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Chela Ram Vs. State of Rajasthan and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService;Constitution
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Appln. No. 24 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1954Raj12
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 226 and 320
AppellantChela Ram
RespondentState of Rajasthan and anr.
Appellant Advocate Chandmal, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Kansingh, Asst. Govt. Adv.
Cases ReferredShiv Charan Lal v. State of Rajasthan
Excerpt:
.....this order has received effect so far, and it has not been pointed out to us on behalf of the opposite parties what precisely were the powers of the administrator in dealing with such cases. article 320 of the constitution deals with the functions of the public service commission, both of the union as well as of the various states......four corners of that article. the contention of the petitioner is that as this was not done, the state government had committed a breach of the provisions of the constitution, and, therefore, this court should interfere in the matter, and issue a suitable direction to the state that it must consult the public service commission, and thereafter dispose of the revision petition filed by the petitioner to the rajasthan government. the petitioner has, therefore, prayed that this court may issue a writ or a suitable order against the opposite parties quashing the proceedings including the order of degradation passed against him, and re-instate him as prosecuting inspector, or, alternatively, that a direction be issued to the state of rajasthan to comply with the provisions of article 320 of.....
Judgment:

Modi, J.

1. This is an application by Chelaram,under Article 223 of the Constitution, for the issue of a writ in the nature of Mandamus, Certiorari or any other appropriate writ, directionor order against the State of Rajasthan and the Inspector General of Police, Rajasthan, opposite parties 1 and 2, and arises under the following circumstances.

2. The petitioner Chelarara occupied the permanent post of Prosecuting Inspector in the police department of the former State of Bikaner in 1949, and was attached as such to theCourt of the City Magistrate, Bikancr. On 5.3.49, it having been reported against him that he had demanded a bribe of Rs. 15/- from one Pannalcl Kothari who was a prosecution witness in a certain criminal case pending in the Court of the City Magistrate, Bikaner, the InspectorGeneral of Police asked the Deputy Inspector General, of Police to make an inquiry into the matter. It is said that on 7-3-49, after holding an inquiry, the latter submitted a report. The gist of that report is that the Prosecuting Inspecfor Chelaram had asked Sub-Inspectors Hardayal and Thakurdass to get him some money from Pannalal, and the latter save them a sum of Rs. 15/- to be passed on to Chelaram but he did not accept the money. The Deputy Inspector General of Police proceeded to state that as the Prosecuting Inspector had admitted what had happened and made a clean breast of the whole matter, and as he had promised to behave himself in future, a lenient, view be taken as to his lapse in the case under inquiry. The Inspector General of Police dismissed the petitioner by his order dated 12-3-49. Thereupon, the petitioner preferred an appeal to the Administrator of theformer State of Bikaner, who partially accepted the appeal, set aside the order of dismissal, and ordered that the petitioner be reduced to the rank of Sub-Inspector. The petitioner then filed a revision petition before the Government of Rajasthan, as, in the meantime, the former State of Bikaner had integrated in the United State of Rajasthan. The Rajasthan Government rejected the petition on 3-11-1950. Thereafter the petitioner further filed a review application to the Government of Rajasthan, which, according to the petitioner, appears to have been rejected although he has not been informed of the final orders passed in the matter. The petitioner has, therefore, filed the present writ application. His contention is two-fold.

In the first place it is urged that the inquiry made against him by the Deputy Inspector General of Police was illegal inasmuch as it was not conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Rules prescribed in the Police Manual for conducting departmental inquiries in the former State of Bikaner. Reliance was placed in particular on para 57, Chap V of the said Rules and it is contended that no statement summarising the alleged mis-conduct was read out to the petitioner, and that he came to know of the allegations against him only after he had been dismissed. It is further contended that no charge-sheet was served upon the petitioner under para 59 of Chap V. and, therefore, the entire inquiry is illegal and void against the petitioner. In the second place, the petitioner contends that on 3-11-1950 when the Rajasthan Government rejected his revision petition against the order of the Administrator, the Constitution of India had in the meantime come into force on 26-1-1950. According to Article 320(3)(c) of the Constitution, it was imperative for the State of Rajasthan to consult the State Public Service Commission before passing final orders in his case, as the matter before the Government arising out of his memorial or petition was a disciplinary matter affecting a person serving under the Government of Rajasthan in a civil capacity, and, therefore, fell within the four corners of that Article. The contention of the petitioner is that as this was not done, the State Government had committed a breach of the provisions of the Constitution, and, therefore, this Court should interfere in the matter, and issue a suitable direction to the State that it must consult the Public Service Commission, and thereafter dispose of the revision petition filed by the petitioner to the Rajasthan Government. The petitioner has, therefore, prayed that this Court may issue a writ or a suitable order against the opposite parties quashing the proceedings including the order of degradation passed against him, and re-instate him as Prosecuting Inspector, or, alternatively, that a direction be issued to the State of Rajasthan to comply with the provisions of Article 320 of the Constitution and decide his petition after due consultation with the State Public Service Commission.

