Subba Rao, J. -
(1.)This is an appeal by special leave against the judgment and order of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, Lucknow Bench, allowing the petition filed by the respondent under Art. 226 of the Constitution.
(2.)The facts are in a small compass and may be briefly stated. In the year 1933, the respondent was appointed a constable in U. P. Police Force; on December 1, 1945, he was promoted to the rank of head constable and in May, 1952, he was posted as officer incharge of Police Station, Intiathok, District Gonda. Complaints were received by the District Magistrate, Gonda, to the effect that the respondent was receiving bribes in the discharge of his duties. On September 16, 1952, the District Magistrate, Gonda, directed the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to make an enquiry in respect of the said complaints. On November 3, 1952, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, after making the necessary enquiries, submitted a report to the District Magistrate recommending the transfer of the respondent to some other station. On November 17, 1952, the District Magistrate sent an endorsement to the Superintendent of Police to the effect that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate had found substantial complaints against the integrity of the respondent, that he had also received such complaints and that his general reputation for integrity was not good, but that his transfer should, however, come after sometime and that in the meantime his work might be closely watched. On being called upon by the Superintendent of Police to submit an explanation for his conduct, the respondent submitted his explanation on November 29, 1952. On December 17, 1952, the respondent was forced to go on leave for two months. Before the expiry of his leave, he was reverted to his substantive post of head constable and transferred to Sitapur. On February 17, 1953, he was promoted to t he rank of officiating Sub-Inspector and posted as Station Officer at Sidholi, On February 27, 1953, the Superintendent of Police made the following endorsement in his character roll:
"A strong officer with plenty of push in him and met with a strong opposition in this new charge. Crime control was very good but complaints of corruption were received which could not be substantiated. Integrity certified."
Meanwhile on further complaints, the C.I.D. probed the matter further and on July 26, 1953, the Superintendent of Police, Investigation Branch, C.I.D., reported that the respondent was a habitual bribe-taker. On July 28, 1953, he was placed under suspension and on August 18, 1953, he was charged under S. 7 of the Police Act with remissness in the discharge of his duty and unfitness for the same inasmuch as while posted as a Station Officer, Police Station, Intiathok, he had been guilty of dishonesty, corruption and misbehaviour in that he had on nine occasions, particulars of which were given in the charge, accepted bribes. It may be mentioned that the magisterial inquiry related to seven of the nine charges alleged against the respondent. The trial was conducted by the Superintendent of Police and the respondent submitted his explanation on September 12, 1953. The Superintendent of Police, who conducted the trial, examined many witnesses and found that seven out of the nine charges had been established. Thereafter he issued a notice to the respondent calling upon him to show cause why he should not be dismissed from the police force. On February 20, 1954, the respondent submitted his explanation and the Superintendent of Police, by his order dated February 22, 1954, dismissed the respondent from service with effect from the said date. The appeal preferred by the respondent to the Deputy Inspector General of Police was dismissed by his order dated June 2, 1954. Thereafter the respondent on August 5, 1954, filed a petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution before the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, Lucknow Bench, for quashing the order of dismissal.
(3.)Before the High Court three points were raised, namely, (1) as the petitioner was officiating as Sub-Inspector of Police at the time of the departmental trial the Superintendent of Police had no power to dismiss him, since an order in such circumstances could only be made by a police officer senior in rank to a Superintendent; (2) the trial was vitiated by a number of serious irregularities; and (3) the specific acts with which the petitioner was charged were cognizable offences and, therefore, the Superintendent of Police had no jurisdiction to proceed with a departmental trial without complying with the provisions of sub-paragraph (1) of para. 486 of the Police Regulations. The learned Judges of the High Court held that the respondent was charged with committing cognizable offences and therefore sub-paragraph (1) of para. 486 governed the situation and that, as no case, as required by the said sub-paragraph, was registered against the respondent in the police station, the order of dismissal was invalid. They further held that the case was not covered by the first proviso to sub-paragraph (1) of para. 486, as, in their opinion, the information about the commission of the offences was not in the first instance received by the Magistrate and forwarded to the police for inquiry. In view of that finding they found it unnecessary for them to express any opinion upon other arguments which had been advanced on behalf of the respondent. In the result they issued a writ in the nature of certiorari quashing the impugned orders. Hence the appeal.