LE Correspondent

New Delhi, May 12, 2022: Holding that both the Single Judge as well as the Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court erred in directing the State to consider the case of the respondent for appointment as a constable, the Supreme Court has held that the duty of a constable is to maintain law and order. It is expected that he should be honest, trustworthy,reliable and his integrity is above board.

While considering a case where the candidate applying for the post of constable had suppressed the material fact in respect to his criminal antecedents and made an incorrect statement, the Division Bench  of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said, “ An employee in the uniformed service presupposes a higher level of integrity as such a person is expected to uphold the law and on the contrary any act in deceit and subterfuge cannot be tolerated.” Also, the Bench added that the candidate did not confirm to the above expectations.

A Division Bench  of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarthna allowed the appeal instituted by the State against the order and judgment of the High Court of Rajasthan whereby the High Court dismissed the appeal preferred by the State of Rajasthan pertaining to the rejection of candidature of an applicant by observing that the question that was to be dealt was whether the applicant suppressed the material fact deliberately while filling the application form, the answer to the same was in the  affirmative and thus the concerned authorities were right in rejecting the application of the applicant, the Bench ruled. 

The facts leading to the present case were that the applications were invited for recruitment to 4684 vacant posts of Constable, Constable (operator), Constable (driver) and Constable (Band) in different Districts/ Battalions/ Units of Rajasthan Police.  In pursuance of the same, the respondent applied for the said post and submitted the application form. However, the original writ petitioner was already facing criminal proceedings at the time of filling of the application form and the same was not revealed by him. 

When the concerned authorities got apprised of the same, they rejected the candidature of the original writ petitioner on the ground that the material information was suppressed deliberately by the petitioner.  Consequently, the petitioner preferred the writ petitioner before the Single Judge of the High Court and the same was allowed. Further directions were issued to the State to consider the case of the petitioner for the post of Constable.  Aggrieved by the same, the State preferred the appeal before the Division Bench of the High Court but such appeal was dismissed. Hence, State filed the present appeal.

The Bench noted that the original writ petitioner faced three to four FIRs, out of which, in two cases he was acquitted by entering into a compromise and in one case he was convicted, but was given the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act.  It was also brought to light that  one criminal case was  still pending against him and that such a person cannot be appointed as a constable.  Reliance was placed on the judgments of the Top Court in Avtar Singh v. Union of India, (2016) 8 SCC 471, Daya   Shankar Yadav v. Union of India and State of A.P. v. B. Chinnam Naidu.

Considering that the candidate suppressed material information and made a false statement that he was not facing any criminal case, the Court opined that the authority did not commit any error by rejecting the candidature of the original petitioner for the post of constable in the instant case. Thus it was held that the judgment passed by the High Court was unsustainable both on facts and law. Accordingly, the present appeal was allowed. 

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