State of Haryana
& Ors. Vs. Kashmir Singh & Ors.  INSC 828 (6 October 2010)
REPORTABLE IN THE
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 8690-8701
OF 2010 [arising out of Special Leave Petitions(Civil) Nos. 18686-18697/2007]
State of Haryana and others ...... Appellants -versus- Kashmir Singh and another
etc. etc. ....... Respondents
Markandey Katju, J.
appeals have been filed against the common impugned judgment of the Punjab and
Haryana High Court dated 51.5.2006 in CWP Nos. 7695, 7607, 7665, 7837, 8636,
8704, 8814, 9117, 6941, 8018 and 8310 of 2006.
learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
respondents herein were serving in various districts in the State of Haryana as
Constables, Head Constables, Exemptee Head Constables, Assistant Sub-Inspectors
and Sub-Inspectors (hereinafter in short as ASI and SI, respectively). They
were ordered to be transferred to other districts and ranges by the Inspector
General of Police. The respondents challenged the transfer orders contending
that in view of the Punjab Police rules so far as Constables, Head Constables
and Exemptee Constables are concerned, they could not be transferred outside
the district, and so far as ASI and SIs are concerned, they could not be
transferred outside the range.
contention has been upheld by the Division Bench of the High Court and hence
respect, we are unable to agree with the High Court.
1 of the Indian Police Act 1861 defines a `general police district' as follows
`general police district' shall embrace any presidency, State of place, or any
part of any presidency, State or place, in which this Act shall be ordered to
2 of the Act states as follows :
the force. - The entire police establishment under a State government shall,
for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be one police force and shall be
formally enrolled, and shall consist of such number of officers and men, and
shall be constituted in such manner, as shall from time be ordered by the State
4 of the Act states as follows:
of Police, etc. - the administration of the police throughout a general police-district
shall be vested in an officer to be styled the Inspector-General of Police, and
in such Deputy Inspectors-General and 4 Assistant Inspectors-General as to the
(State Government) shall seem fit.
The administration of
the police throughout the local jurisdiction of the Magistrate of the district
shall, under the general control and direction of such Magistrate, be vested in
a District Superintendent and such Assistant District Superintendents as the
(State Government) shall consider necessary".
a perusal of the relevant provisions of the Police Act clearly shows that the
State police is one integral unit and does not consist of separate independent
units. The overall administrative control of the police in the State is with
the Inspector-General of Police (now the Director-General of Police).
may now also consider the relevant Rules in the Punjab Police rules 1934
(hereinafter referred to as the `Rules'). Rule 1.4 of the Rules states as
"Rule 1.4 -
Administrative Division: - The districts of the province are grouped in Ranges
and the administration of 5 all police within each such range is vested in a
Deputy Inspector General under the control of the Inspector- General of Police.
The training school
is under the district control of the Inspector-General subject to such
delegation of powers as he may make to one or other of the range Deputy
Inspector General. The Criminal Investigation Department is administered by a
Deputy Inspector General, who also supervises the Finger Print Bureau".
Rule 1.5 - Limits of
jurisdiction and liability to transfer - All police officers appointed or
enrolled in either of the two general police districts constitute one police force
and are liable to, and legally empowered for, police duty, anywhere within the
province. No sub-division of the force territorially or by classes, such as
mounted and foot police, affects this principle.
Every police officer
shall be liable to serve at any place, whether within or outside the State of
Haryana and in any organization under the Central government or being ordered
so to do by the appointing authority. Every police officer is empowered to
under Section 3 of the Police Act 1888 (Central Act 3 of 1988), when necessary,
to exercise the powers, functions and privileges of a 6 police officer in any
part of India. In the exercise of such functions a police officer is deemed to
be a member of the police force of the State of Union of India, in which he is
at the time".
"Rule 12.26 -
Inter District Transfers. - Exchange of appointment lower subordinates in
districts of the same range or between such police officers in the railway and
district police, may be effected subject to the approval of the Superintendents
concerned (or of the Assistant Inspector General in cases affecting the railway
police). A lower subordinate may be transferred to fill a vacancy in a district
other than that in which he is serving only with the sanction of the Deputy Inspector
General of the range. In cases of transfer from and to districts in different
ranges, or from and to districts in different ranges, or from and to the
railway police, the sanction of both Deputy Inspector General concerned and the
Superintendent of Police Railways is required".
