Rampal Ahirwar v. State of MP and Ors

IN Judgements Database | 04/08/2018

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH (JABALPUR BENCH)

W.A. No. 1130/2007

Decided On: 02.08.2007

Appellants: Rampal Ahirwar
Vs.
Respondent: State of M.P. and Ors.

 

Judges/Coram:
Dipak Misra & S.R. Waghmare, JJ.

Dipak Misra, J.

 

In this intra-court appeal preferred under Section 2(1) of the M.P. Uchcha Nyayalaya (Khand Nyaypeeth Ko Appeal) Adhiniyam, 2005 the sustainability of the order dated 27.6.2007 passed by the learned Single Judge in Writ Petition No. 7544/2007 (S) is called in question.

The Appellant-Petitioner (hereinafter referred to as the Appellant) while posted as T.I., Chhindwara had a record of excellence performance but the Member of Legislative Assembly made certain complaints against him as a consequence of which he was transferred from the aforesaid post and was attached to the Police Lines. Being dissatisfied with the aforesaid order of transfer he preferred a Writ Petition No. 19085/2006 (S). This Court by order dated 08.1.2007 passed an interim order of stay. In the said writ petition the Member of Legislative Assembly was made a party. Because of the said fact situation the said Member of Legislative Assembly filed a complaint under Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the Court of Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Parasia, District Chhindwara against the Appellant and others most of whom were the editors and press reporters of various newspapers. In view of the complaint dated 20.12.2006 a preliminary enquiry was conducted by the S.D.O. (P), Parasia who submitted his preliminary report opining, inter alia, that the conduct of the Appellant is contrary to Rule 9(2) of M.P. Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1965 (for short 'the Rules') as also contrary to paragraph 64(4) of Police Regulations (for brevity 'the Regulations'). In the backdrop of preliminary enquiry the Appellant was served with the charge-sheet dated 02.3.2007 (Annexure-P-1 to the writ petition).

Being aggrieved by the initiation of disciplinary proceedings the Appellant preferred Writ Petition No. 7544/2007 (S) invoking the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for quashment of the charge-sheet. Before the writ court it was contended that the Departmental Enquiry was based on the report of the Member of Legislative Assembly without any rhyme or reason. It was also put forth that the Appellant belongs to scheduled caste and the State Government has issued a circular by giving certain guidelines in the matter of investigation against the officials belonging to SC/ST/OBC but the said circular has been given a total go by while issuing the charge-sheet. It is contended that the Appellant was not reprimanded or admonished but straightaway the disciplinary proceeding was initiated. It was urged that the charge-sheet is based on half baked material and if the whole charge-sheet is scanned it would not come under the concept of misconduct under Rule 9(2) of the Rules or paragraph 64(4) of the Regulations. It is also contended that the Member of Legislative Assembly had filed a private complaint against the Appellant and other press reporters for the offence punishable under Section 500/501 of the Indian Penal Code and, therefore, the Disciplinary Authority would have been well advised not to proceed with the departmental proceeding and waited for the verdict in the criminal case.

The learned Single Judge perused the documents filed alongwith ther writ petition and expressed the opinion that the Appellant had not alleged any kind of malafide against the disciplinary authority or any higher authority. To substantiate the same a charge-sheet has been issued with oblique motive at the behest of local M.L.A. The learned Single Judge also took note of the fact that the local M.L.A has not been impleaded as a party. On these grounds he has opined that the charge-sheet has not been issued on kind of malafide and the same cannot be quashed on the ground of violation of substantial rules, vagueness of charges and on the grounds of malafides. Being of this view the learned Single Judge dismissed the writ petition.

We have heard Mr. P.R. Bhave, learned senior counsel alongwith Mr. Bhanu Pratap Yadav for the Appellant and Mr. Ashok Agrawal, learned Government Advocate for the Respondent-State.

It is submitted by Mr. P.R. Bhave, learned senior counsel that the allegations in the charge-sheet do not constitute the misconduct and hence, the departmental enquiry is to be quashed at the threshold. Learned senior counsel further submitted that the entire charge-sheet is based on malafide as the same has been issued on the allegations of local M.L.A. Learned senior counsel further urged that the charge-sheet has been issued because he had arrayed the local M.L.A as party in the earlier writ petition which pertained to transfer. It is further put forth by him that the department could have been well advised to stall the proceeding during the pendency of the criminal trial. He has commended us to the decisions rendered in the cases of Kusheshwar Dubey v. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. and Ors. MANU/SC/0246/1988 : (1988) 4 SCC 319 and Depot Manager, A.P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Mohd. Yousuf Miya and others. MANU/SC/0555/1997 : (1997) 2 SCC 699.

Mr. Ashok Agrawal, learned Government Advocate, per contra, urged that the conduct of the Appellant is unbecoming and if the charges are properly understood and the Appellant's conduct is unexceptionable and he cannot claim immunity. Learned Counsel further submitted that the factual aspects cannot be gone into while dealing with the charge-sheet and that should be left to be dealt with in the departmental proceeding. Learned Counsel for the State further urged that the present case is not the one which warrant stay of departmental proceeding pending criminal case.

