DB upholds Rule 111 of Police Rules

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In a landmark judgment, the Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan today upheld Rule 111 of the Police Rules with the observation that the Prosecuting Officers are part of the Police Department.
The case before the Single Judge, which had quashed the Rule 111 after terming it as ultra vires of the Constitution, was that final seniority list of the Prosecuting Officers was issued in terms of Rule 111(2) of the Police Rules and not in terms of Rule 24 of the J&K Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956.
The submission of the petitioners before the Single Judge was that Prosecuting Officers are covered under Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956 and their seniority should be framed from the date of their first substantive appointment.
The Single Judge while allowing the writ petitions had struck down Rule 111 and restored the seniority fixed without reference to the merit secured by the candidates during the training course. Aggrieved over the decision of the Single Judge, the Government and some of the Prosecuting Officers challenged the judgment in the Division Bench.
After hearing senior counsels P N Raina, U K Jalali, M K Bhardwaj and Advocate Rahul Pant appearing for the Prosecuting Officers aggrieved over the judgment of Single Judge and Additional Advocate General, Wasim Sadiq Nargal appearing for the Home Department, Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan observed, “on the perusal of Rules it is evident that Prosecution Wing is treated as a separate wing of the police force and not independent to that of Police Department”.
As far as submissions of the writ petitioners before the Single Judge vis-à-vis conflict between Rule 24 of the CCA Rules and Rule 111 of the Police Rules in fixing seniority, the DB observed, “there is no ambiguity in Rule 111(2) of the Police Rules and there is no inconsistency between Rule 24 of the CCA Rules and Rule 111 of the Police Rules”, adding “we hold that there is no inconsistency between these Rules and both operates at different occasions”.
With these observations, the DB set-aside the judgment of the Single Judge whereby the Rule 111 of the Police Rules was declared as ultra vires. The DB while upholding Rule 111 of the Police Rules observed that Prosecuting Officers are part of the Police Department. “The plea of the State Government that Police Rule 111 is applicable to Prosecuting Officers and entire Police Force is upheld”, the DB said.
Since the seniority of Prosecuting Officers was altered without issuing notice to the aggrieved persons in 2008, the DB said, “the non-issuance of notice to the writ petitioners whose seniority was finally determined after calling for objections with regard to the provisional seniority list after giving temporary promotion to some of them that too after several years on the facts and circumstances of these cases have vitiated the orders of re-fixing the seniority”.
“The writ appeals are disposed of and the order of the Single Judge is affirmed insofar as allowing the writ petitions and quashing the re-fixation of seniority is concerned”, the DB said.

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