Finding that the criminal proceedings emanated on a domestic issue which stands amicably settled and nothing stood proved on record to make an adverse inference as to the conduct of the petitioner, the Delhi High Court ruled that the denial of ‘Out of Turn Promotion’ by the respondents on representation made by the petitioner in 2011 and scaling down the same to grant of Asadharan Karya Puraskar and further reiterating the denial of ‘Out of Turn Promotion’ by the Incentive Committee in terms of order passed by the High Court, is without any merits or justifiable reasons, since the case of the petitioner is in complete parity with Constable Joginder Singh within mandate of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The High Court held so while considering a petition challenging an order dated Jan 20, 2017 since the O.A.No.2936/2012 preferred by the petitioner was allowed granting him ‘‘Out of Turn Promotion’’ as Head Constable only with effect from the date of filing of the proceedings under Section 482 CrPC before the High Court of Delhi, whereby the criminal proceedings pending against him were quashed but was denied the benefit of promotion w.e.f. June 03, 2003 as granted in the case of Constable Joginder Singh by the respondents.

The Division Bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta and Justice V. Kameswar Rao observed that “by a common citation by DCP, both the petitioner as well as Constable Joginder Singh were recommended for the same exemplary acts. The parity is per se discernible from the facts and the only reason for denial at the time of initial consideration by the Incentive Committee was the pendency of criminal proceedings against the petitioner. The aforesaid impediment stands removed after quashing of aforesaid proceedings”.

Advocate Avnish Ahlawat appeared for the Petitioner, whereas Advocate Shanker Raju appeared for the Respondent.

The petitioner was enlisted in Delhi Police as Constable (Executive) on Oct 26, 1998. During his short stint in the Special Staff, he along with Constable Joginder Singh and other team members under the supervision of Inspector Rajender Singh, the then In-charge, Special Staff, South District started keeping track of movement of the criminals released recently from the jail. Further, the petitioner along with Constable Joginder Singh and team members laid a trap and arrested the notorious snatchers on July 09, 2002. In lieu of exemplary performance of the petitioner, DCP, South District recommended the name of the petitioner along with Constable Joginder Singh for ‘Out of Turn Promotion’ to the rank of Head Constable, which was accepted. However, the name of the petitioner was not recommended by the Incentive Committee since he was involved in FIR No.360/2000 registered under Sections 452/323/506 IPC and the proceedings were pending.

Later, pursuant to quashing of the FIR by the High Court, an order was issued by the respondents to the effect that no departmental action is warranted against the petitioner and his name be removed from the list of police personnel against whom criminal cases are shown as pending. The respondents however, instead of granting ‘Out of Turn Promotion’ to the petitioner, awarded him ‘Asadharan Karya Puraskar’ with cash reward of Rs.10,000/-. The petitioner filed a representation before the Commissioner of Police which was also rejected. The matter then reached CAT, which granted the benefit sought by the petitioner. However, the Incentive Committee declined the grant of ‘Out of Turn Promotion’. Hence, the petitioner approached the Division Bench.

After considering the submission, the Bench found that there was no cogent reason for subsequently scaling down the ‘Out of Turn Promotion’ to that of ‘Asadharan Karya Puraskar’ in case of petitioner in 2012 as conveyed vide U.O. dated June 14, 2012 since the role of petitioner was at parity with Constable Joginder Singh.

The justification put up on behalf of the respondents that the Incentive Committee was of the view that police personnel who had just arrested some snatchers would not deserve grant of ‘Out of Turn Promotion’ and the same is meant for the officers who have dealt with tougher cases, appears to be clearly discriminatory, whimsical and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India as for the same exemplary services Constable Joginder Singh had been granted ‘Out of Turn Promotion’”, added the Bench.

Observing that nothing adverse has been further brought on record against the petitioner during the intervening period, however, since the ‘Out of Turn Promotion’ could not be granted to the petitioner on account of pendency of criminal proceedings which is solely attributable to him, the Bench clarified that the Tribunal is justified in granting the benefit to the petitioner w.e.f. the date of filing of proceedings under Section 482 CrPC instead of the date on which benefit was extended to Constable Joginder Singh.

Accordingly, the High Court upheld the order passed by the Tribunal and dismissed the petition.

Cause Title: Commissioner of Police and Ors. v. Harinder Singh [Neutral Citation: 2023: DHC: 7825-DB]

Click here to read/ download the Judgment