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Rajendran Pillai v/s State Police Complaints Authority, Represented by Its Secretary, Thiruvananthapuram & Others

    W.A. No. 1726 of 2019

    Decided On, 16 August 2019

    At, High Court of Kerala


    For the Appellant: Dr. K.P. Satheesan, Sr. Advocate, P. Mohandas (Ernakulam), S. Vibheeshanan, K. Sudhinkumar, Advocates. For the Respondents: Aravindakumar Babu, Govt. Pleader (Sr.).

Judgment Text

1. Heard Dr.K.P.Satheesan, the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the appellant/writ petitioner. Also heard Sri.Aravindakumar Babu, the learned Senior Government Pleader representing the respondents 1 and 2.

2. This Appeal is filed by the writ petitioner to challenge the judgment dated 6.6.2019 whereby, the challenge to jurisdiction of the State Police Complaints Authority in proceeding against the writ petitioner was rejected with the observation that the State Police Complaints Authority acted within jurisdiction under Section 110(1)(ii) of the Kerala Police Act, 2011 in entertaining the complaint of Sri.P.B.Maheswaran (respondent No.3).

3. The writ petitioner had questioned the jurisdiction of the State Police Complaints Authority with the projection that he is an officer below the rank of Superintendent of Police and since the State Authority is vested with powers to entertain/adjudicate complaints against higher ranked officers of and above the rank of Superinten

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dent of Police, the cognizance of the complaint against him was beyond the jurisdiction of the State Police Complaints Authority.

4. The complaint by the third respondent, in substance, was that the writ petitioner had falsely implicated him in the Crime No.382 of 2014 of the Edathala Police Station, registered under Section 17(3) of the Kerala Money Lenders Act , Section 3 of the Kerala Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act and also other provisions of the IPC. The accused then moved the High Court for quashing of the FIR and in the Crl.M.C.6391/2014, the High Court under the judgment dated 12.1.2015 quashed the FIR and all further proceedings in the Crime No.382/2014. Following the above exoneration of the accused, the 3rd respondent moved the State Police Complaints Authority for appropriate relief, under the Kerala Police Act, 2011.

5. While noting those facts in its order dated 17.6.2015 (Ext.P1), the State Police Complaints Authority observed that the High Court had quashed the FIR with the finding that, there was no material to show the involvement of the accused in unauthorised money lending activity and therefore, it was treated to be a clear case of abuse of the legal process. The State Police Complaints Authority accordingly found enough justification to hold that the errant police officer must face Departmental action. The complaint of the third respondent was then forwarded to the Superintendent of Police, Alappuzha, for appropriate action.

6. When the above action was challenged in the W.P.(C)29730 of 2016, the learned Judge adverted to the provisions of the Section 110 (1) (ii) of the Kerala Police Act, 2011 and noted that under Sub Section (ii), grave complaints against officers of other ranks can also be entertained, by the State Police Complaints Authority. The court then observed that inflicting of grievous hurt on any person should not be confined to bodily injuries alone but could also include mental injuries. Thus, the jurisdiction exercised by the State Police Complaints Authority was found to be in order and on that basis, the Writ Petition was dismissed with the observation that the petitioner can participate in the consequential enquiry proceedings.

7. Assailing the legality of the impugned judgment dated 6.6.2019, the learned Senior Counsel would reiterate that the appellant is a police officer below the rank of Superintendent of Police and therefore, complaint against such officers should be considered by the District Police Complaints Authority, constituted under Section 110(3) of the Police Act. He submits that when statute itself provides for exercise of jurisdiction by two different authorities in respect of officers above and below a particular rank, the exercise of jurisdiction over a lower level officer, by the State Level Authority will amount to usurpation of jurisdiction, of the District Police Authority.

8. In support of the said contention, the learned Senior Counsel Dr.K.P.Satheesan places reliance on the following judgments:

i. The Purtabpur Company Ltd. v. Cane Commissioner or Bihar and Others (AIR 1970 SC 1896)

ii. Bangalore Medical Trust v. B.S.Muddappa and Others (AIR 1991 SC 1902)

iii. Rakesh Ranjan Verma and Others v. State of Bihar and Others (AIR 1992 SC 1348)

9. In the above context, it can be seen that the Supreme Court had the occasion to refer to the cited decisions in Bangalore Medical Trust (supra), Rakesh Ranjan Verma (supra), The Purtabpur Company Ltd. (supra), in the Ghaziabad Development Authority v. Ugrasen (Dead) by Lrs. and Others (2010) 11 SCC 557 and after due discussion, the court culled out the ratio as under:-

“ .................. .................. ..................

