Cop Retired 10 years before his actual retirement
Jammu Tawi, April 20
In a interesting case in which one Pritam Singh filed a petition in which Short but important question raised is; whether the age of superannuation of the petitioner should be determined on the basis of his date of birth recorded as 05.04.1964 in the Matriculation Certificate or on the basis of the date of birth recorded as 05.04.1954 in his Service Book/ Character Roll?
Justice Janak Raj Kotwal of J&K High Court while setting aside the order imposed costs of Rs 1 lac to DGP J&K and SSP Jammu and directed them to pay the costs to the petitioner.
Justice JR Kotwal after hearing Adv BS Soodan appearing for the petitioner whereas Sr. AAG WS Nargal appearing for the state observed that as the correction of his date of birth was not effected even after the authentication of his Matriculation Certificate by the Board of School Education, the petitioner filed SWP No. 261/2012 in this Court. During the pendency of that writ petition, the Director General of Police, vide the Police Headquarters No. Estt/DOB-01/2012/18004-07 dated 31.03.2012 recommended the case to the Home Department (Administrative Department), “for issuance of necessary orders on the claim of the petitioner for adoption of his date of birth as 05.04.1964, which is subscribed by Matriculation Certificate as also the copy of initial appointment order issued by the S.S.P Jammu”. This recommendation was made pursuant to the interim direction issued by this Court in SWP No. 261/2012 on 09.02.2012, whereby the respondents were directed to pass appropriate orders as warranted under rules on petitioner’s application seeking correction of his date of birth on the basis of entry recorded in the Matriculation Certificate.
Justice JR Kotwal after hearing Adv BS Soodan for the petitioner whereas Sr. AAG WS Nargal appearing for the state observed that Senior Superintendent of Police, Jammu, however, left much to be desired. What was expected of respondent was to accord consideration to the case in terms of clause (c) of Article 35-AA of J&K CSR and order rectification of the clerical order by changing the entry in regard to the age of the petitioner from 05.04.1954 to 05.04.1964 in his Character Roll as it was satisfactorily established on the basis of the authentication by the Board of School Education that the Matriculation Certificate produced by the petitioner at the time of his selection and appointment showing his date of birth as 05.04.1964 was genuine and as there was no back up evidence in support of the entry as recorded in the Character Roll. The impugned order, relevant portion whereof has been culled out hereinabove, reflects complete non application of mind and apathy on the part of the then Senior Superintendent of Police, Jammu towards the interest of the petitioner and his fundamental right of continuing in the Government service till he attains the age of superannuation applicable as at the relevant time. The impugned order, whereby petitioner has been virtually robbed of his right to continue in Government service for another ten years, therefore, is illegal and cannot sustain.
Justice Kotwal further observed that Matter, however, cannot be closed here only as the sordid manner in which the case has been dealt with at different levels in the official hierarchy and ultimately ended up in a rude shock and tragedy to the petitioner has been noticed and needs to be pointed out. The letter dated 31.03.2012 of respondent No. 3, whereby the Police Headquarters had recommended petitioner’s case to the Administrative Department for adoption of his date of birth as 05.04.1964 gives a clear reflection of the satisfaction at the Departmental level that there was a clerical error in recording the date of birth in the Character Roll. Rectification of this error should have been ordered at that stage at the Departmental level only but, it appears, smooth and safer path of referring the matter to the Government (Administrative Department) was chosen. It took the Administrative Department two years to return the case to the Police Headquarters with the advise of the Finance Department. The Police Headquarters, while sending the case to respondent No. 4 vide letter No. Estt/DOB-01/2012/1933941 dated 02.03.2014, asked respondent No. 4 to take further necessary action in light of the observation of the Home Department. Better it would have been had the Police Headquarters advised/ordered the respondent No. 4 to rectify the error by correcting the entry in the Character Roll. The respondent No. 4 on his part vide his order No. 908 of 2014 dated 19.04.2014, having regard to the provisions of clause (c) of Article 35 AA of the J&K CSR and authentication of the Matriculation Certificate of the petitioner by the Board of School Education, indeed corrected the date of birth of the petitioner in the Character Roll as 05.04.1964 and sent a copy of that inter alia to respondent No. 3.
Justice JR Kotwal further observed that it is not understandable and has been noticed with surprise as to why the Order No. 908 of 2014 dated 19.04.2014 was cancelled on 06.05.2014. This aspect of the matter rather has been concealed from the Court in the objections filed on behalf of the respondents, rather than explained. Be that as it may, it can be safely said that injustice has been done to the petitioner, firstly, by not taking the appropriate decision in time at the Police Headquarters’ level and secondly, and mainly, by the questionable act of the the then Sr. Superintendent of Police, Jammu/respondent No. 4, whereby he cancelled his own order dated 19.04.2014 . The right decision taken vide order dated 19.04.2014 by respondent No. 4 was cancelled without assigning any reason. The petitioner had been the victim of the insensitivity and inapt approach at all levels in the official hierarchy in the Police Department. The manner in which the immediate retirement of the petitioner was directed by respondent No. 4 by passing impugned order dated 06.05.2014 reflects the utter disregard to the right and interest of an employee at the lower level resulting into uncalled for litigation and humiliation and monetary loss to him. This aspect of the matter needs to be addressed the least by compensating the petitioner in the matter of expenses incurred by him in avoidable and uncalled for litigation he was faced to go for. With these observations court allowed the petition and ordered that petitioner stands reinstated in the service of Police Department with effect from 06.05.2014 with all monetary and other service benefits including the benefit of seniority, promotion, if any. Respondent(s) shall immediately issue formal order in this regard and shall effect the correction of the date of birth of the petitioner in the Character Roll changing it from 05.04.1954 to 05.04.1964.
Justice JR Kotwal after hearing Adv BS Soodan for the petitioner whereas Sr. AAG Wasim Sadiq Nargal for the state observed that having regard to the circumstances in which decision in the matter has been delayed and the then Sr. Superintendent of Police, Jammu cancelled his own order No. 908 of 2014 dated 19.04.2014 by a subsequent order No. 1001 of 2014 passed on 06.05.2014, I deem it proper to impose respondent DGP J&K and SSP Jammu with costs of Rs. 1,00,000/ (one lakh rupees) to be paid to the petitioner. It shall, however, be open for the respondents to inquire into the circumstances leading to cancellation of the order No. 908 of 2014 dated 19.04.2014 and recover the amount of costs from the officer, who passed the cancellation order No. 1001 and the impugned order No. 1002 so that State exchequer is not unnecessarily burdened. JNF