Punishment not provided in service Rules cannot be imposed
The supreme Court in the recent case of Vijay Singh v/s State of UP. and others decided on 13 th April 2012 considered the question as to whether the disciplinary authority can impose punishment not prescribed under statutory rules after holding disciplinary proceedings.
The appellant when posted as Sub-Inspector of Police at Police Station, Moth, District Jhansi in the year 2010, had arrested Sahab Singh Yadav for offence punishable under Section 60 of the U.P. Excise Act and after concluding the investigation, filed a chargesheet before the competent court against the said accused.
During the pendency of the said case in court, a show cause notice was served upon him by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jhansi dated 18.6.2010 to show cause as to why his integrity certificate for the year 2010 be not withheld, as a preliminary enquiry had been held wherein it had come on record that the appellant while conducting investigation of the said offence did not record the past criminal history of the accused.
The appellant filed reply to the said show cause notice on 4.7.2010 pointing out that the said offence was bailable. The purpose of finding out the past criminal history of an accused is relevant in non-bailable cases as it may be a relevant issue for considering his bail application. More so, withholding the integrity could not be the punishment and as the criminal case was sub judice before the competent court against the said accused on the chargesheet submitted by him, no action could be taken against the appellant unless the court comes to the conclusion that investigation was defective.
The disciplinary authority, i.e. Senior Superintendent of Police without disclosing as under what circumstances not recording the past criminal history of the accused involved in the case had prejudiced the cause of the prosecution in a bailable offence and without taking into consideration the reply to the said show cause, found that the charge framed against the appellant stood proved, reply submitted by the appellant was held to be not satisfactory. Therefore, the integrity certificate for the year 2010 was directed to be withheld vide impugned order dated 8.7.2010
The Supreme Court held that the integrity certificate on the basis of disciplinary proceedings cannot be withheld since no such punishment is provided in the respective serivice Rules. The Court also observed as under :
The instant case is an eye opener as it reveals as to what extent the superior statutory authorities decide the fate of their subordinates in a casual and cavalier manner without application of mind and then expect them to maintain complete discipline merely being members of the disciplined forces.
Note: The entire judgemnt is available on this blog under the heading “Important Judgements”