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Mohammed Imran vs The State Of Maharashtra on 12 October, 2018

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NON­REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO(s). 10571 OF 2018
(arising out of SLP(C) No.6599 of 2018)

MOHAMMED IMRAN          ….APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND OTHERS   ….RESPONDENT(S)

JUDGMENT

NAVIN SINHA, J.

Leave granted.

2. The   appellant,   a   successful   aspirant   for   judicial   service,   is

aggrieved   by   the   order   dated   04.06.2010   cancelling   his   selection   for

appointment due to the character verification report of the police, and

the refusal of the High Court to interfere with the same.

Signature Not Verified

3. Mr.   Huzefa   Ahmadi,   learned   senior   counsel   appearing   for   the
Digitally signed by R
NATARAJAN
Date: 2018.10.12
17:44:45 IST
Reason:

appellant, submits that the denial of appointment on grounds of moral

turpitude   is   wrong   and   unsustainable.     The   appellant   has   been
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acquitted   of   the   charge   under   Sections   363,   366,   34,   I.P.C.   on

28.10.2004 much before he cleared the examination for appointment in

the year 2009.  He had truthfully and honestly disclosed his prosecution

and   acquittal   by   the   Sessions   Court,   Sangli.     According   to   the

allegations, the appellant was in an auto­rickshaw along with another,

following the auto­rickshaw in which the main accused was travelling

with the girl.   The main accused has also been acquitted of the charge

under Section 376.   In similar circumstances, another aspirant Sudhir

Gulabrao Barde, who was prosecuted in Case No.3022 of 2007 under

Sections   294,   504,   34,   I.P.C.   but   acquitted   on   24.11.2009,   has   been

appointed.  The appellant has therefore been subjected to arbitrary and

hostile   discrimination.     Reliance   in   support   of   the   submissions   was

placed on  Joginder Singh vs.  Union Territory of Chandigarh and

others, 2015 (2) SCC 377.

4. Learned counsel for the respondents submitted that the appellant

being an aspirant for judicial service, the standards of behaviour and

conduct, to consider suitability for appointment will have to be different

from any other service.  He was involved in an act of moral turpitude in

kidnapping   of   the   girl   in   question.     The   acquittal,   because   the
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prosecutrix turned hostile, cannot come to the aid of the appellant.  The

candidate   referred   to,   for   contending   hostile   discrimination,   was   not

involved   in   an   act   of   moral   turpitude.     Mere   empanelment   for

appointment creates no rights to seek mandamus for appointment.  The

fact   that   he   may   have   disclosed   the   alleged   involvement   in   the

attestation form, cannot be considered sufficient to ignore his conduct

involving moral turpitude.

5. We have considered the submissions on behalf of the parties.  The

only allegation against the appellant in Sessions Case No.173 of 2000 is

that he along with another was travelling in an auto­rickshaw that was

following the auto­rickshaw in which the prime accused Bilal, who was

charged under Section 376, IPC, was travelling with the girl in question.

All the accused were acquitted because the prosecutrix did not support

the   allegations.     The   appellant   was   21   years   of   age   on   the   date   of

occurrence i.e. 25.05.2000.  

6. Employment opportunities is a scarce commodity in our country.

Every   advertisement   invites   a   large   number   of   aspirants   for   limited

number of vacancies.  But that may not suffice to invoke sympathy for

grant of relief where the credentials of the candidate may raise serious
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questions regarding suitability, irrespective of eligibility.   Undoubtedly,

judicial service is very different from other services and the yardstick of

suitability that may apply to other services, may not be the same for a

judicial   service.     But   there   cannot   be   any   mechanical   or   rhetorical

incantation of moral turpitude, to deny appointment in judicial service

simplicitor.  Much will depend on the facts of a case.  Every individual

deserves   an   opportunity   to   improve,   learn   from   the   past   and   move

ahead in life by self­improvement. To make past conduct, irrespective of

all considerations, an albatross around the neck of the candidate, may

not always constitute justice.   Much will, however depend on the fact

situation of a case. 

