Union of India Vs. Ram Kishan  INSC
159 (7 May 1971)
SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) MITTER,
REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN DUA, I.D.
CITATION: 1971 AIR 1402 1971 SCR 753 1971 SCC
D 1988 SC 805 (10) D 1989 SC 811 (10)
Punjab Police Rules, r. 16.38-Police Officer
in plain clothes committing offence while raiding a place-Failure to give
information to District Magistrate-Validity of departmental inquiry and
dismissal of police officer.
The respondent, a police constable, raided a
place, and in the course of the raid caused a knife injury to one of the
persons in the place. He went to the scene of occurrence without his uniform. A
case under s. 324, I.P.C., was registered against him. A departmental inquiry
was also ordered against him and he was dismissed from service. He filed a
suit. challenging the order of dismissal on the ground, inter alia, that the
procedure prescribed by the r.
16.38 of the Punjab Police Rules was not
The High Court, in appeal, decreed the suit.
In appeal to this Court,
HELD: The plaintiff was purporting to
exercise the authority of a police officer even if he was in plain clothes. The
acts alleged against him. constituted a criminal offence in connection with his
official relation with the public and their description in the charge in the
departmental proceedings as negligence was an attempt to avoid the, effect of
r. 16.38. Under sub-r. (1) of the rule immediate information regarding the
commission of. the offence should have been given to the District Magistrate.
In the present case there was no evidence of
any such information being given to the District Magistrate, nor was there
evidence that the District Magistrate decided that the investigation _shall be
conducted by the police officers who conducted it. Since there was a breach of
(1) of the rule the order of dismissal was
illegal. U59E- H. 760H] Delhi Administration v. Chanan Shah,  3 S.C.R.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 750 of 1966.
Appeal by special leave from judgment and
order dated March 4, 1964 of the Punjab High Court, Circuit Bench, Delhi in
C.R.S.A. No. 256-D of 1962.
Jagadish Swarup, Solkitor-General, and R. N.
Sachthey, for the appellant.
N. D. Bali and D. D. Sharma, for the
758 The Judgment of the Court was delivered
by Sikri, C.J.-The respondent, Ram Kishan, Head Constable, (hereinafter
referred to as the Plantiff) failed a suit challenging the order of dismissal
passed against him on 3rd September, 1957 by Shri D. C. Sharma, Superintendent
of Police (Central). The main attack was twofold. First it was alleged that
Shri. D. C. Sharma was not a District Superintendent of Police and, therefore
not entitled to dismiss the plaintiff., Secondly it was alleged that as the
procedure prescribed by Rule 16.38 of the, Punjab Police Rules was not
followed, the departmental action taken against the plaintiff was illegal.
The version of the plaintiff as to what
happened on 22nd June, 1957 was this. On 22nd June, 1957 he was on duty for
prevention of crime and while on his round he received information that some
gamblers were gambling in a public place on Rouse Avenue. Consequently, he
organised a raiding party.' The gamblers, who were Harijans, out-numbered the
police party and inflicted some injuries on the members of the party. Fearing
that they would be hauled up, they approached a Harijan member of the
Corporation as well as a Harijan Member of the Parliament, who telephoned to
the plaintiff's officers, at the police station, before the plaintiff reached
the police station from the scene of affray in order to lodge his report.
The version of the Government was that the
plantiff was deputed for the checking of cycle theft duty near Employment
Exchange, Darya Gunj and he had not been posted at Rouse Avenue, Harding
Bridge. It was denied that the plaintiff received any information regarding
gambling at a public place. in Rouse Avenue. On the contrary it was alleged on
behalf of the Government that the plantiff alongwith other constables wanted to
implicate Mohan Lal, Nathu etc., and a scuffle.. took, place between the
plaintiff and his other associates on the one hand and Mohan Lal and others on
the other hand.
The Sub-Judge dismissed the suit.
The plaintiff filed an appeal before the
Additional District Judge, who accepted the appeal and granted the plaintiff a
decree, for a declaration that the order dated 3rd September, 1957 dismissing
him from service is illegal and ultra vires. He also passed a decree for Rs.
