Read Order: Abhishek Goyat v. State of Haryana and Another 

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, May 02, 2022: While dealing with an appeal filed by the appellant whose appointment to the post of Constable was denied by the respondents on the ground that the appellant suppressed the fact of his arrest in the verification form, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that if an employer feels that an employee, who at the initial stage of his service has made a false statement or has deliberately not disclosed the material facts, cannot be appointed or continued in service because such an employee cannot be relied upon even in future. 

The Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli, while considering the law laid down by the Supreme held, “The employer cannot be forced to continue such an employee.”

In this case, the appellant while submitting his application, made a false statement to the effect that he had not been arrested when a specific query to this effect was made in the verification form attached to his application for appointment to the post of constable. The appellant was in fact arrested on February 25, 2020, pursuant to an FIR registered against him. Thus, the appointment of the appellant to the post of constable was denied by the respondent. The Single Judge Bench via its impugned order upheld the order of the respondent and resultantly, the present appeal before the Chief Justice led division bench was made. 

The appellant’s counsel submitted that the impugned order passed by the Single Judge did not take into consideration the fact that the appellant was not directly involved in the criminal case that was pending against him, and that the same did not involve any moral turpitude thereby disqualifying the appellant from appointment on the post of Constable. 

However, on being asked as to whether the appellant had given false information in the verification form regarding his arrest, the counsel for the appellant was not able to controvert or deny the finding recorded by the Single Judge on the basis of a perusal of the attestation/verification form that the appellant had stated ‘No’ in column 13(a) of the form which required the appellant to disclose the fact that as to whether he has been arrested or not. The Counsel was also not able to demonstrate that the finding recorded by the Single Judge to the effect that the appellant was in fact arrested was incorrect or perverse.

In the circumstances, the Court observed that the present case was one where the appellant did not just suppress the material information regarding his arrest but also gave a false statement to the effect that he was not arrested when a specific query to this effect was made in the verification form and that the appellant was in fact arrested on February 25, 2020, pursuant to an FIR registered against him. 

Thus, in the circumstances, the Court did not find any illegality or infirmity in the impugned order of the single Judge specifically in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited and another v. Anil Kanwaria wherein it was held that the question in such cases is not as to whether an employee was involved in a dispute of trivial nature and whether he has been subsequently acquitted or not. The question on the contrary is about the credibility and trustworthiness of such an employee who at the initial stage of the employment has made a false declaration and/or not disclosed the material fact of being involved in a criminal case or of being arrested as is the factual situation in the present case.

Thus, in light of the above, the Court held that it is a question of loss of trust and, therefore, in such a situation where an employer feels that an employee, who at the initial stage of his service itself, has made a false statement or has deliberately not disclosed the material facts when asked to do so cannot be appointed or continued in service because such an employee cannot be relied upon even in future. The employer cannot be forced to continue such an employee, the Court opined. 

“It has been categorically held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that in such a situation, and the law laid down in a catena of decisions, such a person cannot claim appointment and/or continuance of service as a matter of right”, asserted the Bench.  

In view of the aforesaid law laid down by the Supreme Court, the Court dismissed the appeal. 

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