7. That   the   expression   “moral   turpitude”   is   not   capable   of   precise

definition was considered in Pawan Kumar vs. State of Haryana and

another, (1996) 4 SCC 17, opining:

“12. “Moral turpitude” is an expression which is used
in legal as also societal parlance to describe conduct
which   is   inherently   base,   vile,   depraved   or   having
any connection showing depravity….”

8. The appellant by dint of hard academic labour was successful at

the competitive examination held on 16.08.2009 and after viva voce was
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selected and recommended for appointment by the Maharashtra Public

Service   Commission   on   14.10.2009.     In   his   attestation   form,   he   had

duly   disclosed   his   prosecution   and   acquittal.     Mere   disclosure   in   an

appropriate   case   may   not   be   sufficient   to   hold   for   suitability   in

employment.  Nonetheless the nature of allegations and the conduct in

the facts of a case would certainly be a relevant factor.  While others so

recommended came to be appointed, the selection of the appellant was

annulled on 04.06.2010 in view of the character verification report of

the police.

9. It is an undisputed fact that one Shri Sudhir Gulabrao Barde, who

had   been   acquitted   on   24.11.2009   in   Case   No.3022   of   2007   under

Sections 294, 504, 34, IPC, has been appointed.  We are not convinced,

that in the facts and circumstances of the present case, the appellant

could be discriminated and denied appointment arbitrarily when  both

the   appointments   were  in   judicial   service,   by   the   same   selection

procedure,   of   persons   who   faced   criminal   prosecutions   and   were

acquitted.  The distinction sought to be drawn by the respondents, that

the former was not involved in a case of moral turpitude does not leave

us convinced. In Joginder Singh (supra), it was observed as follows:
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“25. Further, apart from a small dent in the name of
this criminal case in which he has been honourably
acquitted,   there   is   no   other   material   on   record   to
indicate that the antecedents or the conduct of the
Appellant was not up to the mark to appoint him to
the post….” 

10. In the present proceedings, on 23.03.2018, this Court had called

for   a   confidential   report   of   the   character   verification   as   also   the

antecedents of the appellant as on this date.  The report received reveals

that except for the criminal case under reference in which he has been

acquitted,   the   appellant   has   a   clean   record   and   there   is   no   adverse

material against him to deny him the fruits of his academic labour in a

competitive selection for the post of a judicial officer.  In our opinion, no

reasonable person on the basis of the materials placed before us can

come   to   the   conclusion   that   the   antecedents   and   character   of   the

appellant are such that he is unfit to be appointed as a judicial officer.

An alleged single misadventure or misdemeanour of the present nature,

if   it   can   be   considered   to   be   so,   cannot   be   sufficient   to   deny

appointment   to   the   appellant   when   he   has   on   all   other   aspects   and

parameters been found to be fit for appointment.  The Law is well settled

in this regard in Avtar Singh vs. Union of India and others, (2016) 8
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SCC   471.     If   empanelment   creates   no   right   to   appointment,   equally

there can be no arbitrary denial of appointment after empanelment.

11. In the entirety of the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of

the considered opinion that the consideration of the candidature of the

appellant and its rejection are afflicted by a myopic vision, blurred by

the spectacle of what has been described as moral turpitude, reflecting

inadequate   appreciation   and   application   of   facts   also,   as   justice   may

demand.

12. We, therefore, consider the present a fit case to set aside the order

dated 04.06.2010 and the impugned order dismissing the writ petition,

and   direct   the   respondents   to   reconsider   the   candidature   of   the

appellant.     Let   such   fresh   consideration   be   done   and   an   appropriate

decision be taken in light of the present discussion, preferably within a

maximum period of eight weeks from the date of receipt and production

of the copy of the present order.   In order to avoid any future litigation

on   seniority   or   otherwise,   we   make   it   clear   that   in   the   event   of

appointment, the appellant shall not be entitled to any other reliefs.
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13. The appeal is allowed as above.

…..……………………….J.

                 (Kurian Joseph)

.……………………………J.

         (Sanjay Kishan Kaul)  

….………………………..J.

   (Navin Sinha)  
New Delhi,
October 12, 2018.

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