9 Aug 2023 12:49 PM GMT
Observing that the right to protest for a common cause is a fundamental right of each and every citizen of the country, the Madras High Court directed the authorities to give an appointment order to a man whose application to the post of Grade-II Police Constable was rejected on the ground that he had participated in protests against the NEET examination during his college days. Justice...
Observing that the right to protest for a common cause is a fundamental right of each and every citizen of the country, the Madras High Court directed the authorities to give an appointment order to a man whose application to the post of Grade-II Police Constable was rejected on the ground that he had participated in protests against the NEET examination during his college days.
Justice L Victoria Gowri of the Madurai bench said:
“The respondent authorities failed to consider the fact that there are no other criminal antecedents as against the petitioner and this particular crime has nothing to do with any criminal implication as far as the petitioner is concerned and he had only exercised his fundamental right to protest by participating in the protest organized by his fellow students and definitely, it will not have any implication as to the nature of the job for which he has applied to as Grade-II Police Constable,” the court said.
In the present case, the petitioner Arunkanth had applied for the post of Grade-II Constable. Though he got qualified and had passed both the written and physical examinations, the Superintendent of Police rejected his candidature noting that he was involved in a criminal case that was later dropped for further action.
Arunkanth submitted that the case against him was filed for raising slogans and seeking withdrawal of NEET examination, which was organized by college students in which he had participated. He added that one of the accused in the case had approached the High Court for quashing the crime and the High Court, after noting that the students did not indulge in any violent behaviour, had ordered the quashing of the crime while also observing that the benefit of the order will enure in favour of non-petitioning accused also. He added that since the crime was quashed, the order rejecting his candidature was also liable to be set aside.
Countering this argument, the Additional Advocate General, relying upon the decision of the Apex Court in Sathish Chandra Yadav Vs. Union of India and others, submitted that even in a case where the employees makes truthful declarations of a concluded criminal case, the employer still haa the right to consider the antecedents and cannot be compelled to appoint a candidate. He added that an acquittal in a criminal case would not automatically entitle a candidate for appointment to the post.
The court however noted that Arunkanth was merely exercising his fundamental right by participating in the protest and that while quashing the crime, the single judge had rightly observed that the students participating in the protest did not have any criminal implication.
The court also observed that even though under Rules 14(b) or 13 of the Tamil Nadu Police Subordinate Services Rules, an acquittal under benefit of doubt or hostility was treated to be involvement in criminal case, in the present case, Arunkanth was neither acquitted on the benefit of doubt nor hostility of the complainant and that the crime itself was quashed as not having any criminal implication.
Thus, the court considered it fit to quash the order of rejection and directed the authorities to issue an appointment order to the petitioner and send him for training for the post of Grade-II Police Constable with effect from the date of original selection within a period of twelve weeks from the date of receipt of order.
Case Title: Arunkanth v Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board and others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 225
Counsel for Petitioner: Mr.R.Karunanidhi
Counsel for Respondents: Mr.P.Veera Kathiravan Additional Advocate General Assisted by Mr.N.Muthuvijayan Special Government Pleader