“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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Bombay High Court: Issuance of show cause notice is not institution of disciplinary proceedings

Title: Narendra K. Kumbhare v. Union of India & Ors.

Decided on: 8th AUGUST, 2023.

WRIT PETITION NO. 2539 /2021


Facts of the Case

The petitioner has superannuated on 30.06.2021 as Deputy Manager (Scale II). On the very day a notice was issued calling upon him to show cause as to why departmental action should not be initiated against him under the United India Insurance Company (Conduct, Discipline and Appeal) Rules 2014 for not submitting the Caste Validity Certificate. The lapse/omission according to the respondents constitutes misconduct. If satisfactory explanation is not submitted before 15 days from the date of receipt of the said letter, appropriate action will be taken by the Company.


  1. Whether issuance of show cause notice amounts to initiation of enquiry?
  2. Whether withholding of pension benefits of the Petitioner was valid?


The petitioner contends that the rules mention that disciplinary proceedings already instituted against the employee on the date of retirement will affect his retirement. The departmental proceedings are a trite law, it is not merely initiated by issuance of show cause notice. It is initiated only when charge sheet is issued. The petitioner is also entitled to other retirement benefits as mentioned in Rule 55. The Respondents without any reason have withheld Gratuity, Leave Encashment, Group Insurance and probably Regular Pension and other retiral emoluments. As per Rule 45, the pension should only be deprived in cases of departmental proceedings; in the instant case, there are no departmental proceedings, so the deprivation of pension is illegal.

The Respondents oppose the petition that, since he was appointed under ST Reservation Policy and was receiving benefits under the Reservation Policy, he should have submitted his Case Validity Certificate. The respondents had issued various Circulars asking him to produce or to apply for Caste Validity Certificates. Each time the petitioner prayed for more time and avoided submitting his documents for verification before Caste Scrutiny Committee citing one or other reasons. The petitioner has incorrectly insisted that once a verification has been performed, the respondents may not seek another verification of the caste status. The pensionary benefits of the petitioner are withheld as the show cause notice dated 30.06.2021 was issued on the date of his retirement and therefore, according to the respondents, the enquiry stands initiated. As per provisions, the respondents can withhold the gratuity during the pendency of the enquiry


The Court held that Mere issuance of such show cause notice would not amount to initiation of the departmental enquiry. There are no departmental or judicial proceedings pending against the petitioner, therefore, the question of payment of provisional pension and withholding of the benefits does not arise.

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Written by- Aparna Gupta, University Law College & Dept. of Studies in Law

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