The continuous transfer and removal of the police commander in Punjab has empowered the narrative that a civil servant may be treated as a personal servant. Job security in such positions seems to be a redundant concept as civil servants who refuse to follow illegal orders of a competent authority either get transferred or removed from service. The role, regulation and redressal of the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) or the Provincial Public Service Commission (PPSC) appear to have been reduced.
In such cases, the following remedies are available to an Inspector General of Police (IGP) who has been removed from office (rather than transferred).
The governing laws at the stage when an Inspector General of Police is removed include the Government Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 1973 and judgments of the Supreme Court. It is to be noted that the Punjab Police (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 1975 will not apply to an Inspector General of Police as per Rule 1 (ii) of the latter which states the following:
“They shall come into force at once and shall apply to all police officers below the rank of deputy superintendent of police.”
As the Inspector General of Police ranks above a Superintendent and is appointed on the recommendations of the National Public Safety Commission as illustrated in Article 11, Clause 2 of the Police Order 2002, the remedies available to the IGP will be governed separately.
Additionally, the Supreme Court has also stated in Pakistan International Airlines Corporation v Nasir Jamal Malik [2001 SCMR 934 Pg. 942 (D)- 944 (F)] that,
“No one is to be condemned unheard – where adverse action is being contemplated to be taken against the person, he would have, at least, right to defend such actions.”
Rule 5 of the Government Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 1973 provides an initial legal framework to the government and the sacked officer. Rule 5 has been broken down into several steps to explain the procedure in a simpler manner:
Step 1: Once an officer (IGP for the purposes of this article) is removed from service, the competent authority which removed the officer is then obligated to grant leave to that officer or suspended him or her. In either case, the officer is required to report to the competent authority every three months.
Step 2: After the officer is removed, the competent authority will look into the particular reasons for the officer’s removal and decide accordingly whether an inquiry should be conducted through an Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee.
The competent authority can decide, in light of the facts of the case, that it is not necessary to have an inquiry conducted through an Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee.
In case the competent authority decides to hold an inquiry through an Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee, Rule 6 of the Government Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 1973 shall apply. However, if the authority decides not to involve any Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee then Rule 5 (iii) (a) of the 1973 Rules shall apply.
The procedure is simplified as under:
|Inquiry through an Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee |
Rule 6 of Government Servants (E&D) Rules 1973
Inquiry without an Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee
Rule 5 (iii) (a) of Government Servants (E&D) Rules 1973
|Step 1: A definite charge is to be framed against the officer which shall list down the reasons, with explanation, and then presented to the officer (removed IGP). |
Step 2: Once the charge has been framed and presented to the removed IGP, he or she must then submit his or her defense to the competent authority in not less than seven days and no longer than fourteen days.
The officer should provide a response in writing if he or she wishes to be heard in person.
Step 3: All documents/evidence/oral evidence, for and against the removed IGP, is submitted before the Inquiry Committee/Inquiry Officer.
The removed IGP can cross-examine the witnesses against him or her, if need be.
Step 4: The case shall be heard on a daily basis as adjournments are not recommended, but in case there is an adjournment, reasons must be provided in writing to the competent authority.
In case it is noticed that the removed officer is not cooperating with the Inquiry Officer or Committee, the Inquiry Officer or Committee can issue a warning to the officer and if he or she still does not cooperate, or does something which can subvert the working of the Inquiry Officer or Committee, then the Committee or the Officer has the power to proceed to complete the inquiry in a manner best suited to provide substantive justice.
Step 5: The Inquiry Officer or Committee shall present a ‘fact-finding report’ to the competent authority within ten days.
Step 1: A written charge-sheet is to be presented to the officer (removed IGP) mentioning the procedural legal action which is to be taken against him or her.
Reasonable time is to be provided to the removed officer in order to prepare and produce a defense.
Step 2: After receiving an explanation from the removed officer, the competent authority shall propose which penalty (minor or major) is to be imposed against the officer (Rule 4, 1973 Rules).
If the competent authority proposes a major penalty, the case shall be forwarded to the authority mentioning the:
Step 3: The authority shall then pass an order as deemed appropriate.
Once the inquiry is complete and a charge has been ascertained against the officer, he or she is then legally dismissed from service. However, even at this stage, the removed officer can engage the legal corridors if he or she considers that the inquiry conducted or the procedure by which he or she has been removed has not been carried out as per the law.
Rule 10 provides the officer the remedy of appeal and states the following:
“A person on whom a penalty is imposed shall have such right of appeal as may be prescribed under Civil Servants (Appeal) Rules, 1977.”
However, Rule 10- A adds the following restriction:
“No party to any proceedings under these rules before the authority, the authorized officer, and Inquiry Officer or an Inquiry Committee shall be represented by an advocate.”
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.