The Punjab and Haryana High Court set aside the suspension of an Inspector General of Police who was suspended for the police firing during protests against sacrilege incidents concerning the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015.

Observing that the State had failed to follow the Rules and the due procedure, the Bench of Justice Sureshwar Thakur and Justice Sudeepti Sharma quashed the three suspension orders passed against the officer, while observing that, "After perusal of the suspension orders which are placed on the record and Annexure II of the Procedure to be followed for suspension of All India Service Officers posted in Ministries/Departments/State Government under AIS (D&A) Rules, 1989, it is revealed that the State Government did not bother to follow the procedure which is mandatory in the case of the petitioner for the reasons best known to the State."

The Court further noted that, "It is very unfortunate to observe that on the one hand the petitioner is awarded with two Gallantry Awards for rendering his meritorious service in combating with terrorism in the State of Punjab, but on the other hand the State Government has placed the petitioner under Suspension since 18.02.2019 till date i.e. for a period of almost five years without following any procedure, without any extension, without any recommendation of Central Review Committee, without any confirmation by the Central Government, which doubts the intention of the officers who are passing the suspension orders one after the other."

Senior Advocate DS Patwalia, along with others, appeared for the petitioner. Advocate Ashish Rawal and Addl. AG. RK Kapoor appeared for the respondents.

In 2019, the officer faced suspension as an accused in the 2015 Kotkapura police firing case. The suspension was due to ongoing criminal cases related to the incident. Seeking reinstatement, he approached the High Court after the Central Administrative Tribunal's denial on February 1, 2023.

The petitioner's counsel argued that, as per the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, if not related to corruption, the suspension period shouldn't exceed one year. The State government contended that the suspension was valid until the completion of the ongoing trial in the three criminal cases.

The High Court observed that the Government had ignored the Rules, and said that, "in every case review shall be done within 90 days from the date of order of the suspension. Further that in a case where period of suspension has been extended, the next review shall be done within a period of 180 days from the date of last extension. Whereas in the present case order dated 20.11.2020 is passed as per the recommendation of review committee constituted under Rule 3 (8) (c) of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969 and this is passed after a period of about 630 days, meaning thereby the State Government totally ignored the Rules as well as Schedule while passing order against the petitioner."

It was stressed that the State Government must adhere to the Rules and Procedures laid down by the framers. It was also highlighted that one cannot be kept in suspension for an indefinite period in the garb of pending enquiry/investigation in criminal proceedings.

In light of the same, the petition was allowed. The Court set aside the three suspension orders against the petitioner and directed the State to allow the petitioner to join the services.


Petitioner: Senior Advocate DS Patwalia, Advocates GS Patwalia, SS Saron

Respondent: Advocate Ashish Rawal, Addl. AG, RK Kapoor

Cause Title: Param Raj Singh Umaranangal vs Union of India & Ors.

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