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DHARMJEET versus UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Dharmjeet v. Union Of India And Others - WRIT - A No. 71720 of 2005 [2007] RD-AH 7883 (27 April 2007)

 

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice of Joint Registrar(Copying).

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

Court No. 25

Reserved On 16.03.2007

Delivered On 27.04.2007

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 71720 of 2005

Dharmjeet

Vs.

Union of India and others

Hon'ble Sudhir Agarwal, J.

Aggrieved by the order dated 28.9.2005 passed by the Divisional Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force, Northern Railway, Moradabad (respondent no. 3) canceling the candidature of the petitioner for recruitment as Constable in Railway Protection Force (in short ''RPF') the petitioner has come up in this writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India with a further mandamus commanding the respondents to send him for training and appoint on the said post.

The facts in brief as stated in the writ petition are that Railway Protection Force, Northern Railway in 2004 notified recruitment for the post of Constable pursuant whereto the petitioner submitted his application on 1.11.2004. The form was submitted in duplicate and one copy thereof was returned to the petitioner by the commandant. He was allotted Roll No. 205171. He appeared in written examination held at Gorakhpur on 2.11.2004 followed by interview dated 3.11.2004 and by letter dated 1.7.2005 issued by the respondent no. 3 he was informed of his selection for the post of Constable in RPF in the pay scale of Rs. 3050-4950 subject to the condition of character verification and medical examination etc. The petitioner was declared successful in medical examination and was awaiting order of training but he received impugned order dated 28.9.2005 passed by respondent no. 3 canceling his candidature on the ground that at the time of submitting application form the petitioner concealed the fact that he was involved in a criminal case No. 248-A of 1996 under Section 323, 304, 324 IPC on account whereof he was disqualified for appointment. Aggrieved by the said order the petitioner made representations dated 7.10.2005, 14.10.2005 and 21.10.2005 but of no avail, therefore has filed this writ petition.  

The respondent no. 3 in its counter affidavit has said that in para 13 of the Form, the petitioner was to disclose certain information regarding his previous antecedents which he disclosed in negative concealing the fact that he was prosecuted under Section 323, 504, 506 IPC, which was registered as Case No. 248-A of 1998. Rule 52.1 of Railway Protection Rules, 1987 provides for verification of character and antecedents of a selected candidate and under rule 52.2 if a candidate is found unsuitable, he is not liable to be appointed. After the selection of the petitioner when his character and antecedents were sought to be verified it was reported by the Police Station Mahuli, District Sant Kabir Nagar that he was involved in a criminal case in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Basti (hereinafter referred to as the "A.C.J.M., Basti") though he was acquitted therein. Consequently when the said information was processed and it was found that in the application form he has not disclosed this fact and made a wrong verification, the Chief Security Commissioner, RPF issued a letter dated 24.9.2005 addressed to the respondent no. 3 directing that the petitioner having concealed the aforesaid information cannot be enlisted as constable in RPF and consequently, the respondent no. 3 passed the order dated 28.9.21005 which is absolutely correct and in accordance with law.

Learned counsel for the petitioner vehemently contended that the petitioner was already acquitted in the aforesaid criminal case even before the date of advertisement and submission of application form inasmuch as vide judgment dated 24.2.2004 he was acquitted in the aforesaid criminal case by the Court of A.C.J.M., Basti therefore he had rightly made declaration in para 13 of the application form in negative and on that basis the candidature cannot be cancelled. He also placed reliance in support of his submission to Secretary Department of Home Secretary, A.P. and others Vs.  B. Chinnam Naidu, 2005 (2) SCC 746.

Learned counsel for the respondents however, supported the stand taken in the counter affidavit and justified the order submitting that no interference is warranted in the writ petition.

I have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.

The entire controversy centered around the fact whether the petitioner can be said to be guilty of concealing material information or furnishing wrong information disentitling him appointment to the post in question. This issue can be replied in the light of the information required to be furnished by the petitioner. Therefore, it would be prudent to consider the relevant clause 13 of the Application Form which is said to have been wrongly verified by the petitioner. Clause 13 reads as under:-

^^13¼d½ D;k vki dHkh fxjQ~rkj gq, Fks] pkyku gqvk Fkk] fu:) ¼fMVsu½ fn;s x;s Fks ;k fdlh dkuwuh vnkyr }kjk fdlh tqeZ gjdr ds fy;s fdlh fo'ofo|ky; ;k fdlh 'kSf{kd izkf/kdkjh laLFkk dks ijh{kk ;k flysD'ku esa cSBus ls fooftZr v;ksX; djkj fn;s x;s ;k fu/kkZfjr ijh{kk nsus ds fy, fooftZr fd;s x;s gSaA

¼[k½ D;k vki rlnhd QkeZ Hkjus ds le; vkids fo:) fdlh dkuwuh vnkyr fo'ofo|ky; ;k fdlh vU; 'kSf{kd izkf/kdkjh laLFkk esa dksbZ dsl py jgk gSA

