Facts Of The Case
The appellant in this case was serving as a Constable with the CRPF. He was
recruited as a temporary employee of the post of Constable (GD) in the CRPF on
28.07.2014. After undergoing the basic training, he reported at the 179th
Battalion on 17.12.2015.
While filling up the requisite verification Form�25 at the time of his
recruitment in the CRPF in Column 12 in response to the question whether any
case was pending against him, the appellant answered in the negative.
Thereafter, under Rule 14 of the CRPF Rules, the Character and Antecedents
verification Form of the appellant was sent to the Collector, District Sant
Kabir Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. The Collector, vide his letter dated 25.02.2015,
informed the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Group Centre, CRPF Rampur that
the Criminal Case had been registered against the appellant herein at the P.S.
Khalilabad Sant Kabir Nagar, Police Station for the offences punishable under
Sections 147, 323, 324, 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.
Upon receipt of the information as aforesaid, the services of the appellant
herein came to be terminated in exercise of the powers conferred under Rule 5(1)
of the Central Civil Services (Temporary Service) Rules, 1965 vide the order
dated 11.03.2016 on the ground that he had concealed the information as
aforesaid while filling up the Form�25.
The further appeal addressed by the appellant herein to the Inspector General
was also dismissed. The appellant herein challenged his dismissal from service
by filing the Writ Petition in the High Court of Delhi. The said Writ Petition
was disposed of by a Division Bench of the High Court on 25.09.2017 remitting
the matter to the Revisionary Authority for fresh consideration within a period
of six weeks from the date the appellant herein would make a representation.
The representation filed by the appellant herein ultimately came to be rejected
and a fresh order dated 05.01.2018 reiterating the termination of the
appellant's services was passed.
The appellant herein once again preferred a fresh Writ Petition challenging the
impugned order dated 05.01.2018 terminating his services.
Submissions On Behalf Of The Appellant
- Whether the High Court committed any error in passing the impugned
Ms. Jyoti Dutt Sharma, the learned counsel appearing for the appellant
vehemently submitted that the High Court committed a serious error in passing
the impugned order. She would submit that the prosecution against the appellant
was of a very trivial in nature. It did not involve any moral turpitude. The
suppression, if at all believed, by itself, cannot be a ground to deny public
It was argued that the appellant had no knowledge of the pendency of the
criminal case on the date when the verification Form was filled up. She
submitted that for the purpose of determining whether the suppression was with a
guilty mind, the attestation/verification Form should be very specific and not
vague so as to confuse the person filling up such Forms. It was further argued
that at the relevant point of time, the appellant was 19 years of age.
The criminal prosecution against him along with the others was on account of a
family dispute. The appellant had been falsely arrayed as an accused in the said
case. There was a settlement between the parties before the local village
panchayat. Ultimately, the appellant herein along with the other co-accused came
to be acquitted by the trial court.
The learned counsel placed strong reliance on the decision of this Court in the
case of Avatar Singh v. Union of India, (2016) 8 SCC 471 to fortify her
submission that while passing the order of termination of services for giving
false information, the employer must take notice of the special circumstances of
the case, if any. It was argued that even upon fresh consideration, the
Authority committed the very same mistake while reiterating the termination.
In the last, the learned counsel submitted that the High Court failed to
consider an important question of fact that the Form CRP� 25 was quite vague and
not specific about the information in regard to the criminal antecedents. It is
on account of such vagueness that the appellant was not able to understand the
question in a proper manner and answered the same accordingly which is now being
treated as false information. The learned counsel prays and the appellant may be
ordered to be reinstated in service with full back wages.
Submissions On Behalf Of The Appellant
Ms. Madhavi Divan, the Additional Solicitor General submitting that no error,
not to speak of any error of law, could be said to have been committed by the
High Court in passing the impugned order. She would submit that the appellant is
guilty of "suppression" of material facts which, by itself, was sufficient to
terminate his services. It was argued that the services of the appellant herein
were terminated because he was found guilty of submitting false information or
to put in other words, guilty of suppression of material facts. The learned ASG
vehemently submitted that the appellant herein not only suppressed information
about his arrest but also suppressed the information about the criminal case
which was pending against him at the time he filled up the verification Form.
