‘No Whisper That Any Inquiry Was Conducted’: SC Orders Reinstatement Of Army Personnel Discharged From Service For Allegedly Producing False Relationship Certificates
The Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of Army personnel who were discharged from service for allegedly producing false relationship certificates at the time of recruitment holding that there was no inquiry conducted to ascertain the same.
The appellants were dismissed from service by the Army for producing false relationship certificates which upon verification were found to be manipulated and false.
The appellants were served with show cause notices which stated that they had enrolled in the Army by producing false relationship certificates and the documents produced were found to be fake/forged.
The appellants submitted their response stating that they were not recruited under the Headquarter Quota based on the claim that they were related to any servicemen personnel, but because they had applied under the general category which is why they did not have to have produced any relationship certificate.
The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) had refused to interfere with the discharge certificate which dismissed the appellants from service for adopting fraudulent means and refused to reinstate them.
Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal observed, “The Tribunal also seems to have lost sight of the crucial point of the appellants that they have applied under the general category and not as relatives of servicemen/ex-servicemen. They have not produced the alleged certificate(s) which could be held to be fake. Accordingly, the core issue arising in the matter was missed not only by the authorities concerned but by the Tribunal as well.”
Advocate Suhaskumar Kadam represented the appellant, while ASG Aishwarya Bhati appeared for the respondents.
Since the appellants argued that they had not applied for enrollment in any reserved category, the Supreme Court had to ascertain whether the appellants had applied and were selected as general category candidates or were placed in any of the reserved categories.
The Court held that the recruitment under the Headquarter Quota was not confined to the priority/reserved class and it was open to the general category as well.
The Court stated that there was no material on record to establish that the appellants had produced any relationship certificate to obtain enrollment in the Army.
The Court remarked, “The discharge/dismissal of the appellants from service is vitiated for non-consideration of their specific case that they have actually not produced any relationship certificate for selection/recruitment as they never applied in the reserved category.”
The Court held that there was no inquiry conducted to ascertain whether the appellants had produced the relationship certificates for enrollment and recruitment in the Army.
Subsequently, the Court set aside the impugned orders of the AFT and ordered the reinstatement of the appellants.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal.
Cause Title: No.2809759H Ex-Recruit Babanna Machched v. Union Of India & Ors. (2024 INSC 95)
Appellant: AOR M/S. Black & White Solicitors and Advocate Suhaskumar Kadam
Respondents: ASG Aishwarya Bhati, AOR Mukesh Kumar Maroria and N. Visakamurthy, Advocates Poornima Singh and Ashwin Joseph