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State of Punjab Versus Inder Singh and Others

Civil Appeal No. 1293 of 1995 - Dated:- 3-10-1997 - S V Manohar And D Wadhwa JJ. JUDGMENT D.P. Wadhwa, J. 1. Leave granted in all the special leave petitions. 2. In this batch of appeals, it is the State of Punjab in the Police Department which is the appellant. There are in all 18 respondents. They were all enrolled as Constables in the Police Department and later deputed to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Punjab Police. During the course of their deputation, they earned prom .....

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titions which were allowed to an extent. The High Court did say that the order of repatriation of the respondents being legal could not be set aside as such. However, directions were issued that the cases of the respondents in their parent departments be considered for promotions on the relevant dates when persons junior to them were promoted at different levels and, if necessary, even to relax the rules. In some of the cases two directions were given, namely, (1) if the respondents sought volun .....

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l contentions, we shall consider the case of Inder Singh one of the respondents (CA Nos. 1293-1303 of 1995). He was enrolled in the Punjab Police on August 31, 1966 as Constable and on April 13, 1969 was sent on deputation to CID in the same rank. He was sought to be repatriated on September 15, 1990 while he was holding the rank of ad hoc Sub-Inspector. During this period of deputation, Inder Singh, by order dated February 19, 1985 was promoted as officiating Head-Constable after giving him exe .....

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peal. This Court at the time of the admission of the special leave petition granted status quo which is continuing. The appellant has, therefore, contended that from the date of repatriation, Inder Singh remained absent, uptil November 6, 1994. Taking into account this period of four years, Inder Singh was on deputation in CID for over 28 years. We may note that the Department has not taken any action against Inder Singh for his alleged absence from the date of the order of repatriation till the .....

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ainst the judgment of the learned single Judge. The High Court was of the view that in terms of Sub-rule (3) of Rule 21.25 of the Punjab Police Rules, when an officer borne on the rolls of a district or range reached a place in seniority which would entitle him to be considered for substantive promotion if he were serving in the establishment to which he belonged permanently, he shall be informed and given the opportunity to return to the district Police force. The Court said that admittedly, th .....

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deputation to CID, Intelligence Department, was found fit and had been promoted as Sub-Inspector on 12th December, 1989, and was holding that post on the date when the order for the repatriation to his parent department was issued. The High Court said that in view of such peculiar facts, it would be a good ground for relaxing the rule for considering him for promotion to the higher post with effect from the date his immediate juniors were so promoted in accordance with the directions given by t .....

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his juniors were promoted. 4. The Rules are called Punjab Police Rules and have been framed under the Police Act, 1861. It is not necessary for us to quote the relevant Rules in extenso except Rule 21.25 dealing with deputation to CID which is as under: 21.25(1) Upper and lower subordinate posts other than those of Inspectors in the Criminal Investigation Department shall be filled by the deputation of suitable men from districts for a periods of three years extensible but not more than two yea .....

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he district or range in the place of an officer deputed to the Criminal Investigation Department, such officiating post lapsing on the officer's reversion. (3) When an officer borne on the rolls of a district or range reaches a place in seniority which would entitle him to be considered for substantive promotion if he were serving in the establishment to which he belongs permanently, he shall be informed and given the opportunity of returning to district police work. No officer on deputation .....

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of the range and the Inspector-General of Police, respectively, for promotion to the selection grade or admission to List F. A Sub-Inspector who becomes eligible while serving in the Criminal Investigation Department for grade promotion in the selection grade, shall receive such promotion, if the Deputy Inspector-General of the range and Criminal Investigation Department agree that he is fit for it. (5) Annual reports on upper subordinates serving on deputation in the Criminal Investigation Depa .....

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at their services may be dispensed with when their utility ceases or deteriorates. 21.25. (A) The Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, shall have complete disciplinary control over all police officers while serving in the Criminal Investigation Department. 5. Rules also describe the duties of CID but that is not necessary for us to refer to. 6. Rules relating to promotion and deputation are quite specific and there is no ambiguity about them. Each district/Range (District .....

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nstables and contain the names of the candidates as per their seniority after they have fulfilled the specified requirements. List A contains the names of the Constables who were eligible for promotion to the selection grade and is maintained by the Superintendent of Police of the District. List B contains the names of all Constables selected from admission to the promotion course for Constables at the Police Training College. Selection is made in the month of January each year and is limited to .....

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e Training College, Phillaur and are considered eligible for promotion to Head Constables are entered in List-C. Promotion to Head Constables are made in accordance with the principles set out in Rule 13.1(1) and (2). Selection grade Constables who have not passed the Lower School Course but are otherwise considered suitable can be promoted to Head Constables upto a maximum often per cent of vacancies but that can be done with the approval of the Deputy Inspector-General of 6. Police. Similarly .....

