(2)(c) in terms provides that the exercise of any power conferred by that sub-section shall be subject always to such rules and orders as may be made by the State Government in that behalf. The sub-section contemplated by Sub-clause (c) was clearly Sub-section (2) of S. 25. Sub-section (1) of S. 25 provides that the State Government or any officer authorized by sub-section (2) in that behalf might exercise punitive powers mentioned therein. Sub-section (2)(a) only mentions that those specified officers, viz., the Inspector-General and the District Superintendent of Police, shall have authority to punish under Sub-section (1). It is, therefore, clear that so far as the State Government is concerned, punitive power is conferred on it under Sub-section (1) without any terms of restriction. The other specified officers mentioned in Sub-section (2) have only an authority to punish, but in their case a clear restriction was provided under Clause (c) on the exercise of this power, viz, the authority to punish, which was conferred by Sub-section (2), that it should always be subject to such rules or orders as the State Government might make in that behalf. This authority which has been thus conferred of these specified officers is only a restricted authority and the restrictions would be those mentioned in the rules and orders made by the State Government. The exercise of authority to punish would clearly mean the use of that authority. The restrictions which could be imposed under the rules and orders made by the State Government would therefore, clearly be competent, not only as regards the manner and method of the use of this power but also as regards the extent of the use. The rules could, therefore, provide how far the orders made by these specified officer would be subject to any further appeal or revision. This is further clarified by S. 27 which not only provides an appeal against the orders passed under S. 25 but also against all the orders passed under the rules or orders made under S. 25. The inclusion of the orders made under 'the rules or orders' in S. 27 would were to be imposed by the rule-making authority were not only as regards the manner and method of disciplinary action but also as regards the actual orders made under that section, which could be further revised by the appellate or revisional authority under the rules. Sri Nanavati tried to argue that the rules contemplated orders being passed even for other minor punishments which were not mentioned in S. 25 and that is way S. 27 included the orders under the rules within scope of these statutory appeals. We cannot agree with this submission as the legislature when it included the orders under the rules within the scope of this statutory appeal under S. 27 was contemplating only the punitive orders made under S. 25(1) whether by the State Government or by the specified officers subject to restrictions imposed by the rules and orders made by the State Government under Clause (c) of S. 25(2). This is amply clarified by the fact that S. 27 only includes orders made under rules or orders made 'thereunder,' i.e. under S. 25. The rules which could be made under S. 25, would be those which regulate the statutory punishment mentioned in S. 25(1), The other rules for order punishment not mentioned in S. 25(1) would be regulating conditions of service in the exercise of powers under S. 5(b) and orders regarding those rule-made punishment would be appealable only as provided in the rules and this right of statutory appeal under S. 27 would not be available in case of those rule-made punishment. The right of statutory appeal is, therefore, available only in cases of all orders of statutory punishment falling in S. 25(1). Therefore, we cannot agree with Sri Desai or Sri Nanavati that the present rules of revision are in any way inconsistent with S. 5(b) or 25 or 27 of the Act. At the close of the arguments we were shown two earlier decisions as regards the interpretation of Clause (c) of S. 25(2) or the corresponding clause under the old Act. In Gabrial Pedroo v. Deputy Commissioner of Police Division, South and Port, Bombay, and others in Special Civil Application No. 361 of 1959, decided on 25 August, 1959, a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court, consisting of Chainani, C.J., and V. S. Desai, J., had to consider an identical question as to whether revisional power could be conferred on the State Government under S. 25(2)(c) read with S. 5(b) of the Act under the old rule 17(2) which was similar to the present rule 18. It was held that the rules could provide that any order passed by any of the officers mentioned in S. 25(2) should be subject to such order as the State Government might make, in other words, that such orders might be revised by the Government. In that case Sri Paranjape had in terms contended that under S. 25(1) the power to punish could be exercised either by the State Government of any officer authorized by Sub-section (2). Sri Paranjape had also urged that once the power to punish had been exercised by any officer, it would not be open to the Government to exercise the power again or to revise the order made by the officer concerned. The learned Judges, however, in terms negatived this argument on the ground that it ignored S. 25(2)(c) which stated that the exercise of the power by any of the officers mentioned in S. 25(2)(a) should be subject to such orders as the State Government might make. The learned Judges had also relied upon S. 5(b) which in terms stated that the recruitment, pay, allowances and all other conditions of service of the police force should be such as might from time to time be determined by the State Government by general for special order. It was held that under those provision the Government could property make a rule proving that any order passed under Clause (a) of Sub-section (2) should be liable to be revised by it. This decision completely answers the point urged by Sri Nanavati that the authorities specified in S. 25(2) were concurrent authorities and that their decision could not be subjected to any revisional powers by virtue of rules made under Sub-section 25(2)(c) or under S. 5(b) of the Act. In Rajaram Narayan Tendulkar v. N. M. Kamte, Inspector-General of Police, State of Bombay, and others in Special Civil Application No. 180 of 1954, decided on 19 August, 1954, a Division Bench consisting of Gajendragadkar, J. (as he than was), and Shah, J. (as he then was), had interpreted S. 29, Sub-section (3), of the Bombay District Police Act which also provided a similar clause as the present S. 25(2)(c) to the effect that the exercise of any power conferred by that sub-section should be subject always to such rules and orders as might be made by the State Government in that behalf. Under that Act also the said S. 29(1) provided that the State Government or the officers authorized by Sub-section (3) in that behalf might inflict the penalties mentioned therein on the members of the Police force. The scheme was, therefore, exactly similar to the present S. 25. The only difference was that instead of the present rule 27 there was a Government resolution which substituted rule 758 to the effect that the Superintendent of Police should forward every month to the Inspector-General of Police through the Deputy Inspector-General a return of punishments inflicted and while reviewing the return, the Inspector-General might call for and examine the papers in any case of punishment where an offence appeared to have been improperly punished and might confirm, reduce, enhance or alter or cancel the punishment in question. The learned Judge held that S. 29(3) authorized the State Government to make rules for the exercise of the punitive power by the officers from time to time and to provide for the exercise of the revisional powers by the Inspector-General of Police in respect of the orders passed by

