HEMRAJSINHJI PRAVINSINHJI Vs. INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE AHMEDABAD
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE,AHMEDABAD
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(1.)This is a petition under Article-226 of the Constitution of India to quash the order of dismissal from service passed against the petitioner by the Inspector General of Police dated 24/01/1959 and confirmed by the State Government on 15/02/1960 and to direct the respondents to reinstate the petitioner in service. The facts giving rise to this petition may be briefly stated.
(2.)The petitioner was appointed a Sub Inspector in the Bombay Police Force in 1951 and was posted in Ahmedabad on 16/08/1933. He was charged with being in possession of liquor on the allegation that the bottles of liquor were found in an attached case on the platform of the Ajmer Railway Station which belonged to the petitioner or was under his control. The defence of the petitioner was that the attached case neither belonged to him nor was under his control and that these bottles belonged to one Mahendrasinh who was working as his orderly. Both the petitioner and Mahendrasinh were tried before a Magistrate who convicted Mahendrasinh and acquitted the petitioner by an order dated 20/08/1953. Notwithstanding this order of acquittal departmental proceedings were commenced against the petitioner and a charge was framed on the 20/01/1954 charging him with grave misconduct in that on 14/08/1953 the petitioner bought a number of bottles of foreign liquor from some place in Ajmer and was found in possession of the same at the Ajmer Railway Station on 16/08/1953 intending to carry them to Ahmedabad. These proceedings were held before Mr. Nanavati the then Deputy Inspector General of Police who summed up the evidence against the petitioner and held him guilty of the charge. As the charge against the petitioner was found defective Government did not take further proceedings and a second charge was furnished to the petitioner on 7/05/1954 wherein another count was added to the effect that When questioned by the Excise Sub Inspectors B. M. Mehta and R. D. Baijal at the Railway Station at the time of seizure of bottles about the place of residence you falsely replied to them that you were from the Central Police Training College Abu with the object of concealing your identity. It will be notice that this was entirely a new count and not merely an amendment of the original charge. The inquiry with regard to the second charge was held by Mr. Ram Ayer Deputy Inspector General of Police who did not sum up the evidence himself but relied on Mr. Nanavatys summing up. A show cause notice was issued on 24/09/1954 and thereafter an order of dismissal was passed on 13/12/1954. This order of dismissal was set aside by the State Government on the ground that a copy of the summing up was not supplied to the petitioner. Another show cause notice was issued on 26/07/1955 by Mr. Chudasama. Inspector General of Police containing both the counts viz. possession of liquor and making false statement about his identity. A copy of the summing up of Mr. Nanavati was annexed to the show cause notice After the petitioner had shown cause an order of dismissal was passed by Mr. Chudasama on 16/09/1959. The petitioners appeal to the State Government against the said order of dismissal was also rejected on 30/11/1955.
(3.)The petitioner then preferred an application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to the High Court at Bombay being Special Civil Application No. 135 of 1959 praying that the aforesaid order of dismissal dated 30/11/1955 be set aside. That petition was heard by Chagla C. J. and Dixit J. on the 17/07/1956 who while setting aside the order of dismissal observed in the Judgment that -
Now there are some rather curious and striking features about this case. Although Mr. Ram Iyer tried the petitioner on the second charge which as already pointed out in respect of one count was materially different from the first charge he gave no summing up. Not only he gave no summing up but he gave no finding. Therefore when Mr. Chudasama furnished to the petitioner the copy of the summing up of Mr. Nanavati the petitioner did not know what the summing up was with regard to the second charge and not even what the finding was in respect of the second count. It is difficult to understand how the petitioner could show cause against the punishment proposed to be inflicted by Mr. Chudasama with regard to both the counts of the charge when he was not told what the judgment of the inquiry officer was with regard to this second count and he was not even told what his finding with regard to the second count was. Apart from all technicalities what this court has consistently held is that a person against whom disciplinary inquiry is being held and who is liable to suffer the severe penalty of dismissal should be given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself and we find it difficult to take the view that the petitioner was afforded this reasonable opportunity when he was asked to show cause in respect of both the charges when he did not know what the views of Mr. Ram Iyer were with regard to the second count nor did he know what Mr. Ram Iyers finding was. In our opinion it insufficient to set aside the order of dismissal on this very narrow ground Mr. Patel wanted to argue other points also which according to him vitiates the order of dismissal but as we have said earlier we are basing our decision solely on the ground that looking to the circumstances of this case reasonable opportunity was not afforded to the petitioner in showing cause to the notice served upon him by Mr. Chudasama. Mr. Patel also appealed on behalf of his client that Government should take a lenient view of what is alleged to have been done by him. Even on the assumption although the Magistrates finding is to the contrary that the petitioner was guilty of being in possession of liquor we cannot overlook his young age his past record and his desire to serve the police force and the State Those considerations weighed in our opinion and rightly weighed with Mr. Nanavati. It is for the Government to consider whether it is worth while starting a third proceeding against the petitioner and whether Government should not overlook this one blemish in the otherwise completely worthy record. Every man is liable to make mistakes but Government should show it is big enough to overlook faults if it could be satisfied that it could get loyal and devoted services of one of its servants.
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