Suresh Kumar vs The State Of Haryana on 26 March, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Suresh Kumar vs The State Of Haryana on 26 March, 2021

Author: Ashok Bhushan

Bench: Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy

                                                                           1


                                                                  REPORTABLE

                                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                   CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                  CIVIL APPEAL NO.1076 of 2021
                             (arising out of SLP(C)No.9491 of 2020)

         SURESH KUMAR                                        ...APPELLANT(S)

                                              VERSUS

         THE STATE OF HARYANA & ORS.                        ...RESPONDENT(S)
                                   WITH

                                  CIVIL APPEAL NO.1077 of 2021
                             (arising out of SLP(C)No.9486 of 2020)

         OM PARKASH AND ANOTHER                              ...APPELLANT(S)

                                              VERSUS

         THE STATE OF HARYANA & ORS.                        ...RESPONDENT(S)
                                   WITH

                                  CIVIL APPEAL NO.1078 of 2021
                             (arising out of SLP(C)No.10169 of 2020)

         SANDEEP KUMAR & ANOTHER                             ...APPELLANT(S)

                                              VERSUS

         THE STATE OF HARYANA & ORS.                        ...RESPONDENT(S)

Signature Not Verified
                                          J U D G M E N T

Digitally signed by
MEENAKSHI KOHLI
Date: 2021.03.26

ASHOK BHUSHAN, J.

16:06:59 IST
Reason:

Leave granted.

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2. These three appeals have been filed against the

common judgment dated 27.07.2020 of the High Court of

Punjab and Haryana dismissing the Civil Writ Petition

No.13496 of 2009 which was filed by the appellants in

first two appeals. The third appeal, Sandeep Kumar and

another is an appeal filed by the two appellants who

were intervenors in the Civil Writ Petition No.13496 of

2009. The Division Bench of the High Court by the

impugned judgment dismissed the writ petition upholding

the promotion orders of all the respondent Nos.4 to 34

as Inspector in the Haryana Police.

3. Brief facts of the case necessary to be noted for

deciding these appeals are:

The appointment and promotion in Police Force of

the State of Haryana are governed by Punjab Police

Rules, 1934. In the State of Haryana prior to 2001,

100% posts of Sub-Inspectors of Police used to be

filled by way of promotion. Rule 12.3 was amended vide

notification dated 24.12.2001 by substituting Rule 12.3

to the following effect:

3

“12.3, Direct appointment of Inspectors and
Sub-Inspectors – Except as provided in rules
12.1 and 12.4 direct appointment shall not be
made except in the rank of Inspector and Sub
Inspector of Police. Such appointment in the
rank of Inspector and Sub Inspector may be made
up to a maximum of ten percent and fifty
percent of posts respectively.”

4. The first direct recruitment on the post of Sub-

Inspector was held in the year 2003 in which

recruitment all the three writ petitioners, Om Prakash,

Sudeep Kumar Singh and Suresh Kumar were recommended

for direct recruitment as Sub-Inspector. All the writ

petitioners joined in May, 2003 as Sub-Inspector. The

private respondents to these appeals who were arrayed

as respondent Nos.4 to 34 in the writ petition were

promoted to the rank of Sub-Inspector from Assistant

Sub-Inspector between June, 2003 and March, 2004, i.e.,

after the writ petitioners had joined. The respondents

were promoted on the post of Inspector by orders dated

27.11.2008, 18.05.2009 and 13.08.2009. The writ

petitioners aggrieved by the above mentioned promotion
4

orders filed Civil Writ Petition No.13496 of 2009

praying for following reliefs:

“i) Issue a writ in the nature of mandamus
summoning the records of the cases.

ii) Issue a writ in the nature of certiorari
quashing the order dated 27.11.2008
(Annexure-P-8), order dated 18.05.2009
(Annexure-P-9) and order dated 13.08.2009
(Annexure-P-10) whereby the private
respondents have been promoted as
Inspectors of Police;

iii) Issue a writ in the nature of certiorari
quashing the confirmation order dated
30.06.2009 (Annexure P-2), order dated
15.06.2009 (Annexure P-3) and also order
dated 30.06.2009 (Annexure P-4);

iv) Issue a writ in the nature of certiorari
quashing the Rules 12.2, 12.8 and 13.18 of
the Punjab Police Rules being ultra vires
of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution
of India.