1926 /10 on account of pay and allowances.
The Government filed an appeal in the High
Court. The' case came up before Mahajan J., who observed that there was a
breach of Rule 16.38 of the Punjab Police Rules but as it was 759 contended
that the Police Rule 16.38 was directory and not mandatory, he referred the
case to a Division Bench.
Mehar Singh J. speaking for the Bench held
that "in view of Babu Ram Upadhya's (1) case this rule must be held to be
mandatory, though even otherwise, on the language of the rule itself I am of
the opinion that it is a rule mandatory in nature". He further observed
that "In this case it is an admitted fact that there was no reference of
the information to the District Magistrate and he had no opportunity to take a
decision first under subrule (1) and then under sub- rule(2)." He agreed
with the first appellate court that the charge in the statement of allegations
was an information indicating the commission by the respondent of a criminal
offence in connection with his official relation with the public, as not only
Batto was injured in the incident but also some Foot Constables.
It was contended before us that the first
part of the rule 16.38 does not apply because the plaintiff went to the scene
of occurrencewithout any uniform and that the question of commission of a
criminal offence by a police officer in connection with his official relations
with the public can only arise if he commits the offence when he is in a
uniform. It was further urged that before an offence can be said to have been
committed by a, police officer it must be not in exercise of purported
authority but real authority.
We are unable to see any force in these
contentions. On the facts of this case it is quite clear that the plantiff was
purporting to exercise authority of a police officer and even if he was in
plain clothes it does not mean that he was not purporting to act as a police
In our view, in this case there was a breach
of sub-rule (1) of Rule 16.38. D.W. 2, Raghu Nath, admitted that on 22nd June
1957 a case under s. 324 I. P. C. was registered at the instance of Harijans
and that investigation was made Hori Lal and then S. I. Daulat Ram. The
allegations against Ram Kishan and others were that they had inflicted a knife
injury on Mst. Batto, a Harijan woman and medical report showed that the injury
was with a blunt weapon though the injury was simple. He further said that S.
P. ordered him to start a departmental inquiry against the plaintiff.
There is no evidence that any immediate
information was given to the District Magistrate of the complaint received
against the plaintiff. Neither is there any evidence that the District
Magistrate decided that the investigation shall be conducted by the police
officers, who conducted it.
(1) A.I.R. 1961 S.C. 751 760 The learned
counsel for the Government further contended that the charge against the
plantiff in the departmental proceedings was a, charge of negligence and not a
charge in connection with the commission of a criminal offence in connection
with his official relations with public. The charge reads as under:
"That you on 22-6-57 at 8.30 a.m. were
sent for checking cycle thieves vide D. D. No. 9 dated 22-6-57 P. S. Faiz
Bazar, but left your place of duty and alongwith F. C. Thakur Dayal No. 6105
went to Asaf Ali Road from where you took F. Cs. Lekh Raj No. 6512 and Bhagat
Ram No. 1952.
You accompanied by the three F. Cs. mentioned
above went to the Harijan Basti in the area of Rouse Avenue in search of some
That you or any of your F. Cs. were not in
That you raided some Harijans who were
sitting on the cots under a tree without giving your identity under the pretext
That altercation took place between your two
F. Cs. Thakur Dayal No. 6105 and Bhagat Ram No. 1952 and the Harijans, where in
these two F. Cs. and Mst. Batto mother of Mohan Lal were injured.
That no independent witness or informer were
produced by you before the investigation officer to show whether or not your
raid was of bona fide nature.
1, therefore, charge you for gross negligence
of duty." But according to the final sentence in the summary of alle-
gations this action amounted to gross negligence of duty and misconduct.
It seems to us that it was a colourable
attempt to avoid the effect of Police Rule 16.38 sub-rule(1). It is a clear
case of criminal offence and it was a mere device to call it gross negligence.
Following the case Delhi Administration v.
Chanan Shah(1) we hold that as in this case there has been no compliance
whatsoever of Rule 16-38, sub-rule(1), the order of dismissal is illegal. In
the result the appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.
V.P.S. Appeal dismissed.
(1)  3 S.C.R. 653.