First we shall address ourselves with regard to malafide. Be it noted that the Member of Legislative Assembly has not been arrayed as a parry. It is well settled in law that when allegations of malafides are made against some one, he should be arrayed as a party. In the case at hand, the authorities have been impleaded as parties but the Member of Legislative Assembly has not been impleaded in the writ petition. In the absence of impleadment of the person against whom malafides are alleged, we are afraid that the said issue cannot be adverted to and accordingly, we refrain from doing so.

The next fact that emanates for consideration is whether the charges levelled against the Appellant do amount to misconduct or not. Submission of Mr. Bhave is that if Rule 9(2) of the Rules is analyzed it would not amount misconduct. To appreciate the same it is apposite to state what is contained in the charge-sheet. The charge-sheet has been brought on record as Annexure-P-1. The relevant portion of the charge-sheet on being translated in free English reads as under:

In view of the facts enumerated in the aforesaid complaint the Superintendent of Police, Chhindwara got the preliminary inquiry conducted by Mr. Sunil Tiwari, Sub-divisional Police Officer who has after conducting the inquiry vide letter No. /AA Pu/Para/ P/1274/ 06 dated 12.1.2007 submitted the preliminary inquiry report to the SP, Chhindwara. In the said inquiry it was found to be proved that Inspector R.P. Ahirwar before Reporter, Parasia of Jabalpur Express Shri Madan Kishore Rai, Shri Vijay Rai, Reporter of Weekly Newspaper, Kranti Chakra, Shri Vinay Joshi, Reporter of Sahara Samay office situated at Parasia, Shri Raju Gawande, Office Incharge of Raj Express Newspaper, Parasia by making baseless allegations relating to departmental problems and against public representative has stated indecent statements. Inspector, R.P. Ahirwar is an officer of Disciplined Police Force who has been entrusted with the duties of Station Officer of Chandameta by the Department. If he had, personally or in the work of Police Station, any objection from any public representative, he ought to have brought to the notice of his senior official and should not have personally given the statement publicly against any public representative enabling publication of the same in the newspaper. The conduct of the Inspector R.P. Ahirwar is deliberate and is clear violation of M.P. Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1965 and general conditions of paragraph 64(4) of M.P. Police Regulation. The aforesaid conduct of Inspector Ahirwar is within the purview of gross indiscipline.

Submission of Mr. Bhave is that the concept of misconduct is not attracted to the case at hand. He has referred to Rule 9(2) of the 1965 Rules. The said rule reads as under:

Connection with press or radio.-

(2) No Government servant shall, except with the previous sanction of the Government or the prescribed authority, or in the bona fide discharge of his duties, participate in a radio broadcast or contribute any article or write any letter either in his own name or anonymously pseudonymously or in the name of any other person to any newspaper or periodical:

Provided that no such sanction shall be required if such broadcast or such contribution is of a purely literary, artistic or scientific character.

There is also reference to regulation 64(4) of the MP Police Regulations. The said regulation reads as under:

General Condition of Service-

Every candidate for an appointment in the police should be made acquainted prior to appointment, with the general conditions of police service, which are as follows:

(4) He shall submit to discipline, observe subordination and promptly obey all lawful orders.

In this context learned Counsel for the State has referred to Rule 3(1) of the Rules. The said rule reads as under:

General.- (1) Every Government servant shall at all times:

(i) maintain absolute integrity.

(ii) maintain devotion to duty; and

(iii) do nothing which is unbecoming of a Government servant.

Allegations are that he had made certain disparaging remarks against the local MLA which has been published in the press. Whether the allegations are true or not is another matter. Whether the allegations made by the Appellant or not is also in a different realm. Without causation of the inquiry the same cannot be dealt with. But by no stretch of imagination, it cannot be said to be a misconduct. It would indubitably come within the compartment of unbecoming of government servant.

In view of the aforesaid, the opinion expressed by the learned single Judge is absolutely correct and sound and does not require interference. At juncture Mr. Bhave has submitted that the disciplinary authority would be well advised to stay the proceeding as the criminal case has been filed by the MLA on self same allegations. To bolster his submission he has commended us to the decisions rendered in the cases of Kusheshwar Dubey v. M/s Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. and Others, MANU/SC/0246/1988 : (1988) 4 SCC 319 and Depot Manager, AP State Road Transport Corporation v. Mohd. Yousuf Miya and Others, MANU/SC/0555/1997 : (1997) 2 SCC 699.

Be it noted the said case has been filed on a private complaint and the said case is for taking cognizance under Section 500 and 501 of the Indian Penal Code. The case is related to defamation. Hence, we are of the considered opinion the present disciplinary proceeding and the said criminal case are in two different compartments and it is not a case where two simultaneous proceedings have been initiated one by the Department and the other by the criminal investigating agency which would warrant stay of the departmental proceeding. It is not a case where it can be held that the Appellant would be constrained to disclose his defence. In view of the aforesaid, decisions cited by Mr. Bhave are not applicable to the case at hand.

Resultantly, the writ appeal, being devoid of merit, stands dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.

 

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