“Lack of Discipline Among Disciplined Forces Deemed as the Gravest Act of Misconduct: Punjab and Haryana High Court”

Case title: The State of Punjab and others v. Ex. Constable Amarjit Singh

Case no.: RSA-4995 of 1999

Dated on: 22nd February 2024

Coram: Justice Namit Kumar


Ex. Constable Amarjit Singh filed a suit for declaration challenging his dismissal from service by the Comdt. 13th Bn PAF Jalandhar Cantt. The plaintiff alleged that the dismissal order was illegal, void, and violated principles of natural justice. He claimed reinstatement with all monetary benefits attached to the service. The plaintiff argued that the disciplinary proceedings against him were conducted ex parte without proper notice or opportunity to defend himself. The defendants, on the other hand, contended that the plaintiff wilfully absented himself from duty, leading to the departmental inquiry and subsequent dismissal.


Argued that the plaintiff’s absence from duty for 44 days and 23 hours constituted grave misconduct, justifying his dismissal. They claimed that the disciplinary proceedings were conducted in accordance with the law and principles of natural justice.

A Division Bench of the Court in State of Haryana and others v. Gurdev Singh, 1981(3) SLR 130 observed as under: “To our mind, the cases with regard to misconduct on the part of the police officers while on duty have not to be interfered with by the Courts lightly unless it is found that the action has been taken wantonly or arbitrarily.”

State of Punjab and others v. Chamkaur Singh – has held that act of absence from duty by a member of disciplined force without information shows the lack of discipline.

No representation on behalf of the respondent.


Rule 16.2 of the Punjab Police Rules reads as under: – Dismissal – (1) Dismissal shall be awarded only for the gravest acts of misconduct or as the cumulative effect of continued misconduct proving incorrigibility and complete unfitness for police service. In making such an award regard shall be had to the length of service of the offender and his claim to pension.

(2) If the conduct of an enrolled police officer leads to his conviction on a criminal charge and he is sentenced to imprisonment, he shall be dismissed: Provided that a punishing authority may, in an exceptional case involving manifestly extenuating circumstances for reasons to be recorded and with the prior approval of the next higher authority impose any punishment other than that of dismissal: Provided further that in case the conviction of an enrolled police officer is set aside in appeal or revision, the officer empowered to appoint him shall review his case keeping in view the instructions issued by the Government from time to time in this behalf.


  • Whether the orders of dismissal passed against the respondent were legal and justified.
  • Whether the suit filed by the respondent is maintainable & Locus standi of the plaintiff.
  • Validity of notice under Section 80 CPC.


The Court examined the relevant provisions, including Rule 16.2 of the Punjab Police Rules, which govern dismissal from service. It considered precedents highlighting the gravity of misconduct in disciplined forces and the importance of maintaining discipline.

The Court emphasized that the plaintiff’s absence from duty, especially during basic training, demonstrated a lack of discipline, a fundamental requirement in the police force. It cited case law supporting the view that interference with disciplinary action should be minimal unless the action is wanton or arbitrary.

Ultimately, the Court concluded that the dismissal order was justified given the gravity of the misconduct. The plaintiff’s short service tenure and absence without leave further supported this decision. The Court allowed the appeal, setting aside the judgments of the lower courts and dismissing the plaintiff’s suit.

The case underscores the significance of discipline in disciplined forces and the courts’ reluctance to interfere with disciplinary actions unless they are arbitrary or disproportionate. It reaffirms the principle that grave misconduct warrants appropriate disciplinary measures, including dismissal from service.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Chiraag K A

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