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A statute must be construed in such a manner to make it workable: SC reiterates

This Court has laid down time and again that while construing statutory Rules such construction should be adopted which may give effect to the intention or object of the Rule and no such interpretation be put which may make the Rule ineffective (Para.20).

Suresh Kumar vs. The State of Haryana & Ors.

Civil Appeal No. 1076 of 2021 (arising out of SLP © No. 9491 of 2020)


OM Prakash And Another vs. The State of Haryana & Ors.

Civil Appeal No. 1077 of 2021 (arising out of SLP © No. 9486 of 2020)


Sandeep Kumar & Another vs. The State of Haryana & Ors.

Civil Appeal No. 1078 of 2021 (arising out of SLP © No. 10169 of 2020)

26th March 2021

The Divisional Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court consisting of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice R. Subhash Reddy dismissed the appeals. Supported the Judgment of the High Court along with the decision of the State in promoting the Sub-Inspector to Inspector who has eight years approved service to their credit, at least five years being as Sub-Inspector.

In the State of Haryana before 2001, 100% posts of Sub-Inspector of police used to be filled by promotion, but after amendment in rule 12.3 (Direct appointment of Inspector and Sub-Inspector) in the Punjab Police Rules, 1934 notification dated 24.12.2001. In May 2003, three writ petitioners, Om Prakash, Sudeep Kumar Singh, and Suresh Kumar, were recommended for the direct recruitment as Sub-Inspector. The private respondents to these appeals who were arrayed as respondent Nos.4 to 34 in the writ petition were promoted to the rank of Sub-Inspector from Assistant Sub-Inspector between June 2003 and March 2004, i.e., after the writ petitioners had joined. The respondents were promoted to the post of Inspector by orders dated 27.11.2008, 18.05.2009, and 13.08.2009. The Writ petitioner aggrieved by this order filed a Civil Writ Petition No. 13496 of 2009, which the High Court later dismissed on its Judgment dated 27.07.2020.

These three appeals have been filed against the common Judgment dated 27.07.2020 of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, the writ petitioners have filed the first two appeals, and the intervenors have filed the last appeal.

Shri P.S. Patwalia and Shri Shyam Divan learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants contended that (i) the writ petitioners were senior and also completed five years’ experience as Sub-Inspector that’ why they were entitled to be promoted on the post of Inspector (ii) High Court wrongly relied on Rule 13.14 which Rule was not applicable for promotion to the post of Inspector from Sub-Inspector (iii) the selection criteria is contained in sub-rule (1) of Rule 13 and Rule 13.15 (iv) Rule 7 read with Appendix B of the Haryana Police Service Rule 2017 states that five years’ service is required as Sub-Inspector for promotion to the post of Inspector.

Shri Nikhil Goel learned Additional Advocate General for the State of Haryana, contented that (i) the criteria for eight years has been followed ever since the State of Haryana was established and even after the abolition of selection grade in 1987 (ii) the requirement of eight years of service for promotion to the post of Inspector is clear from a conjoined reading of Rule 13.14 with Rule 13.15(4) of Rules, 1934 (iii) Rule 13.14 is an integral and inalienable part of the scheme, and without these, there cannot be any List F, and subsequently no promotion can be made to the post of Inspector (iv) Rules 2017 have been notified after nine years of promotion of private respondents hence the court should not rely on these rules.

Shri P.S. Narasimha, learned senior counsel for the private respondent, supported the submission raised by Shri Nikhil Goel and contended that the impugned Judgment of the High Court needs no interference as his clients will not get affected by the inter-se dispute between the writ petitioners and the private respondents because as of now they have already been promoted as Deputy Superintendents of Police.

After considering submission of the learned counsel for the parties and material on record, the Court has framed the following issues:

i. Whether the mode and manner of promotion in selection grade from rank of Sub-Inspector to Inspector as envisaged in Punjab Police Rules, 1934 has become redundant after issuance of Government Order dated 29.04.1987 by State of Haryana withdrawing the grant of selection grade to Group A, B and C employees?

ii. Whether the Rule 13.14 of Punjab Police Rules, 1934, which contemplate promotion to the various selection grades cannot be looked into while considering the promotion of a Sub-Inspector to the rank of Inspector and requirement of having at least eight years’ approved service as an upper subordinate is no longer attracted for promotion of direct recruits Sub-Inspector? (Para 13)

To conclude the court has referred to various statutes including Punjab Police Rules, 1934 and a variety of Judgments including State of Gujarat and Another vs. Justice R.A. Mehta (Retired) and Others, Viscount Simon, L.C in Nokes vs. Doncaster Amalgamated Colliries Ltd. and many more. And states that:

The selection grades are in the nature of promotional scale, therefore, the criteria provided for promotion to selection grade can very well be taken as criteria for further promotion which is the spirit of the Rules followed uniformly by the State while effecting the promotion. The object and purpose of the Rules and methodology for evaluating the Police personnel to move in the higher rank in the same or to the next rank cannot be lost sight nor can be ignored merely because the scheme was withdrawn on 29.04.1987. No error has been committed by the State in continuing the evaluation of the Sub-Inspectors on the basis of criteria as provided in Rule 13.14 while effecting promotion. (Para 19)

This Court has laid down time and again that while construing statutory Rules such construction should be adopted which may give effect to the intention or object of the Rule and no such interpretation be put which may make the Rule ineffective (Para.20).

Concluding, the court held:

Thus, the High Court has rightly upheld the promotion orders of private respondents. No ground is made out to interfere with the judgment of the High Court in these appeals. (Para 21)

Subsequently, dismissed the appeals.

Swadheen Singh



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