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Amarjeet Singh vs State Of Punjab & Anr on 13 February, 2020

CWP No.26398 of 2016 (OM) 1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB HARYANA
AT CHANDIGARH

CWP No.26398 of 2016 (OM)
Date of Decision:-13.02.2020

Amarjeet Singh
…….Petitioner
Versus
State of Punjab and another

……Respondents

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE TEJINDER SINGH DHINDSA

Present:- Mr. R.K. Arora, Advocate for the petitioner.

Mr. TPS Chawla, DAG, Punjab.

*****

TEJINDER SINGH DHINDSA J.

CM-11044-CWP-2019

Application is allowed to the extent of taking on record the

accompanying documents at Annexures P-12 and P-13.

Application disposed of.

Main case

The petitioner has filed the instant writ petition questioning the

action of the State in denying him appointment to the post of Constable,

inspite of being a selected candidate, only on account of registration of an

FIR.

Brief facts leading to the filing of the petition are that Punjab

Police issued an advertisement dated 31.05.2016 for recruitment of 7416

Constables (Male and Female) for District Police Cadre and Armed Police

Cadre in the State of Punjab. The last date for submission of online

application was 21.06.2016. Petitioner belongs to the SC (RO) Category.

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CWP No.26398 of 2016 (OM) 2

Being eligible as per terms and conditions of the advertisement he

submitted his application and subjected himself to the process of selection.

Petitioner was selected for the post of Constable in the District Police

Cadre under the SC (RO) Category and as per merit secured was

allocated District Ludhiana. A provisional selection letter was also issued

which was subject to document verification, medical examination and a

character/antecedents check. Medical examination of the petitioner was

conducted on 07.11.2016 and he was found medically fit for appointment

to the post of Constable. Even though other candidates who were selected

alongwith the petitioner and had secured a lower merit were permitted to

join on the post, the appointment letter has been with-held insofar as the

petitioner is concerned on the ground that he stands involved in FIR No.22

dated 11.07.2016 under Sections 406, 498-A IPC registered at Police

Station Women Firozepur at the instance of the wife of his brother.

Learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that the

appointment could have been denied only in the event of conviction in the

criminal case. Mere pendency of an FIR is no ground to deny appointment

to the petitioner till such time he is convicted for an offence involving

moral turpitude.

Per contra learned State counsel would justify non-appointment

of the petitioner by submitting that during character and antecedents

verification of the petitioner it had come forth that the FIR in question was

pending against the petitioner and as such he was not found entitled for

appointment as Constable. In support of such contention reliance has been

placed upon judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Delhi

Administration Vs. Sushil Kumar (1996) 11 SCC 605. State counsel has

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even referred to Rule 12.14 (1) of the Punjab Police Rules 1934 wherein it

has been provided that a recruit shall bear good character and great care is

to be taken in selecting recruits. It is urged that even by virtue of Rule

12.14 (1) of the Punjab Police Rule, the petitioner is not entitled to

appointment as a Constable.

Counsel for the parties have been heard at length

The issue that would arise in the present case is as to whether the

State Government would be justified in denying the appointment to the

petitioner merely on account of registration of an FIR inspite of having

been selected for the post in question.

The uncontroverted factual premise is that on the date of

advertisement and submission of application form there was no FIR

against the petitioner. Name of the petitioner figures in FIR No.22 dated

11.07.2016 at Police Station Women Cell Firozepur under Sections

406/498-A IPC at the instance of his sister-in-law. Challan was presented

in the Court after completion of investigation on 22.12.2017 and name of

the petitioner had been placed in column No.2. Petitioner is not facing

trial inasmuch as no charges have been framed against him. Even an

application moved by the complainant under Section 319 Cr.P.C. to

summon the petitioner herein to face trial as an additional accused stands

dismissed by the Trial Court vide order dated 04.06.2019 at Annexure P-

12.