3. In reply it is contended on behalf of the opposite parties that the inquiry was conducted by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Bikaner, in accordance with the rules laid down in Bikaner Police Manual, and that a statement summarising the alleged misconduct of the petitioner had been road out to him by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, and Ex. A was produced as such summary that was in fact read out to the petitioner. It was further contended that as the petitioner had admitted the charge read over to him, it was not necessary to frame any further chargeunder para. 59 of the Bikaner Police Rules, and that para. 57(b) only applied, and its provisions were duly complied with. It was further urged on behalf of the opposite parties that the appeal filed by the petitioner before the Administrator, Bikaner, was not competent, and that the Administrator could neither entertain the appeal nor decide it. in any event, it was contended that it was not necessary to consult the Public Service Commission in the case of the petitioner as he had not filed a proper appeal against the order of the Inspector General of Police, Bikaner, and as the order of the Administrator was without jurisdiction, and further there was no provision for review of the orders already passed in his case.

4. The first and the most important question for determination in this case is whether the inquiry made by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in the petitioner's case was illegal or void having not been made in accordance with the prescribed rules. We may mention at the outset that a Police Manual issued under Section 11, Bikaner Police Act was brought to our notice as containing the relevant provisions governing departmental inquiries as respects police officers in that State. Paragraph 57 of the Manual prescribes the procedure for the conduct of the departmental inquiries, and its relevant portion is reproduced below:

'(a) The police officer accused of misconduct shall be brought before the officer empowered to punish him or before such senior officer whom the Superior officer in charge may depute to conduct the enquiry. Such enquiring officer, shall record and read out to the accused officer, a statement summarising the alleged misconduct; giving full notice thereby of the circumstances in regard to which evidence is proposed to be recorded.'

'(b) At this stage or earlier, if the accused police officer admits the misconduct alleged against him, the officer conducting the enquiry shall proceed forthwith to record a final order or if it is outside his power to give the award, he will draw up his finding and submit the same to the senior officer empowered to decide the case.'

Paragraph 58 provides that

'If the accused police officer does not admit the alleged misconduct, the officer conducting the enquiry shall proceed to record such evidence, oral and documentary in proof of the accusation, as is available and necessary to support the charge.'

Paragraph 59 provides that

'After the evidence in support of the allegations in question has been duly recorded, the enquiring officer shall, if the allegations are not substantiated, either discharge the accused himself if so empowered or recommend his discharge to the Inspector General or other officer who may be so empowered, or when the charge or charges have been substantiated, proceed to frame a formal charge-sheet which he shall read out to the accused officer before he calls upon him to answer the charge.'

Paragraph 60 provides that after the charge or charges have been framed, the accused officer shall be required to state his defence, and produce a list of the witnesses whom he wishes to be summoned. Paragraph 61 lays down that

'On conclusion of the defence, the enquiring officer shall proceed to pass final orders if empowered to do so; otherwise he shall forward the record with his detailed finding to the officer having the necessary powers.'

Paragraph 63 makes provisions for appeals. It provides that an appeal from the order of the Inspector General of Police would lie to the Minister-in-charge, and the order of the appellate authority shall be final. Paragraph 64 further provider that an officer whose appeal has been rejected may, however, apply for revision on grounds of material irregularities in the proceedings or on quoting fresh evidence and may submit to the same authority or to the Prime Minister, a plea for mercy, and it is further provided that the revisionary authority may order a fresh inquiry if it is found, that the case for prosecution or defence has been adversely affected by any material irregularities. The first grievance of the petitioner is that a breach of para. 57 (a) was committed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police inasmuch as he did not record or read out to the petitioner any statement summarising the misconduct alleged against him, with the result that he was in complete darkness as to the allegations made against him, and in respect of which the inquiry was sought to be made. This contention of the petitioner is without, any substance. Indeed, a copy of the general statement read out to the petitioner relating to his misconduct has been produced on the record of this case on behalf of the opposite* parties. This statement was as follows :

'That you asked the Sub-Inspector Hardayal that he should obtain some money from the complainant for yourself. Thereupon Hardayal said that the complainant was an acquaintance of Thakurdass, and that further talk should take place through him. Thereafter you gave a threat to the complainant that a warrant will be got issued, and asked Thakurdass Sub-Inspector to extract money out of the complainant. Thereafter you took a sum of Rs. 15/- by way of bribe through Sub-Inspector Hardayal. When the matter leaked out, you returned the money to Hardayal. What is your explanation as to ail this?'

