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Harban Singh Jatav vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh on 29 January, 2020

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THE HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
R.P. No.1849/2019
(Harban Singh Jatav Vs. State of M.P. Others)

Gwalior, dated: 29.01.2020

Shri D.S. Raghuvanshi, learned counsel for the petitioner.

Shri Pratip Visoriya, learned Government Advocate for the

respondent/State.

I.A. No.03/2020, an application for condonation of delay is

taken up, considered and allowed for the reasons mentioned therein.

Delay of 120 days in filing this petition is hereby condoned.

This petition seeks review of the final order dated 22.07.2019

by which W.A. No. 1741/2018 preferred by the State has been allowed

setting aside the order dated 03.10.2017 passed in W.P. No. 1901/2014

wherein challenge was made to the cancellation of candidature of

petitioner for recruitment to the post of Forest Guard on

compassionate basis.

The candidature of the petitioner stood canceled due to his

failure to disclose the factum of having been criminally prosecuted

vide crime No. 134/2009 for offence punishable under Sections 323,

325, 504, 34 of IPC and Crime No.133/2003 for the offence

punishable under Sections 457, 380 of IPC and Crime No. 284/2003

registered for the offence punishable under Sections 461 of IPC

registered at Police Station Kolaras, district Shivpuri.

Though appellant had been acquitted in respect of
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aforementioned crime numbers but in crime No. 134/2009 the

appellant was acquitted by way of compounding.

By order under review, the Coordinate Bench relying upon the

decision of Apex Court in Avtar Singh Vs. Union of India and

others, (2016) 7 SCC 971 and State of M.P. and others vs. Abhijit

Singh Pawar [Civil Appeal No.11356 of 2018, decided on 26-11-

2018], held that the discretion exercised by employer in canceling the

candidature on finding the candidate to have suppressed material

information regarding criminal prosecution cannot be interfered with

while exercising limited power of judicial review.

Learned counsel for the review petitioner has relied upon the

Single Bench decision of this Court dated 19.12.2018 passed in W.P.

No.4701/2015, where this Court had directed the employer to consider

the case of the petitioner therein whose candidature for the

appointment on compassionate basis to class IV post had been

canceled on similar grounds of suppression of material facts of

criminal antecedent in the verification form.

The said Single bench decision in W.P. No. 4701/2015 fades into

insignificance in view of the subsequent decision passed by the

Division Bench of this Court on 08.11.2019 in W.A. No.925/2019

(Pramod Goswami Vs. State of M.P. Others). The relevant extract

of Division Bench decision in Pramod Goswami (Supra) is reproduced

below for ready reference and convenience :

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“2.3 Based on the above factual matrix the sole question begging for
an answer is whether this court can direct the competent authority to re-
consider the case of appellant to ascertain his suitability for
appointment in the face of factum of suppression (supra) of the offence
as alleged in which appellant has subsequently been acquitted.
2.4 This very question has been answered in the negative by single
bench of this court in W.P.5409/2009 (Dinesh Vs. Union of India
others) decided on 19/2/2019 after placing reliance on decision of Apex
Court in Avtar Singh Vs. Union of India (2016) 8 SCC 471 and
subsequent decision in case of State of M.P. others Vs. Abhijit Singh
Pawar in SLP © 17404/2016 decided on 26/11/2018. Relevant portion of
order dated 19/2/2019 in WP 5409/2019 is reproduced below:-

“5. The Appointing Authority found that petitioner in his
character verification form suppressed the information
about registration of offence and pendency of criminal
prosecution against him by not providing the necessary
details in Column No.12 of aforesaid prosecution. As such it
is evident from the return that the real reason behind
discharging of services was suppression of the fact of
petitioner having been prosecuted.

6. Counsel for the petitioner relied upon the decision of
three Judge Bench in Avtar Singh Vs. Union of India
reported in (2016) 8 SCC 471, to contend that there is
nothing on record to disclose as to whether mind was
applied by the Competent Authority as regards suitability of
petitioner for retention in service, and whether the
suppression is good enough to disqualify further
continuance in service.

