The Supreme Court has upheld the cancellation of the selection of a man into police force.

The Court has reiterated that the decision of the Director General of Police who was the highest functionary in the hierarchy of police department, could not be called into question to consider the suitability of a person, for induction into police force.

The Bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Bela M. Trivedi referred to the decision of Apex Court in the case of Union Territory, Chandigarh Administration And Others Vs. Pradeep Kumar And Another (2018) 1 SCC 797 and reiterated that “if a person is acquitted or discharged, it cannot obviously be inferred that he was falsely involved, or he had no criminal antecedents.”

“the Director General being the highest functionary in the police hierarchy, was the best judge to consider the suitability of the petitioner for induction into the police force. The impugned order being just and proper, we are not inclined to interfere with the same in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.” added the Bench

Advocate Vikram Hegde appeared for the appellant and Advocate Shailesh Madiyal appeared for the respondent.

The case of the petitioner was that he had successfully participated in the selection process for the post of constable in the Jammu and Kashmir Executive Police and was issued an appointment letter. Thereafter, the petitioner was deputed to the Police Training School, Manigam where he had undergone the nine months BRTC course.

During the inquiry and police verification, it was revealed that a criminal case was pending against the petitioner and due to this, his selection was cancelled by the Director General of Police. The cancellation of appointment order was challenged and the petitioner had sought reinstatement with consequential benefits, which was dismissed by the Single Judge. Later, LPA was preferred before the Division Bench which was also dismissed.

Aggrieved by the order of Division bench, the appeal had been preferred before the Apex Court.

The issue dealt with was whether the Director General of Police who after examining the record of the petitioner had concluded that the petitioner was not a fit person to hold the post into the police force in view of his criminal background, could be compelled to reinstate the petitioner on his acquittal in the criminal case.

It was contended by the counsel for the petitioner that acquittal of the petitioner was required to be treated as an ‘honourable acquittal’ as the prosecution had failed to examine the investigating officer and had also failed to bring home the charges levelled against the petitioner.

The Apex Court expressed that the term ‘honourable acquittal’ was not defined anywhere in the Criminal Procedure Code or Indian Penal Code and 'honourable acquittal' was in the cases where the accused was to be acquitted after full consideration of the prosecution case and where the prosecution had miserably failed to prove the charges levelled against the accused.

But this was not the case of the petitioner, the petitioner had been acquitted as he was afforded a benefit of doubt in view of the contradictory evidence which had come on record and as the investigating officer was not examined by the prosecution, noted the Apex Court.

Further, the Apex Court noted that the relevant information regarding the criminal prosecution, arrest or pendency of criminal case against the petitioner was not disclosed and correct residence address was concealed to get a clean chit at the time of police verification.

The Apex Court referred to the decision in the case of Avtar Singh Vs. Union of India and Others (2016) 8 SCC 471 wherein it was held that “where the employee has made declaration truthfully of a concluded criminal case, the employer still has the right to consider antecedents, and cannot be compelled to appoint the candidate.”

“The requirement of integrity and high standard of conduct in police force has been highly emphasised.” remarked the Apex Court.

Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.

Cause Title- Imtiyaz Ahmad Malla v. The State of Jammu and Kashmir And Ors.

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