Channabasappa Basappa Happali Vs.
State of Mysore  INSC 220 (16 October 1970)
16/10/1970 HIDAYATULLAH, M. (CJ)
HIDAYATULLAH, M. (CJ) RAY, A.N.
CITATION: 1972 AIR 32 1972 SCR (2) 645
CITATOR INFO :
R 1984 SC 273 (41) F 1992 SC 591 (2)
Departmental Proceedings-Admission of
facts-Whether amounts to plea of guilt.
Departmental enquiry was started against the
appellant a police constable on the charges that he remained absent from duty
without leave or permission as he stayed beyond the sanctioned leave and that
he did go on fast contrary to, the discipline of the police force. In reply to
questions by the Enquiring Officer, the appellant admitted all the relevant
HELD : The admission of the facts by the
appellant amounted to a plea of guilty on the facts on which the appellant was
charged. The police constable here was not on his trial for a criminal offence.
It was a departmental enquiry, on facts, of which due notice was given to him.
He admitted the facts. There was no distinction between admission of facts and
admission of guilt. When he admitted the facts, he was guilty. The facts speak
for themselves. It was a clear case of indiscipline and nothing less. If a
police officer remains absent without leave and also resorts to fast as a
demonstration against the action of the superior officer the indiscipline is
fully established. [647 H, 648 C] Jagdish Prasad Saxena v. State of Madhya
Bharat (now Madhya Pradesh), A.I.R. 1961 S.C. 1070, distinguished.
Regina v. Durham Quarter Sessions, Ex-parte
Virgo,  2 Q.B.D. I referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 485 of 1967.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated February 25, 1966 of the Mysore High Court in Regular Second Appeal
No. 84 of 1962.
S. S. Javali and A. G. Ratmaparkhi, for the
Shyamala Pappu and S. P. Nayar, for the
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Hidayatullah, C.J. The appellant files his appeal by special leave against the
judgment of the learned Single Judge of the Mysore High Court, February 25,
1966, by which the appeal of the State Government in a civil matter was allowed
and the order of dismissal of the appellant who is a former police constable
was confirmed. His cross-objection was dismissed.
14-L436SupCI/71 646 The appellant was a
police constable serving in the Dharwar District. He joined the police force on
August 1, 1945 in the former State of Bombay. On the States Reorganisation, he
came under the jurisdiction of the State of Mysore and it was on November 26,
1953 that he was dismissed after a departmental enquiry against him on the
The petitioner had proceeded on leave for a
month from January 1, 1953. On January 26, 1953, he applied for extension of
leave for a month. A reply was received by him refusing leave, but only on
February 21, 1953. He made a second application for extension of leave on the
same date, but this extension of leave was not granted. On February 26, 1953,
he undertook a 7 days' fast at a temple situated three miles from Dharwar and
wrote letters to his superior officers to which we shall refer presently. A
charge was framed against him under three heads which were that he was guilty
of serious misconduct and indisciplinary action in that he remained absent from
duty without leave or permission from January 1, 1953, that he had sent letters
to his superior officers intimating his intention to go on fast with effect
from February 26, 1953 "for the upliftment of the country etc." and that
he had sent copies of these letters to several newspapers also. The third
charge was that he did go on fast on February 26, 1953 and continued it till
March 5, 1953 at the temple contrary to the discipline of the police force. He
was duly served with these charges and was also asked to obtain such copies
from the record as he needed for his defence and to bring a friend to defend
him if he liked. When the enquiry commenced, he was put a few questions by the
enquiring officer which may be referred to in detail.
Q. (1) Have you received a copy of the charge
sheet ? A. Yes.
Q. (2) Have you understood the Charges ? A.
Q. (3) Do you accept the charges framed
against you ? A. Yes.
Q. (4) Have you anything to say for breaking
the discipline of the Police Force ? A. I had been on leave for one month. I
applied to the Sub Inspector for, the extension of my leave by another month. I
thought that my leave may be extended. Hence I did not join duty on 31-1-53. 1
was greatly worried by the injustice done by the police to the poor public and
with a view to improve the Police Force and after informing the concerned
authorities, I went on 647 fast. I do not want any help from anybody for
defending myself. I do not propose to cross-examine any witness that may be
examined. Nor do I propose to examine any witness of my side. I do not know the
Police Manual Rules. I submitted the petition in the interest of the general
public. I did not go on fast in my self interest. I have done so in public
interest. We are living in a democratic country. So whatever is in the interest
of the general public cannot run counter to the discipline of the Police Force.