"Rule 14/15 -
14.15(1) - All enrolled police officers are, under Section 22 of the Police
Act, liable for service in any part of the general police district".
perusal of the relevant provisions of the Police Act and the Rules thus clearly
shows that the entire police establishment under 7 the State Government is one
integrated police force, though for better administration the State has been
sub-divided into districts/ranges. Rule 1.5 of the Rules clearly shows that
police officers constitute one police force and are liable to be posted
anywhere in the State. Moreover, Rule 1.5 also clearly states that no
sub-division of the force territorially or by classes, affects this principle.
Transfer from one district to another district or from one range to another
range can be effected, though with the sanction of certain authorities
mentioned in Rule 12.26.
a plain perusal of the Punjab Police Rule shows that transfer can be done from
one district to another district or even to another range, and there is no
absolute prohibition for doing so. However, in such a case, the seniority of
Constable and Head Constables at the district level and of ASI and SI at the
range level is maintained in the parent district/range despite the transfer.
Promotion/confirmation is also given strictly as per the seniority in the 8
parent district/range level, as per Memo No. 43515-22/E-(III) dated 10.8.2010.
ordinarily is an incidence of service, and the Courts should be very reluctant
to interfere in transfer orders as long as they are not clearly illegal. In
particular, we are of the opinion that transfer and postings of policemen must
be left in the discretion of the concerned State authorities which are in the
best position to assess the necessities of the administrative requirements of
the situation. The concerned administrative authorities may be of the opinion
that more policemen are required in any particular district and/or another
range than in another, depending upon their assessment of the law and order
situation and/or other considerations. These are purely administrative matters,
and it is well-settled that Courts must not ordinarily interfere in administrative
matters and should maintain judicial restraint vide Tata Cellular vs. Union of
India - AIR 1996 SC 11.
High Court in the impugned judgment has relied upon the decision of this Court
in Jawaharlal Nehru University vs. Dr. K.S. Jawatkar and others - (1998) Suppl.
1 SCC 679. After carefully considering the said decision we are of the opinion
that it has no relevance in the present case. In that decision the facts were
that the employees of the Jawaharlal Nehru University were sought to be
transferred to the Manipur University as the centre of post graduate studies
set up by the Jawaharlal Nehru University at Manipur was closed down and the
centre was transferred to Manipur University. This Court held that an employee
of one University cannot be transferred to another University without his
consent. We fail to understand what relevance this decision has with the
present case. In the present case, it is not that the respondent employees are
being transferred from one employer to another employer. Here the employer
remains the same i.e. the State of Haryana. Hence, the aforesaid decision has
no relevance in the present case. For the same reason G.Varandani vs.
Kurukshetra University and another - (2003) 10 SCC 14 also has no relevance. 1
our opinion, the High Court has taken a totally impractical view of the matter.
If the view of the High Court is to prevail, great difficulties will be created
for the State administration since it will not be able to transfer/deploy its
police force from one place where there may be relative peace to another
district or region/range in the State where there may be disturbed law and
order situation and hence requirement of more police. Courts should not, in our
opinion, interfere with purely administrative matters except where absolutely
necessary on account of violation of any fundamental or other legal right of
the citizen. After all, the State administration cannot function with its hands
tied by judiciary behind its back. As Justice Holmes of the US Supreme Court
pointed out, there must be some free-play of the joints provided to the
Court also held in Divisional Manager, Aravali Golf Club & another vs.
Chander Hass & another - JT 2008(3) SC 221 and Common Cause vs. Union of
India & others - (2008) 5 SCC 511 that 1 Judges must observe judicial
restraint and must not ordinarily encroach into the domain of the legislature
or the executive.
the foregoing reasons, these appeals succeed and are hereby allowed. The
impugned judgment of the High court is set aside and the writ petitions before
the High Court stand dismissed. No costs.
(T. S. THAKUR)