1. The facts of the case out of which this rule arises are these: The petitioner Ram Gopal Adhikari is a dismissed Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police. Apparently certain charges were brought against him. What those charges were it is impossible to discover from the record. Neither the learned advocate who appears for the petitioner nor the learned advocate who appears for the Grown has been able to enlighten me on this point. He was however committed to the Sessions Court on these charges and ultimately acquitted. Be that as it may, he was placed under suspension by the District Superintendent of Police on 6th May 1929 and was ordered to live in the police lines until further orders and also directed not to leave the lines without permission. He made several applications to the Police Superintendent on various occasions for permission to absent himself from the lines, and those petitions apparently were all rejected, why, it does not appear. Finally according to his ease, and this portion of his case has not been controverted, on 23rd September 1929 he received a telegram that his wife was dangerously ill. He had before this applied on 17th September for a week's time to see his ailing wife and child but that petition was rejected. On receiving the telegram that his wife was dangerously ill he applied to the Superintendent of Police for leave and left the lines in anticipation of the permission and for so doing he was prosecuted under Section 29, Police Act, and ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 20 only.
2. It is clear to me that the order of the Police Superintendent confining the petitioner to the police lines for an indefinite period is an illegal order. Section 7, Police Act, is the only section under which he could have been ordered to be kept in confinement and that section provides confinement for a term not exceeding 15 days as an alternative punishment for suspension. But the section does not contemplate confinement in addition to suspension and certainly not indefinite confinement. To order the petitioner to live in the police lines until further orders and not to leave the lines without permission is to confine him in these lines. The order is clearly illegal. I have been referred to Rule No. 1067 of the Police Regulation which states as follows:
Police officers and men while under suspension, shall reside in the lines unless permitted by the Superintendent to reside elsewhere and shall attend the fixed roll calls. Those absent without permission render themselves liable to prosecution under Section 29, Act 5 of 1801.
3. It seems to me that this Rule is clearly ultra vires and illegal. The present case  2 C.L.J. 616 is on all fours with the case of Ram Gopal Ghose v. Emperor  2 C.L.J. 616. There it is held that an order for suspension and confinement of a police officer for an unlimited period of time exceeding the limits laid down in Clause (b), Section 7, Act 5 of 1861, is illegal and is not such an order which a District Superintendent of Police can legally pass at all, nor one which he can pass in the alternative under Section 7 of the Act, and no conviction under Section 29 of the Act, for disobeying such an order is maintainable.
4. Looking at the order itself it was apparently an unreasonable order. The Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police was under suspension. Certain serious charges had been brought against him and he was under trial for those charges. His petition shows that at one time he applied for permission to leave the lines in order to get money for conducting his defence and this was refused. How difficult it would be for the petitioner to manage his defence in the criminal case while he was kept in confinement in the lines can easily be realized. Even if the order in this case had been a legal one it was certainly as far as I can see, an entirely unreasonable one. The Sub-Inspector had no work to do in the lines or anywhere else. He was under suspension and I cannot see for what purpose ho should in such circumstance be confined to the lines lie should on the contrary have been given every opportunity to prepare his defence and not be hampered. Be that as it may, the order is an illegal one and the conviction of the petitioner under Section 29, Police Act, is bad. The conviction of, and the sentence imposed upon, the petitioner are therefore set aside and he is acquitted. The fine if paid must be refunded.