Singh Vs. State of Punjab & Ors  INSC 372 (27 November 1990)
A.M. (J) Ahmadi, A.M. (J) Shetty, K.J. (J)
1991 AIR 385 1990 SCR Supl. (3) 354 1991 SCC (1) 362 1990 SCALE (2)1152
of India, 1950: Article 311(2) Second Proviso clause (b)---Dismissal
under--Dispensing with de- partmental enquiry--Reasoning-subjective
satisfaction of the authority--Whether open to Judicial Review.
Law: Civil Services: Punjab Police Rules--Rule 16.2--Dismissal from service--Dispensing
with departmental enquiry contemplated under Article 311(2) of the Constitu- tion--Reasonable
Practicability of holding an enquiry--Absence of independent materials
justifying the dispensation---Consequent dismissal order--Sustainability
appellant, a Policeman, was dismissed from service on the basis of certain
allegations that he was instigating his fellow police officials to cause
indiscipline, insubor- dination and disloyalty. The Assistant Inspector-General
of Police who passed the dismissal order, dispensed with the departmental
enquiry contemplated by Article 311(2) of the Constitution on the ground that
it was not feasible to hold an enquiry in view of the appellant's threats that
he with the help of other police employees, would not allow holding of any
departmental enquiry against him and that he and his associates would not
hesitate cause physical injury to the witnesses and the enquiry officer.
the said dismissal order, the appellant pre- ferred an appeal to the
authorities which was of no avail.
therefore, filed a writ petition before the High Court challenging the
dismissal order. The writ petition was dismissed in limine. Aggrieved by the
summary dismissal of his writ petition, the appellant preferred this appeal by
behalf of the appellant it was contended that the action taken against him was
clearly mala fide and actuated by ulterior motives. It was also stated that on
some earlier occasions the appellant was placed under suspension but was
reinstated later. Also a case under Section 09 IPC for attempt to commit
suicide was registered against him and he was convicted. However, the appeal
preferred by the appel- lant was 355 allowed and he was acquitted. It was
further contended that there was no justification for dispensing with the
enquiry contemplated by Article 311(2) of the Constitution and the reason given
therefore was wholly imaginary.
the appeal, this Court,
1. Clause (b) of the second proviso to Article 311(2) of the Constitution can
be invoked only when the authority is satisfied from the material placed before
him that it is not reasonably practicable to hold a departmental enquiry. [363C]
Union of India & Anr. v. Tulsi Ram
Patel & Ors., [1985)] Suppl. 2 SCR 131, relied on.
Personnel Officer v. T.R. Chellappan,  1 SCR 783, referred to.
Although clause (3) of Article 311 makes the decision ï7 3 finality can
certainly be tested in a court of law and interfered with if the action is
found to be arbitrary or mala fide or motivated by extraneous considerations or
merely a ruse to dispense with the enquiry. [361G] Satyavir Singh & Ors. v.
Union of India & Ors.,  4 SCC 252; Shivaji Atmaji Sawant v. State of Maharashtra
& Ors.,  2 SCC 112; Ikrarnuddin Ahmed Borah v. Superin- tendent of
Police, Darrang & Ors.,  Suppl. SCC 663, relied on.
decision to dispense with the departmental en- quiry cannot be rested solely on
the ipse dixit of the concerned authority. When the satisfaction of the
concerned authority is questioned in a court of law. it is incumbent on those
who support the order to show that the satisfaction is based on certain
objective facts and is not the outcome of the whim or caprice of the concerned
In the instant case, satisfaction was based on the ground that the appellant
was instigating his colleagues and was holding meetings with other police
officials with a view to spreading hatred and dissatisfaction towards his superi-
ors. This allegation is based on his alleged activities on April 3, 1981 reported by SHO. That report is not
forthcom- ing. It is no one's contention that the said SHO was threat- ened.
The third respondent's counter also does not reveal if he had 356 verified the
correctness of the information. To put it tersely, the subjective satisfaction
recorded in paragraph 3 of the order is not fortified by any independent
material to justify the dispensing with of the inquiry envisaged by Article
311(2) of the Constitution. On this short ground alone the impugned order
cannot be sustained. [363G-H; 364A-B]
Moreover, the earlier departmental enquiries were duly conducted against the
appellant and there was no alle- gation that the department had found any
difficulty in examining the witnesses in the said enquiries. It was incum- bent
on the department to disclose to the Court, the materi- al in existence on the
date of passing the order, but the department could not disclose any such
material. Besides it is difficult to understand how the appellant could have
given the threats when he was hospitalised. [363F, F] [This Court directed that
the appellant should be rein- stated in service forthwith, with all monetary
benefits like pay, allowances etc. available to him from the date of dismissal.