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Candidate who has been acquitted on merit by the Court will be eligible for Government service: SC

Anil Bhardwaj vs. The Hon’ble High Court of Madhya Pradesh and Ors

CITATION: CIVIL APPEAL NO(S).3419 of 2020 (Arising out of SLP(C)No.10255 of 2020)

DECIDED ON: 13.10.2020

The case was argued before the Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan and Hon’ble Justice M.R.Shah. The case has been filed questioning the Division Bench judgment dated 06.01.2020 of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh dismissing the writ petition filed by the appellant. The appellant in the writ petition has prayed for quashing the orders dated 14.09.2018, 18.07.2018 and 21.09.2019 by which appellant has been held not suitable for being appointed to the post of District Judge (Entry Level) due to presence of FIR.

As noted above, the appellant having already been acquitted by the judgment dated 18.09.2019 stigma of criminal case has already washed out and the criminal 22 case having resulted in acquittal no stigma is attached to the appellant’s name on the above ground. The apprehension of the learned counsel for the appellant that a stigma shall continue with the name of the appellant is misconceived, stigma, if any, is already over by acquittal.(Para 28)

The main issue is,

Whether resolution dated 18.07.2018 suffered from error which requires judicial review by the High Court in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226?

The learned council for appellant argued that that the appellant in his online application form has disclosed about the lodging of FIR No.852/2014 under Section 498A/406/34 IPC. He submits that appellant having disclosed the lodging of FIR against him has not concealed any fact before the High Court and he having been selected on merit was entitled to be appointed. The learned council also stated that the candidature of the appellant could not have been cancelled merely on the ground of pendency of criminal case. The appellant could not have been deprived of the employment after acquittal. There was no other material on record to indicate that antecedent or conduct of the appellant was not up to the mark. The learned council relied on the case of Mohammed Imran vs. State of Maharashtra and others (C.A.No.10571 of 2018).

The Court reasoned that the decision of Examination-cum-Section and Appointment Committee for holding the appellant unsuitable was based on the relevant consideration, i.e., a criminal case against the appellant under Section 498A/406/34 IPC was pending consideration which was registered on a complaint filed by the wife of the appellant. Such decision of the Committee was well within the jurisdiction and power of the Committee and cannot be said to be unsustainable. The mere fact that subsequently after more than a year when the person whose candidature has been cancelled has been acquitted cannot be a ground to turn the clock backward.

It held that,

“There being no infirmity in the decision dated 18.07.2018 of the Committee declaring the appellant unsuitable for the post and consequential decision taken by the State to delete the name of the appellant, the High Court did not commit any error in dismissing the writ petition. The fact that subsequently the appellant was acquitted in the criminal case did not 19 furnish sufficient ground for reconsidering the appellant for appointment on the post” (Para 24)

“The High Court did not commit any error in dismissing the writ petition. The appellant was not entitled for any relief in the writ petition. In the result, while dismissing this appeal we observe that stigma, if any, of the criminal case lodged against appellant under Section 498A/406/34 IPC is washed out due to the acquittal of the appellant vide judgment dated 18.09.2019.” (Para 29).

View/Download Judgment:

CIVIL APPEAL NO(S).3419 of 2020
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- Kamalini



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