The Supreme Court recently upheld the decision of the Delhi Government to remove a government teacher from service for suppressing the information about a criminal case against him while applying for the job.
The Hon’ble Bench comprising of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramaniam observed that :
In the present case, the respondent is responsible for shaping career of young students. What kind of message he will be giving to the students by his conduct based on untruthfulness?
This Court found that there is no material tendered by the revenue that there was any attempt on the part of the assessee to deceive or induce the authorities to release the goods notwithstanding the expiry of the period of the exemption notification. But, an employee desirous of holding civil post has to act with utmost good faith and truthfulness. Truthfulness cannot be made causality by an aspirant much more for a candidate aspiring to be a teacher.
The respondent was offered the post of trained graduate teacher of mathematics after the test conducted by Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board on November 17, 1999.
After joining, an attestation form was given for verification of antecedents. Such attestation form was filled up on December 13, 1999. In such attestation form, he has answered the question ‘have you ever been prosecuted’ in negative. However, during verification, it was found that a case under Section 499/93, 147, 332, 353, 427, and 149 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 was registered. A charge-sheet was filed in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Karauli, Rajasthan on April 30 , 1994.
In reply , the respondent stated that he forgot about the incident after acquittal and the column was filled up by oversight and that he was residing in Delhi since July, 1996 and had no idea about the status of the case after 1996.
An order of removal from service was passed on June 19, 2008after considering the reply filed. He filed an appeal against the order of removal which was dismissed on June 1 , 2009.
Such order of removal was challenged by the respondent before the Central Administrative Tribunal by an application under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985. Such application was dismissed but the High Court allowed the writ petition filed against the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal .
CONTENTIONS BY APPELLANT
Learned counsel for the appellants refers to a three Judge Bench judgment of this Court reported as, ‘Avtar Singh Vs. Union of India & Ors.’ wherein this Court considered the question of suppression of information or submitting false information in the verification form as to the question of having been criminally prosecuted, arrested or as to pendency of a criminal case.
The whole idea of verification of character and antecedents is that the person suitable for the post in question is appointed. It is one of the important criteria which is necessary to be fulfilled before appointment is made. An incumbent should not have antecedents of such a nature which may adjudge him unsuitable for the post.
This Court in Avtar Singh held as under:-
“38. We have noticed various decisions and tried to explain and reconcile them as far as possible. In view of aforesaid discussion, we summarize 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………”
CONTENTIONS OF RESPONDENT
Learned counsel for the respondent relies upon an order passed by this Court in a judgment reported as titled as ‘Collector of Customs, Calcutta Vs. Tin Plate Co. of India Ltd.’ It is contended that the respondent had his education in Hindi and therefore, he could not understand the meaning of word prosecution and therefore, the bonafide error in wrong answer should have been ignored as has been done by the High Court.
OBSERVATION OF THE COURT
The Hon’ble Court Observed that
“We find that the respondent, seeking appointment to the post of trained graduate teacher, is not an illiterate or uneducated person who can claim the ignorance of the meaning of the word ‘prosecution’.
“ Avtar Singh (supra) was a case of the appointment to the post of a constable. This Court has held that giving of a wrong information disentitles the candidate for appointment”.
At last the Hon’ble Court held that
Consequently, the appeal is allowed.
The orders passed by the High Court are set aside; the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal is restored, consequently the order of removal is upheld. Pending application(s), if any, also stand disposed of.
CASE TITLE :GOVERNMENT OF NCT OF DELHI AND OTHERS VERSUS BHEEM SINGH MEENA AND OTHERS
CIVIL APPEAL NO.2599 OF 2022 (@ SLP(C) NO.30505/2013)