v) Issue a writ in the nature of mandamus
directing the official respondents to
consider and promote the petitioner as
Inspector with effect from the date the
private respondents were promoted and
directing the official respondents to
grant all consequential reliefs that flow
viz. seniority in the rank of Inspector,
fixation of pay, payment of arrears of pay
along with interest at the rate of 12 per
cent per annum etc. etc.
5

vi) Issue any other suitable writ, order or
direction as this Hon’ble Court may deem
fit and proper in the facts and
circumstances of the present case may be
issued.”

5. The writ petition was contested both by the State

as well as by the private respondents. It was pleaded

on behalf of the State that the eligibility for

promotion from the post of Sub-Inspector to Inspector

is eight years’ service of which five years’ service

should be as Sub-Inspector, none of the writ

petitioners had to their credit eight years’ service

hence they being not eligible were not promoted. The

writ petitioners were promoted in the year 2011 when

they completed eight years of service to their credit.

The State defended the vires of the Rules and contends

that the Rules were neither arbitrary nor violative of

Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. The High Court

framed following two issues in the writ petition for

consideration:

6

“(i) Whether Rule 13.14(2) prescribes the
eligibility criteria for consideration for
promotion to the post of Inspector ?

(ii) If the Rule 13.14(2) is applicable,
whether the conditions of eight years
experience is arbitrary and discriminatory and
is, therefore, required to be struck down being
violative of Article 16 of the Constitution ?”

6. The High Court after considering the submissions of

the parties held that Rule 13.14(2) of the Punjab

Police Rules, 1934 prescribes the eligibility criteria

for consideration for promotion to the post of

Inspector. The High Court also held that requirement of

eight years’ experience for promotion to the post of

Inspector is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory.

After recording the conclusion, writ petition was

dismissed by the High Court. Aggrieved by the judgment

of the High Court, the writ petitioners have filed

first two appeals and the last appeal has been filed by

the intervenors.

7. We have heard Shri P.S. Patwalia, learned senior

counsel and Shri Shyam Divan, learned senior counsel
7

appearing for the appellants. Shri Gurminder Singh,

learned senior counsel, has appeared for the private

respondents. Shri Nikhil Goel, learned Additional

Advocate General has appeared for the State of Haryana.

8. Learned senior counsel for the appellants submits

that the appellants/writ petitioners were senior to the

private respondents in the cadre of Sub-Inspector, and

they being directly recruited before the respondents

could be promoted as Sub-Inspector. They being seniors

were entitled to be promoted on the post of Inspector

as they have also completed five years’ experience as

Sub-Inspector. It is submitted that the High Court has

wrongly relied on Rule 13.14 which Rule was not

applicable for promotion to the post of Inspector from

Sub-Inspector. It is submitted that the applicable

Rules for promotion from the rank of Sub-Inspector to

Inspector are Rules 13.1, 13.15 and 13.16 of Rules,

1934. Rule 13.14 covers a situation where a Sub-

Inspector is being promoted to and in the Selection

Grade of Sub-Inspector. The Government of Haryana vide
8

its order dated 29.04.1987 has abolished the Selection

Grade in all Groups B,C and D posts. The Sub-Inspector

being a Group-C post, there was no question of

promotion in Selection Grade of any Sub-Inspector after

29.04.1987. In fact, none of the private respondents

were promoted in the Selection Grade so as to claim

applicability of Rule 13.14. The selection criteria is

contained in sub-rule (1) of Rule 13 and Rule 13.15.

Sub-Rule (4) of Rule 13.15 does not deal with

eligibility rather it deals with inter-se seniority.

The Haryana Police (Non-Gazetted and Other Ranks)

Service Rules, 2017 now provide, by Rule 7 read with

Appendix B that five years’ service is required as Sub-

Inspector for promotion to the post of Inspector. The

position in Rules, 2017 clearly defeats the

construction placed by the High Court requiring an

eight years’ qualifying period.