these officers and that there was nothing in that clause to prevent the State Government from conferring revisional powers on the Inspector-General of Police. It was also held that any such construction would clearly come in conflict with old S. 5, corresponding to S. 5 of the present Act, which provided for the superintendence, control and organization of the police force, by the Inspector-General of Police being carried out subject to the provisions of the Act or such rules and orders as might be made by the Provincial Government. It was, therefore, held that the Government resolution which embodied the order conferring revisional power was clearly was clearly covered by S. 29(3) and that the Inspector-General of Police and been expressly conferred revisional powers. In view of these earlier decisions of the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court, which are clearly blinding on us, it is clear that it would not be open to the petitioner to contend that the investment of revisional powers by the rule-making authority in exercise of the powers under Ss. 5(b) and 25(2)(c) is in any way inconsistent with the Act. There is therefore, no substance even in this second submission of Sri Desai.

15. The third submission of Sri Desai was that the impugned notice clearly violated Art. 20(2) of the Constitution. This contention is clearly misconceived. Article 20(2) only provides that no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once. This article was construed by their lordships of the Supreme Court in S. A. Venkataraman v. Union of India [A.I.R. 1954 S.C. 375] where it was held that the words 'prosecuted and punished' were to be taken not distributively so as to mean prosecuted or punished. Both the factors must co-exist in order that the operation of the clause might be attracted. It was further observed that the language of Art. 20 and words actually used in Art. 20(2) afforded a clear indication that the proceedings in connexion with the prosecution and punishment of a person must be in the nature of a criminal proceeding before a Court of law or a judicial tribunal, and not before tribunal which entertained a department or an administrative enquiry even though set up by a statute, but which was not required by law to try a matter judicially and on legal evidence. In view of this decision it is well settled that this doctrine of double jeopardy could only apply where the person was prosecuted and punished and it could not apply to cases of such departmental enquiry where the person could not be said to be prosecuted before a Court of law or a judicial tribunal. Sri Desai, however, argued that even in departmental proceedings, in view of Art. 311(2) of the Constitution, the authorities have to act judicially and so the disciplinary authority could be called a judicial tribunal. There is no substance in this contention of Sri Desai as the Court or judicial tribunal in the context of Art. 20(2) would only mean Court or tribunal exercising judicial power of the State. Such an exercise of administrative power of taking disciplinary action even though it may have to be done judicially in accordance with the principles of natural justice could not be considered as an exercise of judicial power of the State. Besides, it is well-settled that when revisional power is being exercised any authority, there is no question of double jeopardy or prosecution and punishment being twice over as there is a continuation of the same proceeding. This contention was also negatived in the aforesaid decision in Rajaram Narayan Tendulkar v. N. M. Kamte, Inspector-General of Police, State of Bombay, and others in Special Civil Application No. 180 of 1954 (vide supra) where it was also held by the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court that it was impossible to accede to the argument that enhancement of punishment made in exercise of revisional jurisdiction amounted to a second punishment and that in such a case the party was exposed to the risk of double punishment. There is, therefore, no substance even in this contention of Sri Desai.

16. The last submission of Sri Desai was that rule 17 conferred arbitrary powers as there was no time-limit prescribed for exercise of the revisional powers. It is true that under rule 17(2) so far as the delinquent is concerned, the application has to be made within a period of two months from the date on which he is informed of the order complained against, subject to the Inspector-General of Police relaxing the said limitation period for good cause being shown. However, in so far as the Inspector-General of Police is concerned, he can suo motu exercise this power of revision at any time. The rule-making authority has advisedly left this question to the discretion of such a high authority as the Inspector-General of Police without abridging his discretion by any specific period of limitation. The power is conferred on him to invoke his revisional jurisdiction even in cases where the reduction of punishment as well as enhancement of punishment had been called for. It would always depend on the circumstances of the case and that is why discretion has been left to the Inspector-General of Police to exercise this revisional power without any restriction by way of a limitation period. Such a rule could not be said to be arbitrary. There is, therefor, no substance even in this last contention of Sri Desai.

17. In the result, there is no ground made out in any of these petition which would justify any interference. All the petitions are, therefore, rejected and the rule is discharged in each case. No order as to costs in the circumstances of the case.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //