1. In this writ petition for the issue of a writ of certiorari, the petitioner has challenged the order of his removal from service. The petitioner was initially recruited for the post of a permanent Sub-Inspector and after completing the training, he was posted as a Probationary Sub-Inspector in the B2 Police Station, Madurai South. Thereafter, he was transferred to other places and finally confirmed in the post of Sub-Inspector on 14th June, 1966. In 1972, the petitioner was promoted to the Deputy Inspector of Police. Subsequently, in 1975, according to the case of the petitioner, he was promoted to the post of Inspector of Police by an order of the third respondent herein in memo No. 105758/RA-1/75 dated 27th June, 1975 and this order was communicated to the petitioner by the Superintendent of Police, Madurai South, in his communication D.C. No. 1296/75 dated 9th May, 1975. Thereafter, the petitioner was posted to Kodaikanal Police Station where he was working till 25th August, 1977. Subsequently, certain charges were framed against the petitioner under S. 4(1)(a) of the Prohibition Act and S. 499, I.P.C. A charge memo also was issued to him asking for the explanation of the petitioner with reference to the charge of the acceptance of illegal gratification. The petitioner submitted his explanation stating that he was innocent. Thereafter, the enquiry was proceeded with and further representations were called for from the petitioner by the fourth respondent. Later, the fourth respondent informed the petitioner that it was provisionally decided to impose the punishment of dismissal on the petitioner for the charges framed against him. A reply to that was also sent by the petitioner to the 4th respondent and subsequently by an order dated 18th August, 1979, the 4th respondent removed the petitioner from service. An appeal against that order was preferred by the petitioner to the third respondent and that was also rejected. A review petition filed by the petitioner subsequently was also rejected. It is under the aforesaid circumstances that the petitioner has come forward before this Court praying for issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the order of his dismissal from service.
2. In the counter affidavit filed by the respondent herein, apart from meeting the case of the petitioner on its merits, it is stated that the pointing authority in respect of Inspectors of Police is the Deputy Inspector General Police, and that only such an authority had passed orders removing the petitioner from service and therefore, no exception could be taken to the order of dismissal of the petitioner from service.
3. The only contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner was appointed as an Inspector of Police by memo No. 205758/RA-1/75, dated 27th June, 1975, by the third respondent, who is the Inspector General of Police, and therefore, the order of removal of the petitioner from service passed by the 4th respondent, an officer inferior in rank to the appointing authority, cannot be sustained. Reliance was also placed upon the decision in Thirumalai Subramanian v. Inspector General of Police, Madras and another (W.P. 213 of 1976, dated 9th December, 1977). On the other hand, the learned Additional Government Pleader submitted that under the relevant rules governing the appointment of Inspectors of Police, viz., Rule 3(a) read with Annexure-I of the Special Rules for Tamil Nadu Police Subordinate Service, the Deputy Inspector General of Police is the appointing authority and therefore, the order dismissing the petitioner from service passed by him was quite correct and could not in any manner be challenged. The decision relied on by the learned Counsel for the petitioner was stated to be inapplicable as that had proceeded on a wrong concession during the course of the arguments.
4. There cannot be any dispute that if the petitioner had been removed by the authority inferior to the one that appointed him, then the order of his removal cannot be sustained. This follows from Art. 311(1) of the Constitution of India. Thus, the main controversy that arises in this case is as to the authority by whom the petitioner was appointed as an Inspector of Police. Though the learned Additional Government Pleader would state that ordinarily it is the Deputy Inspector General of Police who makes such appointments, the appointment order had not been produced. On the other hand, in paragraph 2 of the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, the petitioner has very clearly and categorically averred that he was promoted and appointment to the post of Inspector of Police only by the Inspector General of Police and that order was communicated by the Superintendent of Police, Madurai South. In the counter affidavit filed by the respondents, in paragraph 6, though the recruitment, training and subsequent position and promotion of the petitioner have all been referred to, nothing has been said that the appointment of the petitioner was not by the third respondent. In other words, the claim of the petitioner that he had been appointed as an Inspector of Police only by the Inspector General of Police has not been contradicted at all by the respondent. It may be that under the rules, the Deputy Inspector General of Police is the competent appointing authority. Even so, it is clear that the petitioner's claim that he had been appointed only by the Inspector General of Police had not been contradicted at all. Under those circumstances, it has to be taken that in so far as the petitioner's appointment is concerned, it was done only by the Inspector General of Police, and not by the authority contemplated in Rule 3(a) read with Annexure I of the Tamil Nadu Police Subordinate Service Rules. That would mean that only the third respondent could have removed the petitioner from service and not any other authority. That this is the position is also clearly laid down by Ramanujam, J. in Thirumalai Subramanian v. The Inspector General of Police, Madras, and another (W.P. 213 of 1976, dated 9th December, 1977). Before the learned Judge, the objection was raised that the order of dismissal passed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police was bad, when the appointment of the Inspector of Police was made by the Inspector General of Police. This objection was upheld by the learned Judge. In that case, it was brought to the notice of the court that as per the rules in the Tamil Nadu Police Subordinate Service, the Deputy Inspector General of Police would be the competent authority to dismiss an Inspector of Police. Despite this the learned Judge upheld the contention urged on behalf of the petitioner that having regard to the appointment of Inspectors of Police by the Inspector General of Police, such persons cannot be removed from service by an order passed by an authority inferior to the appointing authority. That decision will squarely apply to the facts of this case. On this short ground, the order of dismissal passed by the fourth respondent and confirmed by the third respondent cannot be sustained and a writ of certiorari will issue quashing the same. Consequently, the rule nisi is made absolute and the order of the fourth respondent dated 18th March, 1979 removing the petitioner from service and confirmed by the order the order of the third respondent dated 29th June, 1980 is quashed. The writ petition will stand allowed. there will be however no order as to costs.
5. It is needles to point out that since the petitioner has succeeded on a technical ground, it would be open to the appointing authority to take de novo proceedings for the purpose of taking such further action as may be deemed necessary against the petitioner.