The learned ASG further submitted that the appellant herein and the other
co-accused were not honourably acquitted. They all came to be acquitted as the
prosecution witnesses turned hostile. The learned ASG, while relying on the
decision of this Court in the case of Avtar Singh v. Union of India
(2016) 8 SCC 471, submitted that the Authority concerned is duty bound to take
into account the gravity of the offence in a situation where acquittal is not
recorded at the time of filling up of the verification Form.
In the last, the learned ASG submitted that the judicial review under Article
136 of the Constitution in matters pertaining to the suitability of a candidate
is limited to the extent of determining if the Authority concerned had acted
with malice, mindlessness or gross illegality. She placed strong reliance on the
decision of this Court in the case of Commissioner of Police v. Raj Kumar,
(2021) 8 SCC 347 to fortify her submission that the scope of judicial review in
the matters of the present type is very limited. The learned ASG also placed
strong reliance on the decision of this Court in the case of Union of India
and Others v. Methu Meda
, (2022) 1 SCC 1.
In such circumstances referred to above, the learned ASG prayed that there being
no merit in this appeal, the same may be dismissed.
- Avatar Singh v. Union of India, (2016) 8 SCC 471
- Commissioner of Police v. Raj Kumar, (2021) 8 SCC 347
- Union of India and Others v. Methu Meda, (2022) 1 SCC 1
Hon'ble Supreme Court of India has held that an employee must provide truthful
information about his previous criminal antecedents including prosecution and
conviction for accessing his character for the purpose of employment.
It is held that neither the gravity of the criminal offence nor the ultimate
acquittal is relevant if a person suppresses a material fact of his being
involved in a criminal case, in the personal information furnished to the
employer. The only relevance is suppression of the material information about
the previous criminal antecedents which reveals the character of the person.
In the aforesaid case, this Court held that the purpose of requiring an employee
to furnish information regarding prosecution/conviction, etc.
In the verification form was to assess his character and antecedents for the
purpose of employment and continuation in service; that suppression of material
information and making a false statement in reply to queries relating to
prosecution and conviction had a clear bearing on the character, conduct and
antecedents of the employee; and that where it is found that the employee had
suppressed or given false information in regard to matters which had a bearing
on his fitness or suitability to the post, he could be terminated from service
during the period of probation without holding any inquiry.
The Court also made it clear that neither the gravity of the criminal offence
nor the ultimate acquittal therein was relevant when considering whether a
probationer who suppresses a material fact (of his being involved in a criminal
case, in the personal information furnished to the employer), is fit to be
continued as a probationer.
In the case of Satish Chandra Yadav v. Union of India, 2022,
Court held that an employees must be honest when answering questions regarding
their criminal histories, including any charges and convictions, in order for
employers to assess their character.
It is decided that if a person omits a material truth about his involvement in a
criminal case from the personal information provided to the employer, neither
the seriousness of the criminal offence nor the final verdict matter. The only
relevant information is the material information that conceals the person's
character by hiding past criminal activity.
The following judgment delivered by the Hon'ble Justice, S. Ravindra Bhat and
J.B. Pardiwala in my opinion was very insightful and necessary for preventing
people with criminal background from entering into public services as it might
cause harm to the public and reputation to the office of the public servant.
It's aforesaid that the ultimate motto behind a comprehensive criminal record
check is providing the government administration with a safe workplace. In other
words, whosoever is appointed at any position in the government sector, he/she
should possess a clean history. The employer (government agency) runs a
background check to make it sure. The agency filters through relevant databases,
including civil litigation database, regulatory compliance database and criminal
database involving the candidate's name. Besides background data check in India,
the global database should also be searched out to determine if there is any
association of the candidate with the offence or the crime.
The background check should go on pre-recruitment. A single discrepancy can
disturb the govt. recruitment. The candidate can lose his/her reputation. Also,
his/her motivation could be drastically impacted. Therefore, the candidate
should provide with the authentic documents that are requisite for a specific
Checking the criminal history of all the persons applying for public as well as
private service is therefore essential even though the Indian government does
not have a law solely dedicated to criminal records or BGV checks. But for
conducting criminal records checks, the Indian Contract Act, Indian Penal Code,
and Information Technology Acts of 2000 and 2005 are frequently used as