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whether such negligence of the appellant was sufficient for the disciplinary authority to dismiss him from service. There was no charge against the appellant that he had in any way aided or abetted the offence under Section 392 IPC or that he knew that his son had stolen the car and yet he did not inform the police. The appellant, as we have held, was guilty of negligence of not having enquired from his son about the car kept in front of the government quarters occupied by him. The appellant had served the government as a Constable and thereafter as a Head Constable from 07.08.1971 till he was dismissed from service on 28.02.2005, i.e. for 34 years, and for such long service he had earned pension. In our considered opinion, the punishment of dismissal of the appellant from service so as to deprive him of his pension for the service that he had rendered for long 34 years was shockingly disproportionate to the negligence proved against him.

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 Reportable

 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL No. 7548 OF 2011 

 (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 19150 of 2008)

Surendra Prasad Shukla ... Appellant

 Versus

The State of Jharkhand & Ors. ... Respondents

 O R D E R

A. K. PATNAIK, J.

 Leave granted. 

2. This is an appeal by way of special leave under 

Article 136 of the Constitution against the order dated 

09.06.2008 of the Division Bench of the Jharkhand 

High Court in L.P.A. No. 176 of 2008 (for short `the 

impugned order').

3. The facts very briefly are that the appellant was 

recruited as a Constable in the Bihar State Police on 

07.08.1971 and he was later on promoted to the post 

of Head Constable (Hawaldar). On 04.07.2004, a 

complaint was lodged in the Muzaffarpur Sadar Police 

 2

Station that three unknown persons had snatched a 

car, which was registered as Muzaffarpur Sadar P.S. 

Case No. 139 of 2004 under Section 392 of the Indian 

Penal Code (for short `the I.P.C.'). The police recovered 

the stolen car on 13.07.2004 from the government 

quarters occupied by the appellant and arrested the son 

of the appellant, Raju Shukla @ Rajiv Shukla alongwith 

two others who were involved in the theft of the car. 

The appellant was suspended and a memo of charges 

was served on him on 20.07.2004 charging him with the 

misconduct of negligence, indiscipline, conduct 

unbecoming of a police personnel. It was also alleged 

that he had harboured the accused Raju Shukla. He 

was asked to submit his explanation. The appellant 

submitted his reply on 26.07.2004 to the 

Superintendent of Police, Purvi Singhbhoom, 

Jamshedpur (for short the `disciplinary authority') 

stating inter alia that in the evening of 12.07.2004 he 

had been to Tulailadugri T.O.P. for duty and he was 

patrolling in that area the whole night and that when he 

returned to his government quarters in the morning 

 3

around 6:15 a.m. on 13.07.2004, he saw the police of 

Muzaffarpur Sadar Police Station at his government 

quarters, who had arrested his son alongwith two 

others, and had seized the stolen Matiz car. He also 

stated in his reply that he did not get any time to 

question his son and that he had no idea that his son 

was involved in the crime. The enquiry officer then 

carried out the enquiry and submitted his report 

holding the appellant guilty of the charges and the 

disciplinary authority after considering enquiry report 

took the view that in the circumstances it was not 

reasonable that the appellant should serve the police 

force and passed an order of dismissal against him. The 

appellant carried an appeal to the Deputy Inspector 

General, Singhbhoom, but the appeal was dismissed. 

Thereafter, the appellant filed a revision before the 

Inspector General of Police, but the same was also 

rejected. 

4. The appellant then filed Writ Petition (s) No. 6728 

of 2006 under Article 226 of the Constitution in the 

Jharkhand High Court challenging his dismissal from 

 4

service. The learned Single Judge of the High Court 

dismissed the Writ Petition by order dated 30.04.2008. 

Aggrieved, the appellant filed L.P.A. No. 176 of 2008 and 

the Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the 

L.P.A. by the impugned order. When the Special Leave 

Petition was heard on 17.10.2008, this Court issued 

notice to the respondent to show-cause why the 

punishment of dismissal should not be altered to 

compulsory retirement. In response to the notice, 

respondent no.4 has appeared and filed his counter 

affidavit and has contended that the appellant is guilty 

of keeping the robbed Matiz car and giving shelter to the 

accused persons in his house and has not informed the 

matter to the higher authorities and that the conduct of 

the appellant has tarnished the image of the police force 

and that the punishment of dismissal should not be 

altered to compulsory retirement. 

5. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties 

and we find that the misconduct alleged against the 

appellant was that he had harboured the accused Raju 

Shukla in the government quarters occupied by him 

 5

and the stolen car was recovered from the yard in front 

of the government quarters. The enquiry officer has 

recorded a finding that the appellant was guilty of the 

misconduct. The disciplinary authority accepted the 

finding of the enquiry officer and was of the view that 

the appellant should not any longer serve the police 

force and dismissed him from service and the appellate 

authority and the revisional authority have agreed with 

the disciplinary authority. As the appellant was 

working as a Head Constable, it was his duty to enquire 

from his son about the car kept in front of the 

government quarters occupied by him, and by not 

performing this duty he was guilty of negligence. The 

fact that the son of the appellant, who was an accused 

in an offence under Section 392 IPC, and his 

accomplices were found in the government quarters 

under the occupation of the appellant and the fact that 

the stolen car was also recovered from the yard in front 

of his government quarters were sufficient to hold the 

appellant guilty of negligence which affected the image 

of the police force in the area and for such negligence 

 6

the authorities were right in taking the view that the 

appellant should not be retained in police service. 

6. The question which however arises for our decision 

is whether such negligence of the appellant was 

sufficient for the disciplinary authority to dismiss him 

from service. There was no charge against the appellant 

that he had in any way aided or abetted the offence 

under Section 392 IPC or that he knew that his son had 

stolen the car and yet he did not inform the police. The 

appellant, as we have held, was guilty of negligence of 

not having enquired from his son about the car kept in 

front of the government quarters occupied by him. The 

appellant had served the government as a Constable 

and thereafter as a Head Constable from 07.08.1971 till 

he was dismissed from service on 28.02.2005, i.e. for 34 

years, and for such long service he had earned pension. 

In our considered opinion, the punishment of dismissal 

of the appellant from service so as to deprive him of his 

pension for the service that he had rendered for long 34 

years was shockingly disproportionate to the negligence 

proved against him. 

 7

7. We accordingly, allow this appeal in part and 

modify the punishment of dismissal from service to 

compulsory retirement. The L.P.A. and the Writ Petition 

filed by the appellant before the High Court are allowed 

in part. There shall be no order as to costs. 

 ..........................J.

 (R.V. 

Raveendran)

 ..........................J.

 (A. K. Patnaik)

New Delhi,

September 01, 2011. 

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