//Criminal Proceedings Against IPS Officer Only After Chargesheet: SC

Criminal Proceedings Against IPS Officer Only After Chargesheet: SC

09 March, 2006

The Supreme Court has held that "the criminal proceedings against an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer shall be treated as pending only after the charge sheet has actually been issued to the officer or filed in a court." A bench comprising Mr. Justice H.K. Sema and Mr. Justice A.R.

Lakshmanan vide their judgment dated March 8,2006 set aside the impugned judgment of Punjab and Haryana high court.

Respondent no.5 Sukhmohinder Singh was appointed as DSP on Oct.27,1988 and was confirmed in 1990. He was promoted as Superintendent of Police (SP) in 1994. CBI filed a chargesheet against him for offences under section 120-B,342/365 IPC on July 1,2000 in Ambala.

Singh was promoted to the IPS cadre of the state police provisionally subject to the outcome of the criminal case against him. The Central Administrative Tribunal, however, directed the state to include him in the select panel for the year 1999-2000 without caring for the pendency of the criminal case. The Centre’s appeal in the high court was dismissed.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the high court committed fundamental error by misinterpreting the explanation 1 to regulation 5(5) and regulation 7(3) of IPS(appointment by promotion) Regulations 1955. " The dangerous interpretation assigned to the statute by the high court would negate the intendment of the legislature. In our view the high court has committed grave fundamental error of law and the same is unsustainable in law," the court observed.

The Supreme Court also rejected the plea that Gurpreet Singh Bhullar and other petitioners did not have locus to file the appeal since they were not aggrieved.

The apex court upheld the plea that had the respondent no.5 had not bee wrongly considered then both the petitioners would have been within the consideration zone and were hence the affected parties.