The Allahabad High Court has observed that the entire Police Establishment including the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) shall be deemed to be one Police Force. and that transfer can be made from PAC to Civil Police or vice versa.
With this, the bench of Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery upheld the order of the UP Govt transferring constables and head constables in Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary (UPPAC) to the civil police and dismissed dozens of petitions filed against the transfer.
The case in brief
Essentially, over 500 petitioners, serving as Constables or Head Constables in Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary and posted at various Districts of Uttar Pradesh in PAC had moved the Court challenging their transfer order from Civil Police in various Zone/ Commissionerate.
The issue which arose for consideration was, whether the Constables or Head Constables appointed under UPPAC can be transferred to Armed Police in various Zone/ Commissionerate.
The arguments put forth
The petitioners argued that the Police Act, 1861, and The Uttar Pradesh Pradeshik Armed Constabulary Act, 1948 are different acts. The Constables and Head Constables appointed in UPPAC have an independent cadre whereas Constables and Head Constables of the Armed Police have a different cadre.
Therefore, it was argued that they cannot be treated as one cadre as it would adversely affect petitioners' inter se seniority as well as their legible right of promotion. The source of recruitment is also different for Civil Police and PAC and are regulated by a different set of Rules.
It was the further case of the petitioners that the Armed Police, which is a part of the Civil Police, is regulated under Act, 1861 and their transfer are regulated in terms of Regulation 525 of U.P. Police Regulations.
On the other hand, the state government argued that the Police Act of 1861 is applicable to all police forces of the State including UPPAC, and according to Section 2 of Act, 1861 they are deemed to be one Police Force.
He further submitted that Section 3 of Act, 1861 provides for Superintendence of Police to vest in the State and shall be exercised by State Government.
The Additional Advocate General emphasized that U.P. Police Regulations are of statutory character having the force of law and as such are binding upon all police officers and the entire Police Establishment of State are being one Police Force by virtue of provisions contained under Sections 1, 2 and 12 of Act, 1861.
The attention of the Court was drawn to Regulation 396 of U.P. Police Regulations which states that the Provincial Police is also a part of the Police Force.
Further attention was drawn to Regulations 409 and 525 that a Constable of less than two years service may be transferred by Superintendent of Police from Armed to Civil Police or vice versa. Any Civil Police Constable of more than two and less than ten years of service may be transferred to the Armed Police and vice versa by the Superintendent of Police.
At the outset, the Court noted that the Police Force consists of Provincial Police, Civil, Armed and Mounted, Government Railway Police, and Village Chowkidars. Therefore, PAC is a part of one Police Force. The Court further noted that Regulation 525 of U.P. Police Regulations also provides transfer from Armed Police to PAC and vice versa.
The Court also stressed that Section 5 of UPPAC Act, 1948 declares Members of PAC to be deemed Police Officers, and accordingly, its Constables and Head Constables are definitely fall under the purview of a 'Police Officer', and as such, according to Regulation 525, they can be transferred to Civil Police and also returned back to PAC.
Further, the Court discarded the argument of the petitioners that inter se transfer would affect the seniority in Civil Police and PAC. Finding justification in the transfer as it for the bigger object, the Court remarked thus:
"...the impugned orders of transfer are towards the bigger object. The trained PAC personnel are required to work alongwith Civil Police for better administration and maintaining law and order and the decision of transfer was taken under larger public interest."
In view of the above, the Court came up with the following findings:
(I) Preamble and Section 2 of Police Act, 1861, which still hold the land of law, contemplates that the entire Police Establishment including the Provincial Armed Constabulary shall be deemed to be one Police Force.
(II) The Uttar Pradesh Pradeshik Armed Constabulary Act, 1948 is also enacted in furtherance of Police Act, 1861 and its Section 5 specifically provides Members of Provincial Armed Constabulary to be deemed Police Officers.
(III) The erstwhile Uttar Pradesh Pradeshik Armed Constabulary Subordinate Officers Service Rules, 2008 and Uttar Pradesh Pradeshik Armed Constabulary Subordinate Officers Service Rules, 2015, enacted under Section 15 of Uttar Pradesh Pradeshik Armed Constabulary Act, 1948, 21 do not and cannot make any rule, contrary to its parent Acts and, therefore, Rule 25 of UPPAC Rules, 2015, which contemplates transfer within PAC cannot be construed that it imposes a bar for transfer from PAC to Civil Police and vive versa as well as any contrary interpretation will be in the teeth of Section 5 of UPPAC Act, 1948.
(IV) U.P. Police Regulations, which are framed under Police Act, 1861, have statutory character having force of law and its regulations provide that Provincial Armed Police shall fall under the Police Force and Constables may be transferred from Armed to Civil Police or vice versa.
(V) The State Government has protected the avenues of petitioners even after their transfer to Civil Police. The interpretation of different Acts and Rules have to be purposive in nature and in furtherance of their objects and in absence of any specific repeal or any provision to overrule the provisions of the Police Act, 1861 and U.P. Police Regulations, the Constables and Head Constables in PAC, being deemed Police Officers and part of one Police Force, can be transferred from PAC to Civil Police and vice versa.
Case title - Sunil Kumar Chauhan And 186 Others v. State Of U.P. And 5 Others along with connected petitions
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 376