9. Shri Nikhil Goel, learned Additional Advocate

General for the State of Haryana submits that

requirement for promotion to the rank of Inspector has
9

always been of eight years’ of service. The said

criteria has been followed ever since the State of

Haryana was established in 1966 and even after

selection grade was abolished in 1987. The requirement

of eight years of service for promotion to the post of

Inspector is clear from a conjoined reading of Rule

13.14 read with Rule 13.15(4) of Rules, 1934. Rule

13.14 of Rules, 1934 was never challenged in the writ

petition but rather it was only the vires of Rule 12.2,

12.8 and 13.18 that were challenged. No reliance can be

placed on Rules, 2017 which Rules have been notified

after nine years of promotion of private respondents.

Rule 13.14 is an integral and inalienable part of the

scheme of the Rules governing promotion to the rank of

Inspector. Without Rule 13.14, there cannot be any List

F and without List F, no promotion can be made to the

post of Inspector. The selection grades are in the

nature of a promotional scale. Therefore, the criteria

provided for promotion to selection grade can be taken

as criteria for further promotion. The requirement and
10

rationale of eight years of service for a Sub-Inspector

is to discharge the higher responsibility of an

Inspector. Rules, 1934 have always been interpreted so

by the State and all promotions were affected till new

Rules were enforced in 2017.

10. Learned counsel for the private respondents also

adopts the submissions raised by Shri Nikhil Goel that

impugned judgment of the High Court needs no

interference by this Court.

11. Shri P.S. Narasimha, learned senior counsel, has

also appeared for the private respondents. He, however,

submits that he is not affected by the inter-se dispute

between the writ petitioners and the private

respondents. He submits that his clients have already

been promoted as Deputy Superintendents of Police.

12. We have considered the submissions made by the

learned counsel for the parties and perused the

records.

11

13. From the submissions of the learned counsel for the

parties and materials on record following two questions

arise for consideration in these appeals:-

(i) Whether the mode and manner of promotion in

selection grade from rank of Sub-Inspector to

Inspector as envisaged in Punjab Police Rules,

1934 has become redundant after issuance of

Government Order dated 29.04.1987 by State of

Haryana withdrawing the grant of selection

grade to Group A, B and C employees?

(ii) Whether the Rule 13.14 of Punjab Police Rules,

1934, which contemplate promotion to the

various selection grades cannot be looked into

while considering the promotion of a Sub-

Inspector to the rank of Inspector and

requirement of having at least eight years’

approved service as an upper subordinate is no

longer attracted for promotion of direct

recruits Sub-Inspector?

12

14. Before we proceed to consider the respective

submissions, we need to look into the statutory rules

governing the promotion from the post of Sub-Inspector

to Inspector. The statutory rules are Punjab Police

Rules, 1934. The appellant’s case is that only

applicable rules for promotion from the rank of Sub-

Inspector to Inspector are Rules 13.1, 13.15 and 13.16

of the Rules, 1934. We need to notice the aforesaid

rules, which are to the following effect:-

“13.1. Promotion from one rank to
another. – (1) Promotion from one rank to
another, and from one grade to another in
the same rank shall be made by selection
tempered by seniority. Efficiency and
honesty shall be the main factors
governing selection. Specific
qualifications, whether in the nature of
training courses passed or practical
experience, shall be carefully considered
in each case. When the qualifications of
two officers are otherwise equal, the
senior shall be promoted. This rule does
not affect increments within a time-scale.

(2) Under the present constitution of
the police force no lower subordinate will
ordinarily be entrusted with the
independent conduct of investigations or
the independent charge of a police station
or similar unit. It is necessary,
therefore, that well-educated constables,
13

having the attributes necessary for
bearing the responsibilities of upper
subordinate rank, should receive
accelerated promotion so as to reach that
rank as soon as they have passed the
courses prescribed for, and been tested
and given practical training in, the ranks
of constable and head constable.

(3) For the purposes of regulating
promotion amongst enrolled police officers
six promotion lists – A, B, C, D, E, and F
will be maintained.

Lists A, B, C and D shall be
maintained in each district as prescribed
in rules 13.6, 13.7, 13.8 and 13.9 and
will regulate promotion to the selection
grade of constables and to the ranks of
head constables and Assistant Sub-
Inspector. List E shall be maintained in
the office of Deputy Inspector- General as
prescribed in sub-rule 13.10(1) and will
regulate promotion to the rank of Sub-
Inspector. List F shall be maintained in
the office of the Inspector-General as
prescribed in sub-rule 13.15(1) and will
regulate promotion to the rank of
Inspector.