I pray for proper justice on the basis of reply and the documents which are
against me. I do not desire to say anything more".
It will appear from this that he did not want
to take any more part in the enquiry than to have the matter adjudged on the
basis. of his reply and the documents which were against him. This is what he
had stated in the penultimate sentence of his own statement and in the earlier
part, he had unequivocally admitted the facts which had been placed in charge
against him. His explanation was two-fold, namely that he continued to absent
himself because he thought that leave might have been extended and secondly that
his proceeding to go on fast was in the interest of democracy and the country
as a whole and also to improve the police force.
The pleas of the petitioner are quite clear;
in fact he admitted all the relevant facts on which the decision could be given
against him and therefore it cannot be stated that the enquiry was in breach of
any principle of natural justice. At an enquiry facts have to be proved and the
person proceeded against must have an opportunity to cross examine witnesses
and to give his own version or explanation about the evidence on which he is
charged and to lead his defence. In this case, the facts were two fold, that he
had stayed beyond the sanctioned leave and that he had proceeded on a fast as a
demonstration against the action of the authorities and also for what he called
the upliftment of the country etc. These facts were undoubtedly admitted by
him. His explanation was also there and it had, to be taken into account. That
explanation is obviously futile, because persons in the police force must be
clear about extension of leave before they absent themselves from duty. Indeed
this is true of every one of the services, unless of course there are
circumstances in, which. a person is unable to re-join service, as for example
when he is desperately ill or is other-wise reasonably prevented from attending
to his duties. This is not the case here. The petitioner took upon himself the
decision, as to whether leave could be extended or not and acted upon it.. He
did go on a fast.
His later explanation was that he went on a
fast for quite a different reason. The enquiry Officer had to go by the reasons
given before him. On the whole therefore the admission was one of guilty in so
far as the facts on which the enquiry, 648 was held and the learned single
Judge in the High Court was, in our opinion, right in so holding.
It was contended on the basis of the ruling
reported in Regina v.Durham Quarter Sessions Ex-parte Virgo(1) that on the
facts admitted in the present case, a plea of guilty ought not to be entered
upon the record and a plea of not guilty entered instead. Under the English
law, a plea of guilty has to he unequivocal and the court must ask the person
and of' the plea of guilty is qualified the Court must not enter a plea of
guilty but one of not guilty. The police constable here was not on his trial
for a criminal offence. It was a departmental enquiry, on facts of which due
notice was given to him. He admitted the facts. In fact his counsel argued
before us that he admitted the facts but not his guilt. We do not see any
distinction between Admission of facts and admission of guilt. When he admitted
the facts, he was guilty. The facts speak for themselves.
It was-,a clear case of indiscipline and
nothing less. If a police officer remains absent without leave and also resorts
to fast as a demonstration against the action of the superior officer the
indiscipline is fully established. The learned Single Judge in the High Court
was right when he laid down that the plea amounted to a plea of guilty on the
facts on which the petitioner was charged and we are in full agreement with the
observations of the learned, Single Judge.
The case really is not one of any merit; the
plea raised before us was in ad misericordiam. We were asked to take the view
that this man was actuated by his own feeling that leave would be extended and
further that his going on fast was not for the purpose of the administration
but for some other purpose. Even if we were to take the admission as a whole
with all its qualifications, we are quite clear that he admitted the facts
necessary to establish the charge against him.
The learned counsel for the appellant further
relied upon a ruling of this Court in Jagdish Prasad Saxena v. The State of
Madhya Bharat [now Madhya Pradesh(2).That case is absolutely distinguishable.
There are of course certain general observations about the importance of a
departmental enquiry and how it should be conducted. We have here a clear case
of a person who admitted the facts and did not wish to cross-examine any
witness or lead evidence on his own behalf. He only stated that his acts should
be adjudged on the basis of the documents which were in the case-. This was
done and there cannot be a complaint that the departmental enquiry was either
one-sided or not fair. On the whole therefore we are satisfied that the
appellant was properly adjudged guilty of indiscipline in the departmental
enquiry and the (1)  2 Q.B.D. 1.
(2) A. I. R. 1961 S. C. 1070.
6 49 order of dismissal which was passed
against him was merited.
In view of the fact that we are satisfied
that the appellant is one of those persons who thinks that other people in the
world have to be corrected and that perhaps he is one who is impelled by his
own thoughts, we think that the ends of justice would be served by not awarding
costs against him.
With these observations, we dismiss the
Y.P. Appeal dismissed.