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The State Of Rajasthan vs Rajesh Kumar Meena S/O Shri … on 17 September, 2019

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN
BENCH AT JAIPUR

D.B. Special Appeal Writ No.1079/2019

1. The State Of Rajasthan, Through Its Principal Secretary,
Department Of Home, Secretariat, Jaipur.
2. The Director General Of Police, Government Of Rajasthan,
Police Headquarters, Jaipur.
3. The Superintendent Of Police, Alwar
—-Appellants
Versus
Rajesh Kumar Meena S/o Shri Bhopala Ram Meena, Aged About
25 Years, R/o Village And Post Menpura, Via Paukh, District
Jhunjhunu (Raj.)
—-Respondent

For Appellant(s) : Mr. Harshal Tholia on behalf of
Dr. Vibhuti Bhushan Sharma, AAG
For Respondent(s) : Mr. O.P. Jhajharia
Mr. Arpan Kumar Sharma

HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE PRAKASH GUPTA

Judgment

17/09/2019

D.B. Civil Misc.Application No.675/2019:-

For the reasons mentioned in the application, the same
is allowed. Delay in filing the appeal is condoned.
D.B. Special Appeal (Writ) No.1079/2019:-

1. The service is complete. With the consent of the
parties, the matter is heard finally.

2. The appellant-State is aggrieved by an order of the
learned Single Judge, who allowed the petition filed by the sole
respondent (hereafter “Rajesh Kumar Meena”). Rajesh Kumar
Meena, had applied for the post of Constable pursuant to an
advertisement dated 25/05/2018. At the time of the application,
though he was required to, he did not make any disclosure about
his involvement, in a criminal case (i.e. FIR No.149/2016, PS

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Bagar, District Jhunjhunu) pursuant to which, he was charge
sheeted by the competent court for the offences punishable under
Sections 323, Section341 and Section325 read with Section 34 IPC.

3. He was selected, on the basis of the defective
information. Apparently, Rajesh Kumar Meena after his
appointment entered into a compromise which led to the
compounding of offences and he was acquitted on 25/10/2018.
Upon the State becoming aware of these, the respondent was
denied appointment (earlier he was selected). He approached the
court contending that the State had acted arbitrarily.

4. After considering the submissions of the parties, the
Single Judge was of the opinion that the charges levelled against
the petitioner were not grave and that his selection made
pursuant to the advertisement on 25/05/2018 had to be
processed. The Single Judge noted several previous judgments.

5. It is argued on behalf of the State that the Single Judge
though has noted the decision of the Supreme Court in Avtar
Singh Vs. Union of India Ors. : {(2016) 8 SCC 471} but not
followed the principles enunciated therein especially on the
question that the effect of the suppression or withholding of
information is materially a primary consideration/duty of the
employer/authority of the State. It was contended that the given
the serious nature of the offences, such as those punishable under
Sections 325 and Section341 IPC, relief should not have been granted.
Learned counsel also relied upon the subsequent judgment of the
Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh Ors. Vs. Bunty :
(2019 SCC OnLine SC 430) and State of Madhya Pradesh Ors.
Vs. Abhijit Singh Pawar {2018) 18 SCC 733}.

6. It is highlighted by the writ petitioner through his
counsel that the judgment in Avtar Singh (supra) was noticed and
its ratio was properly applied. It is contended that although the
petitioner had been charged and was facing trial at the stage of
selection; fact remained that he was, subsequently acquitted on
the basis of a compromise. Learned counsel highlighted that for
the nature of the offences punishments were trivial and were
compoundable under Section 320 Cr.P.C.

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7. We notice that in Avtar Singh (supra), in its

conclusions, dealt with various aspects of recruitment where
applicants were charged with offences. The relevant conclusions in
Avtar Singh (supra) are as follows:-

“12. A three Judge Bench of this Court in SectionAvtar
Singh v. Union of India (supra) was required to
consider the difference of opinion in decisions of
this Court on the question of suppression of
information or submission of false information in
the verification form on issues pertaining to
involvement in criminal cases and the effect
thereof. The law on the point was settled by this
Court in following terms in paragraph No.38 of its
decision as under:

“38. We have noticed various decisions and tried to
explain and reconcile them as far as possible. In
view of the aforesaid discussion, we summarise our
conclusion thus:

38.1. Information given to the employer by a
candidate as to conviction, acquittal or arrest, or
pendency of a criminal case, whether before or
after entering into service must be true and there
should be no suppression or false mention of
required information.”

8. In the present case, the petitioner was aware of the
criminal proceedings but withheld the information from the State
i.e. employer. The case could not have been treated as a trivial
one having regard to para 38.4.1, (which factors and incidences of
conducts relating to shouting of slogans at a young age and for
petty offences). Para 38.1 highlights that relevant information has
to be furnished to the employer. Para 38.4.3, states that if
acquittal is recorded, on technical ground and it is not a case of
clean acquittal, or benefit of reasonable doubt has been given, the
employer may consider all relevant facts available as to
antecedents, and may take appropriate decision as to the
continuance of the employee. Likewise in para 38.4.2 if conviction
is recorded which is not trivial, the employer may cancel the
candidature of an employee.

9. In the subsequent judgment (Abhijit Singh Pawar) the
matter was placed in proper prospective, in the context of

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compounding orders made by the competent court based upon a
compromise. The court held, as follows:-

“14. 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
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.

15. 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).

16. 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.”

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10. Similarly, in Bunty (supra) the court held as under:-

“8. After hearing learned counsel for the parties, we
are of the opinion that the respondent had participated
in the selection process in the year 2013, at that time
the said criminal case was pending consideration and
he has been acquitted subsequently, vide judgment
and order dated 7.1.2015 all throughout during
selection process the case was pending consideration
and as certain witnesses have turned hostile which is
not unusual. The respondent knew very well about the
pendency of the case against him and it is not
uncommon to see that witnesses turned hostile. In the
aforesaid circumstance, it cannot be said to be case of
clear acquittal, in criminal case, he was given benefit
of doubt not acquitted because the case against him
was found to be false. Thus, due to such acquittal
appointment could not have followed as a matter of
course as observed by the Division Bench of the High
Court.”

11. In the present case at the stage when the respondent
applied, the criminal case was pending; and he was facing
charges. The non disclosure or withholding of such an information
is crucial because nature of employment sought for was
appointment as a Constable which involved a degree of trust of
confidence. The subsequent compromise based upon compounding
of offence, in the opinion of the court, did not absolve the
petitioner from the primary duty of disclosing the information to
the State to enable it to make the choice whether he should be in
its employment or not.

12. For the above reasons, this Court is of the opinion that
the impugned order requires to be interfered with; it is accordingly
set aside.

13. The appeal is allowed.

(PRAKASH GUPTA),J (S. RAVINDRA BHAT),CJ

Anil Goyal/JKP/13

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