Entry in or removal from A, B, C, D or
E lists shall be recorded in the order
book and in the character roll of the
police officer concerned. These lists are
nominal rolls of those officers whose
admission to them has been authorised. No
actual selection shall be made without
careful examination of character rolls.
14

Provided that five per cent of such
promotions may be made from amongst the
members of the Police Force, who achieve
outstanding distinction in sports field at
All India level or International level if
they are otherwise eligible for promotion
but for seniority.

13.15. List F – Promotion to
Inspectors. – (1) Recommendations on
behalf of Sergeants and Sub-Inspectors
considered fit for promotion to the rank
of Inspector shall be submitted with their
annual confidential reports on the 15th
April each year to Deputy Inspector-
General by Superintendents of Police in
Form 13.15(1). Recommendations on behalf
of Sergeants and Sub-Inspectors employed
in the Government Railway Police will be
sent direct to the Inspector-General of
Police by the Assistant Inspector-General,
Government Railway Police, in the same
form and not later than October each year.
The Deputy Inspector-General shall decide,
after seeing the officers recommended, and
in consideration of their records, and his
own knowledge of them, whether to endorse
the recommendations of Superintendents of
Police and forwarded them to the
Inspector-General. He will keep a copy of
any recommendation so forwarded in the
personal file of the officer; if he
decides not to endorse a recommendation,
he shall retain the original in the
officer’s personal file and send a copy of
his own order on it to the Superintendent
concerned. Deputy Inspector-General shall
finally submit recommendations to the
Inspector-General as soon as they are
satisfied as to the fitness of officers
15

recommended, but in no case later than
October each year.

(2) Such of the officers recommended
as the Inspector-General may consider
suitable shall be admitted to promotion
list ‘F’ (form 13.15(2) which will,
however, not be published. Deputy
Inspectors-General shall be informed, and
shall in turn inform the Superintendents
concerned, of the names of those who have
been admitted to the List; similar
information will be sent to the Assistant
Inspector-General, Government Railway
Police.

The original personal files of Sub-
Inspectors admitted to the list shall be
transferred to the Inspector-General after
duplicates have been prepared for
retention in the office of the Deputy
Inspector-General or the Assistant
Inspector-General, Government Railway
Police, as required by Rule 13.38(1).

Copies of all subsequent annual
confidential reports prepared in form
13.17 in respect both of Sergeants and
Sub-Inspectors admitted to the list will,
on return by the Inspector-General in
accordance with rule 13.17(1), be recorded
by Deputy Inspectors-General or the
Assistant Inspector-General, Government
Railway Police, with the duplicate
personal files of the officers concerned.
Copies of all entries ordered to be made
in personal files other than annual
confidential reports will be forwarded to
the Inspector-General as soon as made for
record with the original personal files;
all such copies shall be attested by the
16

Deputy Inspector-General or the Assistant
Inspector General, Government Railway
Police, personally.

(3) When submitting recommendations
for the entry of fresh names in List F,
Deputy Inspectors-General and the
Assistant Inspector-General, Government
Railway Police, will at the same time
submit specific recommendations (which
need not be accompanied by detailed
confidential reports) as to the retention
or removal of officers already admitted to
the list. On receipt of these
recommendations, the Inspector-General
will review the Provincial List, and pass
orders regarding the retention or
exclusion of names, at the same time
communicating his decision to the Deputy
Inspector-General and the Assistant
Inspector-General, Government Railway
Police.

(4) Sub-Inspectors admitted to List
‘F’ will be placed in that list in order
according to their date of permanent
promotion to selection grade, and, if the
date of permanent promotion to selection
grade is the same in the case of two or
more Sub-Inspectors admitted to list ‘F’
on one and the same date, then according
to date of permanent promotion to the
time-scale. Sergeants will be shown in
list ‘F’ according to the date of entry in
the list. When, however, two or more
Sergeants are admitted to list ‘F’ on the
same date, their names will be shown in
order of seniority among themselves.
17

13.16. Promotion to the rank of
Inspector. – (1) Substantive vacancies in
the rank of Inspector, save those which
are specially designated for the
appointment of probationers shall be
filled by promotion of officers from list
F selected according to the principles
laid down in rule 13.1. Sergeants are
eligible for promotion in the appointments
reserved for European Inspectors.