This Court is of the considered view that mere registration of an

FIR cannot be made the basis and equated with a finding of guilt recorded

by a competent Court. In other words registration of a case cannot lend the

colour of conviction. The action of the respondent department in not

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CWP No.26398 of 2016 (OM) 4

issuing an appointment letter to the petitioner for the post of Constable

inspite of his selection and merit position would amount to holding the

petitioner guilty of the offence. Such a course of action would be totally

unwarranted. In taking such view this Court would draw support from the

observations made by the learned Single Judge of the Rajasthan High

Court in Harsh Gupta Vs. Rajasthan State Electricity Board 1995, (1)

SCT 485 and which are as under:-

“On the merits of the case, I would like, once again, to
make it clear that at the time of selection, the petitioner had no
blemish whatsoever against him. The only material which came
into existence after his selection is in the form of registration of
first information report against almost all the members of the
family of the petitioner roping them in an offence under Section
498A IPC. The question is, whether mere registration of a case
by the police can be made the basis for holding that the
petitioner’s character is doubtful or unsatisfactory. The answer
of this question will depend on as to whether registration of a
case by the police can be equated with a finding of guilt
recorded by a competent Court or Tribunal. Registration of a
case simpliciter does not automatically result in conviction of a
person. It does not per se cause a stigma on character of a
person. Therefore, the information which the police had
forwarded to the authorities of the Board regarding the
character of the petitioner was misleading. Apparently, the
authorities of the Board have, without applying their mind,
mechanically acted on the report sent by the police authority at
Ajmer. Authorities of the Board never bothered to find out as to
what is the nature of the allegation levelled against the
petitioner; what is the stage of the case and as to whether the
petitioner has been found guilty of an offence. I am of the
considered opinion that action which the respondent-Board has
taken is not in terms of para 6 of the order of appointment dated

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23.11.1991. This view of mine is fully supported by D.B.
Judgment of this Court in Gopi Lal v. State of Rajasthan and
another, [1989 (2) RLR 748]. The Division Bench has
observed as under:

We may, therefore, sum up that the service of a
Government servant cannot be terminated or the Government
servant cannot be discharged from service only on account of
the pendency of a criminal case against him. The reason is
obvious. Unless the guilt is proved, one is presumed to be
innocent. Moreover, criminal case may be launched out of
enmity etc. It is, therefore, the conviction and not the pendency
of a criminal case which should be taken into account for
disciplinary action.”

The judgement in Delhi Administration’s case (supra) would

have no applicability to the facts of the present case as in that case there

was a concealment of being involved in Criminal proceedings whereas in

the present case there is no concealment whatsoever as on the date of

submission of application for the post by the petitioner, the FIR had not

even been registered.

Rule 12.14 (1) of the Punjab Police Rules 1934 reads as under:-

12.14. Recruits – Status of.– (1) Recruits shall be of
good character and great care shall be taken in selecting men of
a type suitable for police service from candidates presenting
themselves for enrolment.”

As per mandate of the afore-reproduced rule the recruits are to be

of good character and great care has to be taken while selecting recruits.

There is no material whatsoever with the respondent authorities to

conclude that the petitioner herein is not of good character. Mere

registration of an FIR cannot be made the basis of invoking the Rule 12.14

(1) and particularly in a situation where pursuant to investigation having

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CWP No.26398 of 2016 (OM) 6

been carried out, the petitioner has not even been challaned and no charges

have been framed against him. Denial of appointment letter inspite of

being a selected candidate on the strength of Rule 12.14 (1) of the Punjab

Police Rules cannot sustain.

For the reasons recorded above, the present petition is allowed.

Respondents are directed to issue an appointment letter to the petitioner

for the post of Constable in the light of his merit position in the SC (RO)

category within a period of 8 weeks from the date of receipt of certified

copy of this order. The petitioner is also held entitled to all the

consequential benefits in the nature of seniority, pay fixation etc. w.e.f. the

date a person lower in the merit to him had been so appointed to the post of

Constable in the same very process of selection. It is, however, clarified

that the petitioner shall not be paid the actual arrears of salary for the

period in question.

Petition is allowed in the aforesaid terms.

(TEJINDER SINGH DHINDSA)
JUDGE
February 13, 2020
shweta

Whether speaking/reasoned : Yes/No
Whether reportable : Yes/No

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