of Punjab & Ors Vs. Dharam Singh  INSC
1614 (16 December 1996)
O R D
have heard learned counsel on both sides.
appeal by special leave arises from the order of the Punjab & Haryana High
Court, made on October
4, 1995 in Writ
Petition No. 9718 of 1994. Action was take under Punjab Police Rules for taking
disciplinary action against the respondent for his failure to report for duty
during period from November
21, 1991 to October 31, 1992. An inquiry was conducted against
the respondent and it was conducted against the respondent and it was found
that his absence was wilful. The High Court has set aside his removal from
service on the ground that subsistence allowance was not paid to him and,
therefore, his absence was not wilful.
16.21 reads as under;
- Status and treatment of officer under suspension - (1) A police officer shall
not by reason being suspended from office cease to be a police officer.
the term of such suspension the powers, functions and privileges vested in him
as a police officer shall be in abeyance, but he shall continue subject to the
same responsiblities, discipline and to the same authorities, as if he had not
been suspended." A reading of it would clearly indicate that even during
the period of suspension the police officer is required to attend to roll call
and be available to the authorities. The payment of subsistence allowance, as
ordered, under the suspension rule is one facet of it and his duty to be
present is another. No-payment of subsistence allowance does not entitle a
delinquent officer to be absent from duty. It is his duty to claim subsistence
allowances and if it is not paid, necessary representation to the higher authorities
and, if the grievance is not redressed, to the appropriate forum seeking
payment, may be made. But that does not mean that the delinquent officer, in
the face of the express rule, can absent himself from duty. Under these
circumstances, the conclusion reached by the disciplinary authority that he was
wilfully absent from duty is well justified. However, on the quantum of
punishment imposed, on the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the
view that instead of the removal, compulsorily retirement from service would be
an appropriate punishment.
appeal is accordingly allowed. The order of the High Court stands set aside.
Instead of the order of removal, the authorities are directed to consider
passing an order compulsorily retiring him from service so that he will be
eligible to the pensionary benefits and other benefits under the rules, No