(2) Temporary vacancies in the rank of
Inspector shall be filled by the
officiating promotion of officers on F
list by the authorities empowered by rule
13.4 to make the appointment. Such
officiating promotions shall be made in
accordance with the principles laid down
in sub-rule 13.12(1) in the case of E
list, and the second part of that rule
shall, mutatis mutandis, govern the
scrutiny of the work of F list officers
and the removal from that list of the
names of those who are found unfit for the
rank of inspector.

(3) No officer whose name is not on F
list shall be appointed to officiate as
Inspector without the special sanction of
the Inspector-General. When no officer on
F list is available in the range for a
vacancy which the Deputy Inspector-General
is required to fill, application shall be
made to the Inspector-General to appoint a
man from another range.”

15. On the other hand, the respondents placed reliance

on Rule 13.14, which is to the following effect:-
18

“13.14. Promotions to and in the
selection grades of Sub-Inspectors. – (1)
Promotion to the various selection grades
of Sub-Inspectors shall be made by
Superintendents of Police and the
Assistant Superintendent, Government
Railway Police, as vacancies in the
sanctioned establishment of such
appointments occur in accordance with the
principle laid down in Rule 13.1.

(2) No Sub-Inspector shall be
considered eligible for promotion to a
selection grade unless he has at least
eight years’ approved service as an upper
subordinate, of which at least five shall
have been in the rank of Sub- Inspector,
and unless he is thoroughly efficient and
competent to hold charge of a police
station of first class importance. No Sub-
Inspector who has been punished by
reduction, stoppage of increment, or
forfeiture of approved service for
increment, shall be eligible for promotion
to a selection grade. Exceptions to this
rule may be made only with the sanction of
the Inspector- General in recognition of
distinguished service and exemplary
conduct.

(3) Sub-Inspectors promoted to the 4th
selection grade shall be on probation for
one year and may be reverted without
formal departmental proceedings during or
on the expiry of the period of their
probation if they fail to maintain an
exemplary standard of conduct and
efficiency.

Provided that the competent authority
may, if it so thinks fit in any case,
19

extend the period of probation by one year
in the aggregate and pass such orders at
any time during or on the expiry of the
extended period of probation as it could
have passed during or on the expiry of
original period of probation.”

16. We may now notice the Government Order dated

29.04.1987 issued by the State of Haryana, which

communicates the decision of the State Government that

“the present system of selection grades as it exists

for the employees of Groups B, C & D has been

discontinued”. The effect of the G.O. dated 29.04.1987

was that there was no entitlement of a Sub-Inspector or

any police personnel belonging to Group C to claim

selection grade. The statutory Rule 13.1 provides that

promotion from one rank to another and from one grade

to another in the same rank shall be made by selection

tempered by seniority. The use of expression “specific

qualifications whether in the nature of training

courses passed or practical experience, shall be

carefully considered in each case” indicate that

qualifications for promotion are not contained in Rule

13.1 and they have to be found out from other part of
20

the Rules. Rule 13.1 governs both promotions, from one

rank to another, and from one grade to another. Thus,

Rule 13.1 regulates promotion within the grade and from

one grade to another. Rule 13.14 contains the heading

“promotions to and in the selection grades of Sub-

Inspectors”. Rule 13.14(2) provides that no Sub-

Inspector shall be considered eligible for promotion to

a selection grade unless he has at least eight years’

approved service as an upper subordinate, of which five

years shall have been in the rank of Sub-Inspector.

Now, coming to Rule 13.15 which deals with “List F-

Promotion to Inspectors”, Rule 13.15(1) deals with

recommendations on behalf of Sub-Inspectors considered

fit for promotion to the rank of Inspector to be

submitted with their annual confidential reports on the

15th April each year to Deputy Inspector-General by

Superintendents of Police in Form 13.15(1).