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ho have not passed the promotion course for Head Constables due to being over-age but otherwise are of exceptional merit and are considered suitable may, with the approval of Inspector-General of Police, be entered in Part II of List D. Further under this sub-rule not more than 10% of the posts of Assistant Sub-Inspectors will be filled from the names in Part II of List D. Promotions to the posts of Assistant Sub-Inspectors are to be made from List D (Part-II). Similar procedure is prescribed fo .....

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dre of its own officers upto the rank of Sub-InspectOrs. Rules 21.25 states that posts other than those of Inspectors in CID shall be filled by the deputation of suitable men from districts for a period of three years extensible but not more than two years at a time at the discretion of the Deputy Inspector-General, CID. A police officer on deputation to the CID retains his original position in the cadre of the district or range. While in the CID he is eligible for officiating promotion in that .....

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district but he shall be informed and given the opportunity of returning to his district police work. This Sub-rule further prescribes that no officer on deputation to CID shall be substantively promoted to Head Constable or higher rank unless both the Deputy Inspector-General, CID and the Deputy Inspector-General of the range to which the officer belongs agree that he is qualified for such promotion by all the prescribed standards. It would appear that under this sub-rule Inder Singh while on .....

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years service and he had excellent and unblemished service record? (ii) Whether the respondents are justified in repatriating the petitioner after more than 23 years of service and that too without giving him any benefit of 23 years of service which he has rendered in the CID, Intelligence Department? (iii) Whether the respondents are justified in repatriating the petitioner as Constable to his parent department when his juniors have been promoted and are working on the post of Sub-Inspectors an .....

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eir juniors have been promoted and now if they go back they have to work under them. These contentions do not appear to us to be correct. For one the respondents do not have any right to hold on the post which they were having in CID in their parent department and (2) they were holding the posts in CID only on ad hoc basis. Appellants have brought on record a chart to show that even Constables who were senior to the respondents are still working as Constable as they could not qualify for further .....

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n. In the case of Inder Singh appellants have stated that old record of test for List-B was not traceable. However, Inder Singh has given his unwillingness to undergo Intermediate School in the term commencing with effect from April 1, 1990 to October 1, 1990. For promotion from Constable to Head Constable passing of B-l test is a must. Inder Singh was not eligible to appear in the test for the first three years as he had not completed three years of service. Subsequently also he did not appear .....

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to compete are always on the alert to appear in the test as it is known to all the Constables that the test is being held. Appellants have also brought on record that apart from the fact that every Constable on deputation in CID would come to know of the test, the respondents were also individually informed except that in the case of one or two of the respondents records were not available to show that they had also been individually informed of the test being held. On the dates of holding of th .....

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od the respondents should have been sent back to their respective districts and that after all this period on deputation to CID now asking them to appear in test would not only be irregular but arbitrary as well. We do not think that Sub-rule (1) of Rule 21.25 limits the deputation to CID for a maximum period of five years. In the first instance deputation is for three years and it can be extended for not more than two years at a time. It cannot be said that after three years the extension is fo .....

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a specious plea. It is not disputed that officers having put in more years than the respondents are still working on deputation in CID. No reason is forth-coming as to why the respondents are the only persons who are picked up to be repatriated. But since this question was not raised in these terms we are not called upon to decide the same. 13. It was then submitted by the respondents that deputation to CID had no meaning as all the police departments in the State are headed by the Inspector Gen .....

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administrative head of all the police departments in the State is one it cannot be said that there can be no rule for deputation to a particular department in the whole of the police establishment in the State. If we refer to the Rule 21.25 Deputy Inspector General, CID has complete disciplinary control over all the police officer while serving in that department. On this very reasoning, there is no scope for the argument that respondents be absorbed in CID as this Department has no cadre of its .....

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lation of the statutory rules. Promotion has to be by prescribed standards. Moreover it is nobody's case that any vacancy exists to which the respondents could have been promoted. In any case, we are not impressed with this argument. 15. Mr. Bagga appearing for some of the respondents submitted that the case of Amrit Kumar (CA 1297/95) was different. In his writ petition (No. 8979 of 1991) in the High Court it was mentioned in the order dated June 12, 1991 that Amrit Kumar was working as Sub .....

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ted June 12, 1991 would not confer any benefit on him. We, therefore, fail to see how this case is any different or that Amrit Kumar would be posted as Sub Inspector in his parent department on repatriation. 16. During course of arguments, certain decisions of this Court were referred to on the question of deputation and the right of the deputationist on his repatriation. These, we may note. In D.M. Bharti v. L.M. Sud and Ors. [1991] Supp. 2 SCC 162, the appellant who was working as a Tracer in .....

