[Rank] Investigation III

Section 18 of The Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 uses the expression, “not below the rank of the Superintendent of Police.”

Nine-Judge Bench in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India, (1993) 4 SCC 441 observed, “not only is the word ‘primacy’ inextricably linked up with the words ’rank’ and ‘precedence’ but conceptually they all are of the same family and breed, block and substance.”

Legislature has not used the expression ‘designation’ or ’post’ in Section 18 but, on the other hand, has used the expression ’rank’. The true question is whether ‘rank’ of the SP comprehends within it an Addl. SP. It is our view, the expression ‘rank’ must be understood as a class or category which encompasses multiple posts. SP, Addl. SP and DCP all fall within the same ‘rank’ as they exercise similar functions and powers and operate within similar spheres of authority.

Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, Zakir Abdul Mirajkar v. State of Maharashtra, [Criminal Appeal No. 1125 of 2022].