Delhi High Court: In a case wherein the service of a wife-petitioner appointed on compassionate ground, was terminated due to the submission of a forged educational qualification certificate, a Single judge Bench of Mini Pushkarna, J.* opined that the fact remained that the petitioner submitted a forged document in support of her educational qualification at the time of seeking compassionate appointment and therefore, the petitioner was guilty of suppression of material facts and documents. The Court further opined that if a person submitted forged and fabricated documents, then such a person was certainly unfit to be employed and when the charge against the petitioner stands proved, the punishment of dismissal from service imposed by the respondent could not be faulted with.
The petitioner was given compassionate appointment in Bihar Bhawan after the death of her husband, who was working as a driver with the Bihar Bhawan. During her service, show Cause Notice was issued to the petitioner on the allegation that she was always creating nuisance loudly under the influence of alcohol day and night, thereby causing inconvenience as well as disturbance to the neighbour families and guests residing in Bihar Bhawan. In the said show cause notice, it was further alleged that the petitioner had threatened the staff car driver in the office room of the Assistant Manager. Thereafter, the petitioner was suspended for misconduct and indiscipline for the offence of misbehaviour under the influence of liquor, assault, and abuse to residential employees in staff quarter and for threatening the staff car driver.
During the suspension period, preliminary inquiry was conducted by the respondent, and it was found that the certificate submitted by the petitioner in support of her qualification as Class 8th pass issued by the headmaster was a forged document. The date of passing 8th class by the petitioner was shown as 10-2-1988, whereas the study of 8th class was started in that school only in 2007. Subsequently, departmental proceedings were initiated against the petitioner on the allegations of submission of forged educational qualification certificate. Thereafter, an inquiry was conducted, wherein the charges against the petitioner were proved. The petitioner was dismissed from service and thus, the present writ petition had been filed challenging the termination order.
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court observed that the petitioner had put up a false case before this Court that she did not participate in the departmental proceedings or that she was unaware of any departmental proceedings, till she received the termination letter. The Court further observed that the documents on record clearly showed that the petitioner was fully aware of the departmental proceedings against her and that she fully participated in the same.
The Court opined that the submission on behalf of the petitioner that passing Class 8th was not a pre-requisite for compassionate appointment in Group-IV job at the material time, did not hold any water. The Court relied on Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. v. Rajendra D Harmalkar, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 486, wherein the Supreme Court held that “whether such a certificate was material or not and/or had any bearing on the employment or not was immaterial. The question was not of having an intention or mens rea. The question was producing the fake/forged certificate”. Thus, the Court opined that the fact remained that the petitioner submitted a forged document in support of her educational qualification at the time of seeking compassionate appointment and therefore, the petitioner was guilty of suppression of material facts and documents.
The Court further opined that “employees who were guilty of submitting forged documents to their employer, had to be dealt with in a strict manner and if a person submitted forged and fabricated documents, then such a person was certainly unfit to be employed. No sympathy or compassion could be shown to such an employee. Thus, when the charge against the petitioner stands proved, the punishment of dismissal from service imposed by the respondent could not be faulted with”.
The Court further relied on Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Ltd. v. Anil Kanwariya, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 739, wherein the Supreme Court held:
“In State of A.P. v. B. Chinnam Naidu, (2005) 2 SCC 746, this Court observed that when a candidate suppressed material information and/or gave false information, he could not claim any right appointment or continuance in service. It was further observed and held by this Court in Devendra Kumar v. State of Uttaranchal, (2013) 9 SCC 363, that dishonesty should not be permitted to bear the fruit and benefit those persons who have defrauded or misrepresented themselves and, in such circumstances, the Court should not perpetuate the fraud by entertaining petitions on their behalf.”
The Court dismissed the present petition.
[Kiran Thakur v. Resident Commissioner Bihar Bhavan, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 2912, decided on 18-5-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Petitioner: Anupama Sharma, Advocate;
For the Respondent: Abhinav Singh, Manish Kumar, Shaswati Parhi, Advocates.
*Judgment authored by: Justice Mini Pushkarna