Practice of falsely framing young members of family in trivial offences especially in villages is not uncommon: All HC

The Allahabad High Court while dealing with a Writ Petition challenging denial of appointment on the post of constable on the ground of pendency of criminal case observed:

The authority also cannot neglect the realities of social life and pace of the judicial process and have to factor them in the decision.  Practice of falsely framing young members of a family in trivial offences especially in villages is not uncommon. Tendency to falsely implicate all family members and even distant relatives in many criminal cases arising out of matrimonial disputes has also been noticed by the courts.  The employer has to be alert to these realities and factor them in the decision in the facts of a case.

The recruitment process for various posts in the U.P. Police was initiated by notification dated 14.01.2018. The petitioner applied in response to the said notification. The petitioner was selected for appointment to the post of Constable in the UP Police.

The Petitioner made a declaration that criminal cases are pending against him. Considering the pendency of the criminal cases the Superintendent of Police denied appointment on the ground of pendency of criminal cases.

Counsel for the petitioner contended that the petitioner had truthfully declared details of all the criminal cases pending against him in the affidavit of verification. The petitioner has not been chargesheeted in two cases. One of the cases is an offshoot of a matrimonial dispute of his brother. The impugned order has overlooked the acquittal of the petitioner by the court in one criminal case. The authority has not adopted any standard of evidence while considering the material against the petitioner. In absence of conviction by a court, appointment cannot be refused. 

Per contra, Standing Counsel for the State of U.P. submitted that the petitioner was named in multiple criminal cases. The petitioner was not acquitted honourably by the trial court in the first case. The petitioner was named in the first information reports lodged in the other cases including one for an act of moral turpitude. The fact that the Investigation Officer did not chargesheet the petitioner does not exonerate the petitioner, particularly, when trials are on foot.

Hon’ble Justice Ajay Bhanot of Allahabad High Court referred to following Judgments:

  1. Avtar Singh v. Union of India and Others
  2. Commissioner of Police, New Delhi and others Vs. Mehar Singh
  3. B. Ramakrishna Yadav and others Vs. The 2 2013 7 SCC 685 9 Superintendent of Police and other

and observed that Criminal antecedents are thus accepted in law as reliable guides for an employer to assess character traits and evaluate the suitability of a candidate for appointment. Further the process of evaluating suitability for appointment is not an adjudication of guilt or innocence as in a criminal case. Nor is it a quasi judicial process or a civil law proceeding

The Court further observed that:

The diversity of material available with the authority to form its opinion is inherent in the process of determining the suitability of the candidate. The material before the authority may be reliable and conclusive or credible but probative. Both kinds of material are liable to be considered. Material of probative value but credible worth is not to be discarded, and there is no impediment in its consideration. 

 One such source is the record of criminal proceedings against the candidate. The full inventory of material before the authority includes the F.I.R., the evidence collected during the criminal investigation, chargesheet submitted in court, evidence emerging during the trial, the judgment rendered by a court of law. On the foot of such material, the competent authority can make its decision on the fitness of the candidate for appointment.

The Court held that:

The authority while taking a decision in the matter has to consider relevant facts and material in the record and also the defence tendered by the candidate. The order should be supported by reasons which reflect due application of mind to relevant considerations. A perverse finding or a decision taken on no evidence or an order based on irrelevant considerations will vitiate the decision. Such decision would be vulnerable to judicial interdict. 

However the Court ultimately dismissed the Petition, considering the fact that the appointing authority has duly considered the reply of Petition on the issue of pendency of FIR and the FIR related matrimonial has no connection with other FIRs.

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