It is. therefore, obvious that a statement summarising the misconduct of the petitioner Chelaram was read-out to him, and he had full notice of the case against him. The next grievance of the petitioner is that no charge was served upon him under para. 59 of the Police Rules. In this connection a reference to sub-para (b) of para 57 set out above shows that if the accused police-officer admits the misconduct alleged against him, the officer conducting the inquiry shall proceed forthwith to record the final order, and it is outside his power to finally deal with the case, he will draw up his finding and submit the case to the senior officer empowered to decide the case. It is admitted that the Inspector General of Police was the proper authority, who was empowered to deal with the petitioner who was an inspector. According to the paragraphs cited above the petitioner had almost admitted the case against himself except that he denied to have received the money at all, and. therefore, the inquiring officer did not consider it necessary to deal with the case under para. 59 which comes into play when the accused police officer does not admit his guilt. In other words, the Deputy Inspector General of Police who conducted the inquiry thought it fit to record his finding under para. 57(b). and submitted the case to the Inspector General of Police. We are of opinion that in such circumstances, it was not necessary for the Deputy Inspector General of Police to have served charge-sheet upon the petitioner under para. 59 (a) of the Rules, and any failure to do so was of no consequence at all. We may here refer to another allegation made by the petitioner that the DeputyInspector General of Police had induced him to make an admission of his guilt by holding out assurances to him that if he did so, no action would be taken against him. The allegation has been denied on behalf of the opposite parties, but as this is one of the grounds of the petitioner's representation to the Government, we do not propose to express any opinion thereon. Having given our careful consideration to this aspect of the case, we are of opinion that there is no force in the contention of the petitioner that the inquiry made against him was not in conformity with the rules laid down in the Police Manual, and that being so, we are not at all prepared to hold that the inquiry made against the petitioner was illegal, and, therefore, void or inoperative.

5. The next contention of the petitioner is. however, not without force. As already stated above, the Inspector General of Police passed the order of dismissal against the petitioner on 10-3-49. Prom that order, the petitioner appealed to the Administrator of the former State of Bikaner, who modified the order of the Inspector General of Police, and instead of dismissing the petitioner, reduced him to the rank of a Sub-Inspector. It has been contended on behalf of the opposite parties that the Administrator had no authority to entertain the petitioner's appeal against the orders of the Inspector General of Police, and to take the action which he did. The fact remains, however, that this order has received effect so far, and it has not been pointed out to us on behalf of the opposite parties what precisely were the powers of the Administrator in dealing with such cases. In any case, this point is not of much importance as the petitioner, aggrieved by the order of that authority, submitted a further representation to the Government of Rajasthan, which representation was rejected by the Government by an order dated 3-11-1950. It is important to remember that in the meantime the Constitution of India had come into force. Article 320 of the Constitution deals with the functions of the Public Service Commission, both of the Union as well as of the various States. The relevant portion of Art. 320(3) reads as follows:

'(3) The Union Public Service Commission or the State Public Service Commission, as the case may be, shall be consulted-

(a) .....

(b) .....

(c) on all disciplinary matters affecting a person serving under the Government of India or the Government of a State in a civil capacity, including memorials or petitions relating to such matters.

(d) .....

(e) ........... ...... ...... .... .... .... ..........'

It is not the case of the opposite parties that the memorial or petition or representation, it is immaterial by whichever name the thing may be called, of the petitioner had been finally disposed of by the Rajasthan Government before 26-1-1950, when the Constitution came into force. In other words, his petition was pending at the commencement of the Constitution, and was decided as late as 3-11-1950. It is also a fact that it was decided without consultation with the State Public Service Commission. It is strenuously contended by the learned Assistant Government Advocate that such consultation was not at all necessary according to law. This contention is, in our opinion, without any substance, because the Constitution made it I obligatory for the State to consult the Public Service Commission on all disciplinary mattersaffecting the civil servants of the State including memorials or petitions relating to such matters. There is no gainsaying the fact that the petitioner's representation relating to the disciplinary action taken against him was lying undisposed of when the Constitution came into operation, and, therefore, the provisions of the Constitution, once they came into operation, applied with full force to such representation. The fact that this representation was rejected on 3-11-50 and thereafter a further review application was filed later, and that there was no provision for the filing of a subsequent review petition does not and cannot alter the position we have set out above. We may in this connection also point out that according to the provisions laid down in the Police Rules which we have already set out above, it was open to an officer, against whom departmental action had been taken, to apply in revision on grounds of material irregularities in the proceedings or otherwise to apply for mercy right upto the Prime Minister in the former State of Bikaner, and, therefore, we are unable to hold that the representation submitted by the petitioner against his order of degradation was not provided for in the Police Rules. The conclusion is, therefore, irresistible that the petitioner's representation to the Rajasthan Government in the matter of the disciplinary action taken against him was disposed of without consultation with the Public Service Commission, and that this constituted a breach of Article 320 of the Constitution. We further hold that in the circumstances mentioned above, we shall not be justified in refusing to interfere on the further contention raised on behalf of the State that the petitioner has another remedy viz., by way of a civil suit. We are of opinion that such a remedy cannot be a bar to the exercise of the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court in a case where a clear breach of the mandatory provisions of the Constitution has been committed. Reference may be made in this connection to a case of this: Court: -- 'Shiv Charan Lal v. State of Rajasthan', 1952 R. L. W. 118(A).

6. The result is that we allow this petition, and hereby direct that the order of the Rajasthan Government dated 3-11-50 rejecting the petitioners revision petition and any further orders to the same effect shall be inoperative against the petitioner, and that the Rajasthan State shall decide the said revision petition after consultation with the Public Service Commission in due course. wE pass no order as to costs.


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