7. Learned counsel for the respondent on the other
hand relying upon the recent judgment of the Apex Court in
the case of State of M.P. and Ors. Vs. Abhijit Singh Pawar
in SLP (C) No.17404/2016 passed on 26.11.2018, whereby
two Judge Bench decision of Apex Court, while dealing with
earlier decision on the point including the case of Avtar
Singh held thus:-

“14. In Avtar Singh (supra), though this Court was
principally concerned with the question as to
nondisclosure or wrong disclosure of information, it
was observed in paragraph 38.5 that even in cases
where a truthful disclosure about a concluded case was
made, the employer would still have a right to consider
antecedents of the candidate and could not be
compelled to appoint such candidate.

15. In the present case, as on the date when the
respondent had applied, a criminal case was pending
against him. Compromise was entered into only after
an affidavit disclosing such pendency was filed. On the
issue of compounding of offences and the effect of
acquittal under Section 320(8) of Cr.P.C., the law
declared by this Court in Mehar Singh (supra),
specially in paragraphs 34 and 35 completely
concludes the issue. Even after the disclosure is made
by a candidate, the employer would be well within his
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rights to consider the antecedents and the suitability of
the candidate. While so considering, the 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.

16. The reliance placed by Mr. Dave, learned Amicus
Curiae on the decision of this Court in Mohammed
Imran (supra) is not quite correct and said decision
cannot be of any assistance to the respondent. In para
5 of said decision, this Court had found that the only
allegation against the appellant therein was that he
was travelling in an auto-rickshaw which was
following the auto-rickshaw in which the prime
accused, who was charged under Section 376 IPC,
was travelling with the prosecutrix in question and
that all the accused were acquitted as the prosecutrix
did not support the allegation. The decision in
Mohammed Imran (supra) thus turned on individual
facts and cannot in any way be said to have departed
from the line of decisions rendered by this Court in
Mehar Singh (supra), Parvez Khan (supra) and
Pradeep Kumar (supra).

17. We must observe at this stage that there is nothing
on record to suggest that the decision taken by the
concerned authorities in rejecting the candidature of
the respondent was in any way actuated by mala fides
or suffered on any other count. The decision on the
question of suitability of the respondent, in our
considered view, was absolutely correct and did not
call for any interference. We, therefore, allow this
appeal, set aside the decisions rendered by the Single
Judge as well as by the Division Bench and dismiss
Writ Petition No.9412 of 2013 preferred by the
respondent. No costs.

18. Before we part, we must record our appreciation
for the efforts put in by Mr. Siddharth Dave, learned
Amicus Curiae and the assistance rendered by him.”

8. This Court also had an occasion to decide
similar issue holding that suppression of criminal
prosecution in character antecedents form qua uniformed
services, where rectitude and discipline is paramount, can
be a good ground for the Competent Authority to either
reject the candidature or to discontinue the services,
which are not yet confirmed. The relevant extract of the
said case is as under:-

“13. The most relevant and crucial factor which
dissuades this court from exercising writ jurisdiction
in favour of the petitioner is the suppression of
material fact about criminal antecedent in the
verification form as held supra. The act of suppression
in the verification form reflects adversely on the moral
fiber and character of the candidate thereby enabling
the employer to oust the petitioner from competition
and choose another eligible candidate, though less
meritorious, but of clean image and character for
induction into the police force.”
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9. In view of above, this Court is of the considered
view that looking to the nature of service, job requirement
on the post of Constable and it’s job profile, the act of
suppression gives rise to necessary inference that the
candidate has a tendency to mislead for his own
advantage thereby causing dent in his moral fiber
rendering him susceptible to fear and favour thereby
making him unfit for disciplined service.

10. Accordingly, this Court declines interference
in the matter and dismisses the present petition.

No cost. ”

3. In view of the above, it is explicit that present is a clear case of
suppression of information of registration of offence against the
petitioner which adversely reflects upon the character of petitioner
thereby rendering the petitioner a person of dubious and unreliable
character. Moreover, the verification form at the end contains
declaration which has been duly signed by petitioner that if any
requisite information is suppressed or is found to be incorrect then
candidature/appointment shall be liable to be cancelled without giving
any opportunity of hearing.”

In view of above, this Court declines interference in the absence

of any error apparent on the face of the record.

Accordingly, present review petition stands dismissed.

No costs.

(Sheel Nagu) (Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava)
Judge Judge

Aman
Aman Tiwari
2020.01.30 19:17:40 +05’30’

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