Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Vibhu Bhakru, J., set aside an order whereby the petitioner’s passport was impounded and gave him liberty to travel abroad subject to compliance with the conditions imposed.

The petitioner was facing criminal charges under Section 120-B read with Section 420 IPC along with Section 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. A charge-sheet was filed by the CBI and cognizance was taken by the Special Judge, after which the petitioner applied for regular bail. The bail was granted and the petitioner was called upon to surrender his passport to the Court concerned. Complying with the same, the petitioner deposited his passport with the Special Judge. Subsequently, he filed an application to travel abroad which was allowed subject to conditions imposed. Meanwhile, the Regional Passport Officer, vide the impugned order, impounded his passport under Section 10(3)(e) of the Passports Act, 1967. The petitioner preferred an appeal under Section 11 against the said order, however, it was dismissed by Chief Passport Officer. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner filed the present petition.

After discussing its earlier decision in Manish Kumar Mittal v. Chief Passport Officer, 2013 SCC OnLine Del 3007, the High Court was of the view that: in the given facts of the present case, impounding the passport is not warranted considering that the petitioner had already been called upon to deposit the same with the concerned Court. Further, the permission has already been granted  to the petitioner to travel overseas.” In such a view, the Court set aside the order whereby the petitioner’s passport was impounded. He was given liberty to travel abroad, subject to compliance with the conditions imposed.[Vinod Kumar Asthana v. Chief Passport Officer, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8138, dated 16-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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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Supreme Court: The 5-judge Constitution Bench comprising of CJ Dipak Misra and R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, JJ., stated that the Supreme Court is not in a position to add a disqualification provision in regard to contesting of elections on the basis of charges framed against the candidates.

The Bench stated that “A time has come that Parliament must make law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter into the political stream.”

The Court also added that “the law making wing of the democracy of this country will take it upon itself to cure the malignancy, as such a malignancy is not incurable.”

Further, several directions have been issued regarding the disclosure of criminal antecedents of the candidates.

Will further update with the detailed judgment.