¼x½ ;fn ¼d½ ;k ¼[k½ mRrj gkWa esa gS rks ml dsl] fxjQ~rkjh] fu:)rk ¼fMVsu½ tqekZuk] ltk] 'kufoD'ku] n.Mkns'k ¼lsuVsl½ vkfn dk iwjk fooj.k ;k blds Hkjus ds le; fdlh vnkyr] fo'ofo|ky;] 'kSf{kd izkf/kdkjh vkfn esa py jgs dslksa dk izo`fr djuk pkfg,A**

Para 13 (a) requires the candidate to inform as to whether he was ever arrested, challaned, detained or disqualified or prevented in appearing for examination by any Court of law or by any University for any offence or activity. Para 13 (b) states whether any criminal case or otherwise is pending at the time of verification of the Form in any Court of law, University or before academic authority. Para 13(c) provides, if reply to para 13(a) and 13(b) is positive, give details of the case, arrest, detention, fine, conviction, sentence etc.

The language of para 13(a) is very wide and if a person was ever arrested or prosecuted or challaned, he was required to give information in positive and the details under para 13(c). Pendency of the case was relevant only for the purpose of para 13(b) but para 13(a) and (c) if read together, make it clear that if a person has been prosecuted or arrested, he had to give information in positive. The judgment of the A.C.J.M., Basti passed in Case No. 295(1) of 1999 shows that the accused which included the petitioner were on bail meaning thereby, the petitioner was arrested also and was granted bail. Further the judgment also shows that a criminal case proceeded against him and therefore in para 13(a) of the Application Form, I have not doubt in my mind, that he was required to reply the same in positive and in para 13(c) he had to furnish information about the aforesaid criminal case which he failed. Thus apparently the petitioner is guilty of concealment of material fact and furnishing false information making wrong verification of the Application Form. Para 1 of the Application Form at the very beginning makes a clear declaration that any wrong information or concealment of information shall disqualify a candidate for appointment pursuant to the aforesaid selection. Therefore, it is evident that the petitioner furnished a wrong information, concealing information about his antecedents, and in view of para 1 of the Application Form, the authorities were well within their right to cancel his candidature.

Learned counsel for the petitioner at this stage contended that since due to the enmity in the village he was falsely prosecuted and having already exonerated in the criminal case, it would be very harsh on the part of the respondents to spoil his entire career only on the ground that the said criminal case at some point of time was initiated against him and therefore, the impugned order is liable to be set aside, since it is not just and equitable to deny appointment to the petitioner after his selection for the post in question only on the ground that at one point of time a false prosecution was launched against him. Having given my anxious thoughts to the aforesaid submission I find it difficult to accept for more than one reasons. Firstly, the petitioner is not being disqualified for appointment only on the ground that at one point of time a criminal prosecution was launched against him but the petitioner is guilty of non disclosure of the said fact in his Application Form and for that conduct his candidature has been cancelled. Nothing prevented the petitioner from disclosing correct facts as required in para 13 (a) & (c) of the Application Form and if thereafter he would have been selected, he could have been appointed. His candidature has not been cancelled on the ground that at some point of time he was involved in a criminal case but the ground is wrong verification and concealment of information about the said case in the Application Form though he was required to disclose the same with clear warning that a wrong information would render him disqualified for selection. In a service like RPF which is a uniform cadre i.e. a disciplined force, the character and antecedent of a person for judging his suitability to the post is a matter of utmost importance. A person may not be guilty of anything for his involvement in some matter provided he correctly discloses to the authority concerned about all the facts but if he possess the trait of concealment and non disclosure this trait or conduct may make him unsuitable and disentitle for appointment for the reason that in a disciplined force where character and honesty is of prime importance, a person having the conduct of concealment and non disclosure or wrong disclosure may go to any extent and may prove to be dangerous at some point of time for one or the other reasons. Therefore, if a person has shown a conduct of giving a wrong information or making a wrong verification despite of clear warning this conduct disentitle him selection to the disciplined force.

In the case of Delhi Administration through its Chief Secretary and others Vs. Sushil Kumar, 1996 (11) SCC 605, the Apex Court observed:

"It is seen that verification of the character and antecedents is one of the important criteria to test whether the selected candidate is suitable to a post under the State. Though he was found physically fit, passed the written test and interview and was provisionally selected, on account of his antecedent record, the appointing authority found it not desirable to appoint a person of such record as a Constable to the disciplined force. The view taken by the appointing authority in the background of the case cannot be said to be unwarranted.".

The effect of wrong declaration earlier came up for consideration before a Full Bench of Rajasthan High Court in the case of Dharam Pal Singh Vs.  State of Rajasthan, 2001(4) ESC 1837 and it answered the said question as under:-

1. That a candidate was prosecuted or subjected to investigation on a  criminal charge is a material fact, suppression of which would entitle an employer to deny employment to a candidate on that ground.

2. That ultimate acquittal of a candidate, who was prosecuted on a criminal charge, would not condone or wash out the consequences of suppression of the fact that he was prosecuted.

