A police officer must be given a
A police officer must be given a "charge sheet" before applying a major penalty: CAT

Srinagar: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) ruled that a Police officer had to get a charge sheet before he or she could give a big fine.

This was written down by Justice K Haripal, Member (J), and Chhabilendra Roul, Member (A), when they overturned an order made by the District Superintendent of Police in Baramulla on March 31, 2011.


The order gave Davinder Singh a big punishment based on what the Additional SP Baramulla, who was in charge of the investigation, said should happen.

According to Constable Singh’s application, he was put in charge of guarding the Hanjiwera Bridge on the Baramulla-Srinagar National Highway at the police station 24 hours a day in August 1999. This was to keep the bridge safe.

On August 11, 1999, an IED went off in the Police cave, hurting eight Army soldiers who were in a security car at the time. The vehicle was also damaged.

At Police Station Pattan, a FIR was filed under relevant parts of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and Section 3/5 of the Explosive Substance Act.

Singh was fired after an order from August 12, 1999, and an investigation by Additional S. P. Sopore, who was in charge of the department, found that the guard was not at his place of duty and had left without permission or giving his weapons to another guard.

In his report, the IO suggested that “the constable may be reinstated into service immediately, his annual increment may be stopped for 3 years, his time away from work may be treated as unpaid leave, and his time on suspension may be treated as time on duty if a certificate of attendance is shown.”

The S P Baramulla did not agree with the IO’s suggestions, so he fired Singh with an order from September 30, 1999.

Singh took the firing to the High Court, which ruled on September 8, 2005, that “under the J&K Police Manual, a Superintendent of Police does not have the power to give a constable such a punishment.”

It took away the order that Singh be fired.

In an appeal, the government argued against the decision. On September 25, 2007, the Division Bench of the High Court, among other things, gave the government permission to continue with the case from the point of the second show cause notice and gave the official who broke the law a chance to be heard.

The claimant, Singh, was put back to work by an order from the government dated December 19, 2007.

As the authorities were given permission to start over from the point of sending out the second show-cause notice, they named Additional S.P. Baramulla as IO again in an order from December 19, 2007.

The IO gave the application a letter asking why departmental actions wouldn’t be started against him to give him a big punishment.

In his report, the IO said that the guard in charge wasn’t doing his job well, and that the policeman often went home without getting permission from the right people. As a result, only one cleaning post was staffed while the other was left unsupervised.

The IO recommended that the “period of absence with effect from August 11, 1999, to September 29, 1999, be treated as on dies non, the period of discharge with effect from September 30, 1999, to December 19, 2007, be treated as on dies non on the principles of no work no pay.”

Based on the IO’s suggestions, the District Superintendent of Police in Baramulla, through an order from March 31, 2011, approved the punishment.

The constable, aggrieved by the penalty challenged the order before the High Court in SWP No 1357/2011.

After re-organisation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir as a union territory, the SWP was transferred to the Srinagar Bench of this tribunal and registered as T A No 1999/2021.

After listening to both sides, the bench ruled on the move request.

“The SCN dated December 24, 2009, says that it is issued to call upon the applicant to explain as to why the major punishment should not be recommended,” the bench said. “It doesn’t look like there’s a charge sheet attached to the SCN, and the memorandum of charges isn’t mentioned anywhere.”

The bench underscored that the inquiry conducted by the Additional S P Baramulla was not an appropriate inquiry for imposing any penalty under the rules.

“As per clause (2) of Rule 359 of the J&K Police Manual, 1960, the officer conducting the inquiry shall summon the accused Police officer before him and shall record and read out to him a statement summarising the alleged misconduct in such a way as to give notice of the circumstances regarding which evidence is to be recorded,” the bench said.

As the bench noted that there was no record to show as to what evidence oral or documentary had been produced by the applicant and what evidence was produced by the presenting officer, it said: “Given this, it is our considered opinion that the principles of natural justice have been violated.”

The panel said that the sentence was given because of the official investigation that the IO had done.

“However, the perusal of Rule 334 of J&K Police Manual, 1960 shows that there is no such punishment called ‘dies non’ mentioned either minor or major,” it said.

“Given the twin irregularity of violation of principles of natural justice as well as the imposition of penalty, which is non-existent as per the J&K Police Manual, 1960, the order dated March 31, 2011, needs to be squarely quashed,” the bench said and quashed the order passed by the District Superintendent of Police, Baramulla.



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