23. Therefore, the law on the question can be summarised to the effect that no higher authority in the hierarchy or an appellate or revisional authority can exercise the power of the statutory authority nor can the superior authority mortgage its wisdom and direct the statutory authority to act in a particular manner. If the appellate or revisional authority takes upon itself the task of the statutory authority and passes an order, it remains unenforceable for the reason that it cannot be termed to be an order passed under the Act.

.................. .................. .................. ”

10. Next, the appellant's lawyer relies on Sakiri Vasu's v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Others; (2008) 2 SCC 409 and Anirudhsinhji Karansinhji Jadeja and Another v. State of Gujarat (1995) 5 SCC 302) to bolster his arguments.

11. All the above cases relate to intervention by the higher authority with the statutory power conferred on another authority. There can be no difficulty in accepting the views expressed by the Supreme Court in the decisions cited above, in as much as they reiterate the settled position in law that where a statute confers power to do something on a particular authority, the said authority cannot surrender the power to any other authority or act under the dictates of such other authority, who does not have any statutory role to play.

12. In the instant case, however, we are concerned with the issue of legality of the power exercised by a State Police Complaints Authority, under Section 110 of the Police Act in circumstances where, the provisions of the Act indicate that proceedings against the petitioner, who is a police officer below the rank of Superintendent of Police, have to be taken by the District Police Complaints Authority. While, we might have been persuaded to accept the contention regarding lack of jurisdiction in the State Authority in a case where the statute recognizes the State Police Complaints Authority as the appellate/revisional authority, the Kerala Police Act under consideration here, does not envisage the State authority to be a hierarchically superior authority, to the District Authority, to exercise appellate/revisional power. Under such circumstances, the petitioner would not in our view be prejudiced in any manner, through the consideration of the complaint against him by the State Authority since in that process, he would not be deprived of any statutory remedy of appeal/revision.

13. The distribution of powers between the State and the District Level Authorities, under the Police Act is only for administrative purpose. No doubt, the District Level Authority cannot adjudicate matters relating to officers above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. But the contrary situation is not prescribed by the statute. In fact, the statute indicates that the State Authority does have the power in the circumstances prescribed under Section 110 (1) (ii), to proceed against police officers irrespective of their rank, in its discretion.

14. The view taken by the Supreme Court in Sakiri Vasu's v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Others (2008) 2 SCC 409 would be relevant here. In that case, while interpreting the provisions of Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Supreme Court observed that when a power is given to an authority to do something, it includes such incidental or implied powers which would ensure the proper doing of that thing. In other words, when any power is expressly granted by the statute, there is impliedly included in the grant, even without special mention, every power and every control the denial of which, would render the grant itself ineffective. Thus, where an Act confers jurisdiction it impliedly also grants the power of doing all such acts or employ such means as are essentially necessary to its execution.

15. In the instant case, in the absence of any express restriction on the exercise of powers under Section 110, and the clear power conferred on the State Police Complaints Authority to proceed against Police Officers of all ranks, under Sub Section (ii), the contrary contention of the learned Senior Counsel as regards lack of jurisdiction in the State Police Complaints Authority, cannot be accepted.

16. We also note from the impugned judgment that the learned Single Judge, while rejecting the contention with regard to jurisdiction also found that the mental harassment caused to the complainant, could be treated as a form of grievous hurt, so as to attract the jurisdiction of the State Police Complaints Authority, in terms of Section 110 (1) (ii) of the Police Act, 2011. This is therefore another dimension to be considered, while dealing with the issue of jurisdiction of the State Police Complaints Authority, to deal with the complaint against the writ petitioner.

17. Thus, in any view of the matter, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment of the learned Single Judge. For the reasons stated in the said judgment, as supplemented by the reasons given in this judgment, we are of the view that the Appeal is devoid of merit and the same is accordingly dismissed

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