17. Rule 13.15(4) provides that Sub-Inspectors admitted

to List ‘F’ will be placed in that list in order

according to their date of permanent promotion to
21

selection grade. Thus, date of permanent promotion to

selection grade is criteria which was required to be

followed for promotion to Inspector and as required by

Rule 13.14(2) no Sub-Inspector shall be considered

eligible for promotion to a selection grade unless he

has at least eight years’ approved service as an upper

subordinate, of which at least five years shall have

been in the rank of Sub-Inspector.

18. Thus, promotion to selection grade of a Sub-

Inspector was pre-condition for including the name of a

Sub-Inspector in List ‘F’ which is a list from which

promotion to Inspector was to be made. Even though

scheme of grant of selection grade was done away by the

State vide its common order dated 29.04.1987, the

exercise of promotion to Inspector from Sub-Inspector

even after 29.04.1987 was done on the basis of

requirement of Rule 13.14(2), i.e., names of only those

Sub-Inspectors were included in List ‘F’ who have eight

years of approved service as an upper subordinate to

their cadre. The promotion to selection grade was
22

contemplated under the Rules by following eligibility

and criteria as laid down in the Rules. The submission

of the respondents is that after the State Government

withdrew the scheme of selection grade by the

Government order dated 29.04.1987 all statutory

provisions regarding grant of selection grade became

redundant. Even if no selection grade was to be

provided to any of the personnel of the Police force

after 29.04.1987, the criteria which was adopted for in

rank promotion was followed by the State for promotion

to the next rank. The Rules contained in Chapter XIII

have to be given a conjoint and meaningful reading to

advance object and purpose of the Rules. The Rules

provided a mode and manner for assessment of an

official to move forward by means of a grant of

selection grade and thereafter by the next step on the

next rank. The criteria in the Rules for assessing a

person that he was entitled for grant of selection

grade cannot be said to be meaningless with no purpose

after withdrawal of the selection grade. The grant of
23

selection grade, in the rank in which Police official

was there, is a step for making eligible officer to

move to the higher rank. Can the argument be accepted

that promotion of Sub-Inspector to Inspector has been

on the basis of seniority alone? Whether there shall be

no cap of experience when a Sub-Inspector is considered

to be promoted to next higher rank in grade, i.e.,

Inspector? If we accept the submission of the counsel

of the respondents that the requirement as contained in

Rule 13.14(2) is no longer applicable after withdrawal

of selection grade, there will be no requirement of any

experience to any Sub-Inspector for becoming an

Inspector which was never the intendment of the

statutory Rules. For promotion to Sub-Inspector to

selection grade eight years’ approved service was

contemplated which was with intent that sufficient

experience is gained by a Police personnel to be

considered for promotion to Inspector who is to man a

Police Station and has to discharge other important

functions. It is relevant to notice that no amendments
24

in the statutory Rules were made after 29.04.1987 and

even after notification was issued dated 24.12.2001

substituting Rule 12.3. The case of the State before

the High Court and before this Court is that even after

29.04.1987 till 2017 Rules were enforced, all Sub-

Inspectors, including direct and promotees were

uniformly dealt with by insisting the requirement of

eight years’ approved service as the upper subordinate

for the purposes of inclusion of their names in List

‘F’.

19. The selection grades are in the nature of

promotional scale, therefore, the criteria provided for

promotion to selection grade can very well be taken as

criteria for further promotion which is the spirit of

the Rules followed uniformly by the State while

effecting the promotion. The object and purpose of the

Rules and methodology for evaluating the Police

personnel to move in the higher rank in the same or to

the next rank cannot be lost sight nor can be ignored

merely because the scheme was withdrawn on 29.04.1987.
25

No error has been committed by the State in continuing

the evaluation of the Sub-Inspectors on the basis of

criteria as provided in Rule 13.14 while effecting

promotion.

