MP HC | Appointment to the post of District Judge (Entry-Level) cancelled; criminal charges pending

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The 2-Judge Bench comprising of S.K. Seth, CJ and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J. gave an order in pursuance of a challenge made to an order passed wherein the selection of petitioners for appointment on the post of District Judge (Entry Level) has been cancelled.

In the present case, the petitioners were selected for the appointment on the post of District Judge (Entry Level) pursuant to the process of selection conducted by the High Court for M.P. Higher Judicial Service (Entry Level) Direct Recruitment from Bar, Examination 2017 was cancelled.

According to the contentions placed, it has been stated that the petitioner was included in the final select list under the “unreserved category” candidates. However, by the impugned order the name of the petitioner was deleted. Further, on the basis of the information received under RTI Act, it was revealed that the selection cancelled was due to the pendency of a criminal case under Section 3(2)(v) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Mr K.C. Ghildiyal, Advocate for the petitioners submitted that after the decision by the committee, charge in the pending criminal case had been quashed by the High Court in Deep Narayan Tiwari v. State of M.P., Criminal Appeal No. 5351 of 2018 , in which it was stated that “ he has been discharged from the offence under Sections 506 and 385 of the Penal Code, 1860 and under Sections 3(1)(r) read with 3(2)(v)(a) of Atrocities Act, 1989.”

Further the point to be noted in the present case in regard to the pendency of the criminal cases is that, the meeting of the committee in which the petitioner was discharged of the charges was held on 18-07-2018, whereas the order of the High Court in Deep Narayan Tiwari v. State of M.P., Criminal Appeal No. 5351 of 2018, was passed on 10-08-2018, which clarifies the point that on the date of appointment of the petitioners, the criminal cases were still pending against them.

“Mere selection would not confer any right as appointment is always subject to character verification of a selected candidate”.

Reliance was placed on by the High Court on State of M.P. v. Abhijit Singh Pawar, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 2555, in which Supreme Court held that: an employer can certainly take into account the job profile for which the selection is undertaken, the severity of the charges levelled against the candidate and whether the acquittal in question was an honourable acquittal or was merely on the ground of benefit of doubt or as a result of composition. Next in the case of Ashutosh Pawar v. High Court of M.P., 2018 (2) MPLJ 419, “a question was referred- whether acquittal in criminal cases is proof of good conduct.”

Thus taking into consideration the decisions as stated above on which the bench placed its reliance, held that there is no merit in the present writ petitions due to which they are to be dismissed. [Deep Narayan Tiwari v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 967, Order dated 11-12-2018]

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