Punjab and Haryana High Court: While allowing the instant petition, preferred by the petitioner against the impugned order dated 19-01-2017 wherein the petitioner was declared unfit for the post of Constable, Jaishree Thakur, J., held that denial of appointment is unjustified and directed the respondents to issue letter of appointment within a period of 8 weeks.
Online applications for recruitment of Constables in the District Police Cadre and Armed Police Cadre were invited by the Punjab Police on 31-05-2016. The petitioner applied for the same and was issued Roll Number for the Physical Measurement Test and Physical Screening Test which was supposed to be conducted on 16-09-2016. The petitioner cleared all the required tests, and his name came in the provisional merit list. Thereafter, the petitioner was sent for medical examination on 5-11-2016 where he was found fit and accordingly his certificate of fitness was issued. His police verification was sent on 6-11-2016 and petitioner was called for issuance of the appointment letter on 21-11-2016, but the appointment letter was not issued to him on the ground that police verification report has not been received.
On 19-01-2017, without any show cause notice to the petitioner, the respondents passed an order rejecting the candidature of the petitioner for the post of Constable, on the ground that there is a pending criminal case against the petitioner. Aggrieved against the impugned order, the petitioner filed the instant writ petition.
The counsel for the petitioner contended that the FIR was falsely registered against the father of the petitioner, in which he was later discharged. He submitted that no charge-sheet was filed and also, submitted that neither the name of the petitioner is in the said FIR, nor was the petitioner ever summoned, arrested, called for investigation or declared as a proclaimed offender.
The counsel for the further contended that it is a settled principle of law that mere registration of an FIR or criminal case cannot be a ground for cancellation of the candidature and the FIR or criminal case can only be the ground for cancellation of the candidature only when the candidate has been charge-sheeted or convicted and concealed his/her involvement in the criminal case whereas there is no concealment by the petitioner herein in respect of involvement in the criminal case.
Observation and Analysis:
The Court said that “the police force is a disciplined force and the employer is well within his right to reject the candidature of a candidate, where the Appointing Authority upon verification of character and antecedents of the candidate recommended for appointment comes to know that criminal proceedings against a candidate is in progress and the status of the case is reported to be either under investigation or challaned and charges framed. In case, candidate stands convicted, then too appointment shall be denied to him.”
However, the Court noticed that the reason for denying appointment in the instant case is because the petitioner’s name was mentioned in the FIR. The Court further said that it has not been established by the respondents that the petitioner was nominated as an accused or was arrested under the aforesaid FIR.
The Court noticed that the application form for the recruitment was submitted by the petitioner much before the FIR was registered, I.e., on 6-10-2016. Further it was noticed that the petitioner’s name was never in the FIR, he was never arrested or faced any charges, hence, it cannot be said that he had not disclosed the pendency of the FIR.
The Court set aside the impugned order dated 19-02-2016 held denial of appointment to the petitioner as unjustified.
The Court directed the State to issue an appointment letter to the petitioner, in the light of his merit position, within a period of 8 weeks.
The Court further said that the petitioner will be held entitled to all the consequential benefits in the nature of seniority, pay, leave etc. with effect from the date, when person lower in the merit to him had been so appointed to the post of Constable in the same very process of selection.
[Jagdeep Singh v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 3018, decided on 2-11-2022]
*Kriti Kumar, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.