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appellant treated this as a reversion and challenged the same. This Court said that it was not reversion and that when the appellant left the Municipal Corporation and joined the Town Planning Establishment, he was a Tracer and he could go back only as a Tracer subject, however, that if in the meantime, while he was on deputation, he had qualified for promotion to a higher post in the parent department, that benefit could not be denied to him. The Court said that promotions earned by an employee .....

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e State Service and was later reverted back to his parent cadre in the Panchayat Service, This was challenged by the appellant. This Court held that the appellant being on deputation could be reverted to his parent cadre at any time and he did not get any right to be absorbed on the deputation post. In Puranjit Singh v. Union Territory of Chandigarh and Ors. [1994] Supp. 3 SCC 471, it was held that when a deputationist was repatriated, he could not claim promotions in the parent department on th .....

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retariat Services was arbitrary being in contravention of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. This Court laid the following principle: The rule-making authority is competent to frame rules laying down eligibility condition for promotion to a higher post. When such an eligibility condition has been laid down by service rules, it cannot be said that a direct recruit who is senior to the promotees is not required to comply with the eligibility condition and he is entitled to be conside .....

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ade-I post when his juniors who have fulfilled the eligibility condition are being considered for promotion to the higher post, Grade I, is wholly unsustainable. The prescribing of an eligibility condition for entitlement for consideration for promotion is within the competence of the rule-making authority. This eligibility condition has to be fulfilled by the Section Officers including senior direct recruits in order to be eligible for being considered for promotion. When qualifications for app .....

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ons eligible. Seniority cannot be substituted for eligibility nor it can over-ride it in the matter of promotion to the next higher post. The rule in question which prescribes a uniform period of qualified services cannot be said to be arbitrary or unjust violative of Articles 14 or 16 of the Constitution. 17. In view of the clear statement of law, the respondents before us cannot claim promotion in their parent department in contravention of statutory Rules as they do not satisfy the eligibilit .....

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Revenue Department. The Court found that at all levels of appointments and promotions, the appellant was always senior to Mr. R.K. Vasudev. But fact remained that the appellant continued to be on deputation in the Food Wing of the Revenue Department right from 1967 to 1986. When the appellant was sought to be repatriated, he approached the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal which by order dated January 28, 1988 directed absorption of the appellant in the Food Department holding that he had not be .....

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question before this Court was of the inter se seniority between the appellant and R.K. Vasudev. This Court agreed that as per Rules, the appellant could not have been sent on deputation to higher post than the post held by him in the parent Department. But then the Court said that he had uninterruptedly worked in the Food Department and under those circumstances though initially the appellant might have been mistakenly deputed to hold higher post in the Food and Civil Supplies Department, but .....

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falls squarely for consideration before us was not there and the appellant in that case had been absorbed by the department. In the present case before us, there is no separate cadre to which the respondents or any one of them could be absorbed. In Narayan Yeshwant Gore v. Union of India and Ors. , the appellant who was working in the National Sample Survey Organisation as Inspector was sent on deputation to Census Department at Nagpur. He remained there from 1961 to 1975 and earned promotion. H .....

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have been appointed substantively from the date of their ad hoc appointment. In consequence there of, they became senior to the appellant. This Court held that the appellant was similarly situated along with those who were granted benefit by this Court and merely because the appellant was working in the Census Department at the relevant time, he could not be prejudiced. The Court extended the benefit given in Narender Chadha's Case (supra) to the appellant as well. Again this decision does n .....

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department on a temporary basis. After the expiry period of deputation the employee has to come back to his parent department to occupy the same position unless in the meanwhile he has earned promotion in his parent department as per Recruitment Rules. Whether the transfer is outside the normal field of deployment or not is decided by the authority who controls the service or post from which the employee is transferred. There can be no deputation without the consent of the person so deputed and .....

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on ad hoc basis and now when they go back they have to work either as Constables or Head Constables. It was submitted before us that an employee could seek voluntary retirement after putting in 20 years of qualifying service and that the High Court in the impugned judgment gave option to the respondents to seek voluntary retirement while still working in the CID and holding higher ranks. This option can, however, be limited to only those respondents who have put in 20 years of qualifying servic .....

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rder of status quo by this Court. In this view of the matter, the respondents continued to be in the CID. We affirm the impugned judgment of the High Court to the extent that the respondents who put in 20 years of qualifying service in their parent departments and in CID would be entitled to seek voluntary retirement from the ranks they are holding in CID and the period of qualifying service would be counted upto the date of this judgment. These options the respondents shall give within 30 days .....

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