20. This Court has laid down time and again that while

construing statutory Rules such construction should be

adopted which may give effect to the intention or

object of the Rule and no such interpretation be put

which may make the Rule ineffective. We may refer to

the judgment of this Court in State of Gujarat and

Another vs. Justice R.A. Mehta (Retired) and Others,

(2013) 3 SCC 1, where this Court laid down following in

paragraphs 96, 97 and 98:

“96. In the process of statutory
construction, the court must construe the
Act before it bearing in mind the legal
maxim ut res magis valeat quam pereat
which means it is better for a thing to
have effect than for it to be made void
i.e. a statute must be construed in such a
manner so as to make it workable. Viscount
Simon, L.C. in Nokes v. Doncaster
Amalgamated Collieries Ltd. [1940 AC
1014 : (1940) 3 All ER 549 (HL)] stated as
follows: (AC p. 1022)
26

“… if the choice is between
two interpretations, the narrower
of which would fail to achieve the
manifest purpose of the
legislation, we should avoid a
construction which would reduce
the legislation to futility and
should rather accept the bolder
construction based on the view
that Parliament would legislate
only for the purpose of bringing
about an effective result.”

97. Similarly in Whitney v. IRC [1926 AC
37 (HL)] it was observed as under: (AC p.

52)
“… A statute is designed to be
workable, and the interpretation
thereof by a court should be to
secure that object, unless
crucial omission or clear
direction makes that end
unattainable.”

98. The doctrine of purposive
construction may be taken recourse to for
the purpose of giving full effect to
statutory provisions, and the courts must
state what meaning the statute should
bear, rather than rendering the statute a
nullity, as statutes are meant to be
operative and not inept. The courts must
refrain from declaring a statute to be
unworkable. The rules of interpretation
require that construction which carries
27

forward the objectives of the statute,
protects interest of the parties and keeps
the remedy alive, should be preferred
looking into the text and context of the
statute. Construction given by the court
must promote the object of the statute and
serve the purpose for which it has been
enacted and not efface its very purpose.
“The courts strongly lean against any
construction which tends to reduce a
statute to futility. The provision of the
statute must be so construed as to make it
effective and operative.” The court must
take a pragmatic view and must keep in
mind the purpose for which the statute was
enacted as the purpose of law itself
provides good guidance to courts as they
interpret the true meaning of the Act and
thus legislative futility must be ruled
out. A statute must be construed in such a
manner so as to ensure that the Act itself
does not become a dead letter and the
obvious intention of the legislature does
not stand defeated unless it leads to a
case of absolute intractability in use.
The court must adopt a construction which
suppresses the mischief and advances the
remedy and “to suppress subtle inventions
and evasions for continuance of the
mischief, and pro privato commodo, and to
add force and life to the cure and remedy,
according to the true intent of the makers
of the Act, pro bono publico”. The court
must give effect to the purpose and object
of the Act for the reason that legislature
is presumed to have enacted a reasonable
28

statute. (Vide M. Pentiah v. Muddala
Veeramallappa
[AIR 1961 SC 1107] , S.P.
Jain v. Krishna Mohan Gupta
[(1987) 1 SCC
191 : AIR 1987 SC 222] , RBI v. Peerless
General Finance and Investment Co. Ltd.
[(1987) 1 SCC 424 : AIR 1987 SC 1023],
Tinsukhia Electric Supply Co. Ltd. v.
State of Assam
[(1989) 3 SCC 709 : AIR
1990 SC 123] , SCC p. 754, para 118, UCO
Bank v. Rajinder Lal Capoor
[(2008) 5 SCC
257 : (2008) 2 SCC (L&S) 263] and Grid
Corpn. of Orissa Ltd. v. Eastern Metals
and Ferro Alloys
[(2011) 11 SCC 334] .)”

21. The principle of construction of statutory Rules as

laid down above would apply to the interpretation of

Punjab Police Rules, 1934. We are of the opinion that

the High Court did not commit any error in construing

the Rules in the manner as was construed by the High

Court. We endorse the view of the High Court

interpreting the Punjab Police Rules, 1934. Chapter

XIII of the Rules have to be conjointly and

harmoniously construed and when we construe Rules 13.1,

13.14 and 13.15, we do not find any error in State

promoting the Sub-Inspectors to Inspectors who have

eight years’ approved service to their credit, at least
29

five years being as Sub-Inspectors. Thus, the High

Court has rightly upheld the promotion orders of

private respondents. No ground is made out to

interfere with the judgment of the High Court in these

appeals. The appeals are dismissed.

………………….J.

( ASHOK BHUSHAN )

………………….J.

( R. SUBHASH REDDY )

New Delhi,
March 26, 2021.



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