of Punjab & Ors Vs. Rajesh Kumar  Insc
828 (20 November 2006)
& Altamas Kabir
out of SLP(C) No.12359 of 2006) Dr.AR.LAKSHMANAN, J.
learned counsel for the appellants and the respondent.
have perused the orders passed by the courts below and the relevant rules.
respondent was appointed on 02.12.1989 as a Constable. He was discharged from
service on 18.10.1992 under Rule 12.21 of Punjab Police Rules. Rule 12.21 reads
as under :-
Discharge of inefficient:
constable who is found unlikely to prove an efficient police officer may be
discharged by the Superintendent of police at any time within three years of
enrolment. There shall be no appeal against an order of discharge under the
rule" It is also the case of the Department that the respondent being an unauthorised
absentee, the Superintendent of Police found him unlikely to prove an efficient
police officer as per high standard of discipline as being expected from police
personnel. The above submission of the learned counsel for the appellants is
supported by a recent decision of this Court in State of Punjab & Ors. vs. Sukhwinder
Singh, (2005) 5 SCC 569, which is also a case of a police constable and the
discharge of the said police officer before completion of probation period of
three years. This Court held that a superior officer in order to satisfy
himself whether the employee concerned should be continued in service or not
may make an enquiry for this purpose. The superior officers of the Department
have to take work from an employee and they are the best people to judge
whether an employee should continue in service and made a permanent employee or
not having regard to his performance, conduct and overall suitability for the job.
A probationer is on test and a temporary employee has no right to the post.
instant case, a simple order of discharge has been passed. It is not in dispute
that the respondent was on probation having been appointed on 02.12.1989 and
discharged on 18.10.1992. The period of probation gives any time an opportunity
to the employer to watch the work, ability, efficiency, sincerity and
competence of the servant. In the instant case, the Department officials found
the respondent not suitable for the post and, therefore, they always reserve a
right to dispense with his services in any manner during or at the end of the
prescribed period which is called period of probation.
similar case titled State of Punjab vs. Balbir Singh, 2004 (7) JT 383 in which
a constable was discharged from service under Rule 12.21 on the basis of
specific charge of consumption of liquor in office and misbehaviour with a lady
constable and this Court while affirming the order of discharge passed the
following order :
of termination cannot be held to be punitive in nature. The misconduct on
behalf of the respondent was not the inducing factor for the termination of the
respondent. The preliminary enquiry was not done with the object of finding out
misconduct on the part of the respondent it was done only with a view to
determine the suitability of the respondent within the meaning of Punjab Police
Rules 12.21. The termination was not founded on the misconduct but the misbehaviour
with a lady constable and consumption of liquor in office were considered to
determine the suitability of the respondent for the job, in the light of the
standard of discipline expected from police personnel." The Full Bench of
the High Court of Punjab & Haryana has held in the case of Sher Singh vs.State
of Haryana, 1994(2) S.L.R. Page 100 that a constable can be discharged from
service under Rule 12.21 of Punjab Police Rules, 1934 at any time within three
years of his enrolment in spite of the fact that there is a specific allegation
which may even amount to misconduct against him. It was further held by the
Full Bench that a Superintendent of Police can form his opinion on police
officer not only on the basis of the periodic reports contemplated under Rule
19.5 but also on the basis of any other relevant material. In view of the above
decision, the constable can be discharged from service even if there is
specific allegation which may amount to misconduct against him.
High Court, in our opinion, has also failed to notice that departmental enquiry
is not required before passing an order under Rule 12.21 of Punjab Police Rules
to discharge a constable on ground of his unauthorised absence and being
habitual absentee who is not suitable to become a police officer.
the Courts below are not right in observing that the order of discharge dated
18.10.1992 passed by the Senior superintendent of Police is based on misconduct
of the respondent and, therefore, no opportunity of hearing is necessary as per
opinion, all the lower courts including the High Court was clearly in error in
holding that the order of termination of service is punitive in nature.
therefore, allow the appeal filed by the appellants and set aside the orders
passed by all the courts below and also of the High Court.