State of Haryana and
Ors. Vs. Ranbir Singh  INSC 1629 (23 September 2008)
JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.5822 OF 2008 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.13753 of
2007 STATE OF HARYANA & ORS. ...APPELLANT (S) VERSUS ORDER Leave granted.
plaintiff was a Police Constable. He was dismissed on 5th February, 1998. Order
of dismissal was passed by Inspector General of Police, Gurgaon. Against the
Order of dismissal, respondent herein filed a Suit for declaration that the
Order of dismissal be declared as null and void.
In the Suit five
issues were framed. We are concerned with Issue No. 2 and Issue No. 3.
Issue No.2 [as
reframed] reads as under:- "Whether the dismissal order was null and void
for not obtaining prior concurrence of the District Magistrate in terms of
Rules 16.38 of PPR as applicable to the State of Haryana which is the
constitutional mandate under Article 311 of the Constitution? -2- Issue No.3:
Whether the plaintiff is entitled to be reinstated with all service benefits
i.e. salary and other allowances along with all other incidental reliefs?"
The Trial Court came
to the conclusion that in the F.I.R. No. 11 dated 20th January, 1997 respondent
was acquitted. The Trial Court further found that the Departmental Inquiry
which was simultaneously instituted on 20th January, 1997, stood conducted
without concurrence from the District Judge. Therefore, according to the Trial
Court, there was failure on the part of the Department in complying with Rule
16.38 of Punjab Police Rules, 1934, as applicable to the State of Haryana. We
quote hereinbelow the said Rule 16.38 of the Punjab Police Rules, as applicable
to the State of Haryana:
Criminal offence by police officers and strictures by courts - procedure
regarding -(1) Where a preliminary enquiry or investigation into a complaint
alleging the commission by an enrolled police officer of a criminal offence in
connection with his official relations with the public, establishes a prima
facie case, a judicial prosecution shall normally follow. Where, however, the
Superintendent of Police proposes to proceed in the case departmentally, the
concurrence of the District Magistrate shall be obtained.
This finding of the Trial
Court on Issue No. 2 has been affirmed by the First Appellate Court and the
High Court. We see -3- no infirmity as far as this finding goes. Rule 16.38
proceeds on the basis that where the judicial prosecution is pending and the
Department seeks to hold a Departmental Inquiry simultaneously, prior
concurrence of the District Magistrate is required to be taken.
Therefore, all the
Courts below were right in coming to the conclusion that the Departmental
Inquiry which was conducted was null and void, that it was in the absence of
concurrence of the District Judge.
However, on Issue No.
3 the Trial Court came to the right conclusion that in this case the respondent
has admitted even in his cross-examination that he was found in a drunken
position on duty even on earlier occasions. The Trial Court found further that
the respondent had made a categorical unequivocal admission to that effect even
before the punishing authority that he used to drink during duty hours. In view
of the said admission the Trial Court rightly came to the conclusion that the
respondent was entitled to reinstatement without back wages. The Trial Court
found that the respondent's case comes in the category of "no work, no
pay". This finding of the Trial Court was reversed by the First Appellate
Court which directed not only reinstatement but also back wages. The decision
of the First Appellate Court has been affirmed by the High Court. Hence the
Department has come by way of this Civil Appeal.
Looking to the
admissions made by the respondent herein, we are of the view that the Trial
Court was right in decreeing the -4- Suit in favour of respondent No. 1 by
ordering reinstatement without back wages. We are of the view that the First
Appellate Court and the High Court should not have interfered with the decree
passed by the Trial Court. In the present case, as stated above, respondent has
admitted, both before the punishing authority and in his cross-examination in
Court that he used to drink during duty hours. In the circumstances, respondent
would be entitled to only reinstatement without back wages.
Department's Civil Appeal is partly allowed with no order as to costs.