Recommendations of SP For Promotion Are Not Final Unless Approved By IG Under Punjab Police Rules 1934 - Supreme Court
A two-judge Bench of Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha while interpreting the Rules stipulated under the Punjab Police Rules, 1934 has held that since the recommendations given by the Superintendent of Police (SP) for promotion are not final unless approved by the Inspector General of Police (IG), the Appellant's promotion could not be given a retrospective effect.
The Appellant preferred an appeal against the judgment and order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed in 2015, which dismissed the writ as well as the appeal on the ground that promotion is not a right and refused to interfere in the process of promotion of the Appellant.
The Appellant was positioned as a Constable under the extent of ORP Policy in 2001. Due to his acts of bravery, his name was recommended by the Superintendent of Police for promotion under the 10% quota for outstanding performance for promotion to the post of Head Constable.
However, his name was dropped out of the names forwarded to the Central Departmental Promotion Committee (CDPC). Three years later, his name was again forwarded by the SP and this time it was passed by the IG. In 2008, he was made the Officiating Head Constable.
He filed a writ petition in 2011 seeking retrospective promotion with effect from 2004 on the ground that the delay in promoting him in 2008 is illegal and arbitrary. This was dismissed by a Single Judge on the ground that selection is not a matter of right. The writ appeal filed by the Appellant was also dismissed by the Division Bench,
The Counsel for the Appellant, Advocate Surender Kumar Gupta contended that the IG had no power to interfere with the recommendation of the SP. It was also submitted that since the same credentials enabled him to be selected and recommended in 2007, the decision of not selecting him in 2004 was arbitrary.
The Additional Advocate General for the State - Raj Singh Rana relied on Rule 13.7 of the Punjab Police Rules, 1934 to contend that the names recommended by the SP to the CDPC are only provisional, subject to ratification by the IG. Thus, the rule requires application of mind of the IG and not mere forwarding of the recommendations as sent by the concerned unit head.
Accepting the contention of the Respondent- State that the IG has to approve the recommendations of the SP, placing reliance on Rule 13.7, the Court upheld the decision of the High Court. The Court observed that if the IG is not satisfied, he shall not accord approval.
It was also observed that the Appellant's accolades may not have made a fit case for promotion in 2004, but the same could make a fit case to be considered in a subsequent year. The discretion to analyse, consider and clear the names of candidates found fit to be promoted must be left with the IG and CDPC.
The Court thus upheld the decision of the Single and Division Bench of the High Court, noting, "In judicial review proceedings, the Courts are concerned with the decision-making process and not the decision itself," and dismissed the appeal.