3. That suppression of material fact would by itself disentitle a candidate from being appointed in service.

Very recently in the case of Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission Vs. Koneti Venkateswarulu  and others, 2005 (7) SCC 177, following the judgment of the Apex Court in Kendriya Vidyala Sangthan Vs. Ram Ratan Yadav, 2003(3) S.C.C. 437, it was held:

"at no point of time did the first respondent inform the appellant Commission that there was a bona fide mistake by him in filling up the application form, or that there was inadvertence on his part in doing so. It is only when the appellant Commission discovered by itself that there was suppressio veri and suggestio falsi on the part of the first respondent in the application that the respondent came forward with an excuse that it was due to inadvertence. That there has been suppressio veri and suggestio falsi incontrovertible. The explanation that it was irrelevant or emanated from inadvertence, is unacceptable. In our view, the appellant was justified in relying upon the ration of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (supra) and contending that a person who indulges in such suppressio veri and suggestio falsi and obtains employment by false pretence does not deserve any public employment. We completely endorse this view."

The Apex Court in Ram Ratan  Yadav (supra) considered almost similar case where Ram Ratan Yadav was selected for the post of Physical Education teacher and was issued appointment order on 16.12.1997. He was required to file attestation form and in column 12(1) of the said form, information was required whether any criminal case was pending against him, which he replied by mentioning ''No'. Subsequently, it was disclosed that a criminal case was actually pending against him under Sections 323, 341, 294, 506-B read with Section 34 I.P.C. and on the ground of suppression of factual information, his services were terminated vide order dated 7th April/8th April, 1999.  In the said case also, subsequently the said criminal case was withdrawn by the Government and in these circumstances, his writ petition was allowed by the High Court. Reversing the judgment of the High Court, the Apex Court held as hereunder :

"The object of requiring information in columns 12 and 13 of the attestation form and certification thereafter by the candidate was to ascertain and verify the character and antecedents to judge his suitability to continue in service. A candidate having suppressed material information and/or giving false information cannot claim right to continue in service. The employer having regard to the nature of the employment and all other aspects had the discretion to terminate his services, which is made expressly clear in para 9 of the offer of appointment. The purpose of seeking information as per columns 12 and 13 was not to find out either the nature or gravity of the offence or the result of a criminal case ultimately. The information in the said columns  was  sought with a view to judge the character and antecedents of the respondent to continue in service or not. The High Court, in our view, has failed to see this aspect of the matter. It went wrong in saying that the criminal case had been subsequently withdrawn and that the offences, in which the respondent was alleged to have been involved, were also not of serious nature. In the present case the respondent was to serve as a Physical Education Teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya. The character, conduct and antecedents of a teacher will have some impact on the minds of the students of impressionable age. The appellants having considered all the aspects passed the order of dismissal of the respondent from service. The Tribunal after due consideration rightly recorded a finding of fact in upholding the order of dismissal passed by the appellants. The High Court was clearly in error in upsetting the order of the Tribunal. The High Court was again not right in taking note of the withdrawal of the case by the State Government and that the case was not of a serious nature to set aside the order of the Tribunal on that ground as well."

The judgment in B. Chinnam Naidu (Supra) relied by the learned counsel for the petitioner in my view does not help him and the facts and the issue involved therein were totally different. In the said case column 12 of the attestation form was in the following words:

"Column 12.- Have you ever been convicted by a court of law or detained under any State/Central preventive detention laws for any offence whether such conviction sustained in court of appeal or set aside by the appellate court if appealed against."

The aforesaid column clearly shows that the candidate was required to indicate as to whether he was ever convicted by the court of law or detained under any State or Central Preventive Law for any offence whether such conviction  sustained in court of appeal or set aside by the appellate court if  appealed against. Candidate was not required to indicate as to whether he has been arrested in any case or as to whether any case was pending. The Apex court in the light of the language of column 12 of the attestation form as involved in Naidu's case, thus noted that the candidate since was not required to indicate his arrest or pendency of criminal case, hence Naidu by giving information in negative did not conceal or suppress any material fact since neither he was arrested nor any criminal case was pending against him. The observation of the Apex Court distinguishing the said case is evident from the following:

"There was no specific requirement to mention as to whether any case is pending or whether the applicant had been arrested. In view of the specific language so far as column 12 is concerned the respondent cannot be found guilty of any suppression." (Para-9)

This Court has already observed in this case that he admittedly gave a wrong information and therefore is guilty of suppression of material fact i.e. suppressio veri and suggestio falsi which, in view of the declaration made in the Application Form rendered him liable for disqualification. I also find that a similar issue earlier came up for consideration before a Division Bench of this Court in Special Appeal No. 335 of 2005, Ashok Kumar Vs. D.I.G., C.R.P.F. and others decided on 16.12.2005 wherein it was held if a person, found guilty of making wrong declaration or concealment of material information, would rendered himself disqualify for appointment.

Learned counsel for the respondents also relied on the judgment in Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 19726 of 2006 (Digvijay Singh Vs. Union of India and others) decided on 25.4.2006  wherein also rejection of candidature was upheld and the said judgment fortify the view which this Court has taken.

In this view of the matter it cannot be said that the candidature of the petitioner has wrongly been cancelled and therefore, the order impugned in the writ petition warrant no interference. The writ petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed.

Dt/-27.04.2007

Avy


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Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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